At CEDIA2013, MartinLogan teased us with a sneak peak at a prototype AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker that was absolutely beautiful and sure to sound fantastic thanks, in large part, to its use of MartinLogan’s amazing Folded Motion tweeters. The new Crescendo wireless stereo speaker has burst out of its prototype cocoon and become an official product that includes AirPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. The remote control, normally an item manufacturers tend to overlook, included with the Crescendo is made from extruded aluminum and is extremely well designed with rubberized button caps that are easy to find and use without looking at the remote. Twin Folded Motion tweeters flank the central 5x7-inch woofer. The tweeters are also positioned to fire away from one another to the sides of the room, a design that helps to dramatically widen the stereo soundstage of the Crescendo, and it includes a subwoofer output. The gorgeous sound machine will be available in “early 2014” for $899. Of all the small speaker systems I’ve heard so far at CES2014, the MartinLogan Crescendo is unquestionably at the top of the tall stack.
You wouldn’t think that an ultra-fast 3-port USB hub would be exciting enough to write about, but Innergie’s LifeHub is special because it looks fantastic and has multiple features that make the LifeHub one of the most convenient multi-port USB hubs on the market. The LifeHub has three 2.1-amp, ultra-fast charging USB ports plus s 4.5 meter (14.7 feet) power cord. It’s excellently thought out CableCradle Manager provides power cord storage as well as a stable, magnetized base on which the rounded LifeHub securely sits. The InnerShield Power Protection includes short circuit, over current, and over voltage protection; and the GreenSense Technology incorporates high-performance, energy-efficient, power-saving charging capability. The beautifully designed LifeHub is available now for $54.99.
One of the most exciting products I’ve seen so far at CES2014 bills itself as “the first home security and automation device that combines panoramic video, Z-Wave home automation and environmental sensors into a single elegant product that you interact with on your smartphone or tablet.” Or, as the company says, “Piper is the new way to monitor and interact with your home.” Piper has an extremely impressive array of features, including three customizable security modes with a motion detector, two-way audio, and 105 dB built-in siren; full Z-Wave compatibility allowing use of a huge variety of Z-Wave home automation-oriented accessories; an HD Panoramic camera with a 180-degree fisheye lens that offers pan, tilt, and zoom in 1080p; built-in environmental sensors for temperature, humidity, ambient light, and sound; 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity; as well as Android and iOS smartphone and tablet apps for controlling the system. The user interface is clean and intuitive. Piper is available for pre-order now and is expected to begin shipping by the end of January 2014 for $239. There are no monthly or other recurring service fees.
Proclaiming that “the era of smartcookers” has arrived, Instant Pot displayed its new “iPot” – a programmable electric pressure cooker that the company calls “the Industry-First Bluetooth Smart Connected Smartcooker”, which is shown to the right in the photo above. (iPot is a much better - but easily misinterpreted – name for the kitchen appliance.) According to Instant Pot, rather than being a gimmick, Bluetooth was added because the product designers had run out of space on the smartcooker’s control panel to support all the programming features that have been requested by users of the other Instant Pot models. Instant Pot says, “Once the limiting factor of a control panel is removed, the “iPot” app can implement complex cooking functions, expand and upgrade those functions at will. This offers unparalleled simplicity, a huge variety of functions and most importantly a consistent result.” The iPot is expected to be available for sale in the US sometime in the second quarter of 2014. Pricing info was not released. Belkin is also joining the smartcooker revolution. The company announced it has partnered with Jarden Corporation, the maker of Crock-Pot and Mr. Coffee to incorporate Belkin’s WeMo technology into everyday kitchen appliances, such as the WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker shown on the left in the photo above, which is to released in the spring of 2014. The MSRP will be $99.99.
Paris-based KEEKER was one of more than a dozen participants using an appearance at ShowStoppers LaunchIt Power Session at CES2014 to give the company’s pitch for higher-level funding and partnerships to a panel of judges. KEEKER is part mobile computer, part robot, part home entertainment system, and part security system. It looks a bit like a large, 16-inch wide by 25-inch tall egg on wheels; and it contains a built-in projector, 360-degree sound system, and a lot more. It’s either one of the silliest ideas here at CES2014, or it’s going to be a paradigm breaker. For example, one of the benefits touted in the brief pitch session was the ability of KEEKER to bring the TV to the viewer, rather than force the viewer to sit passively in front of the traditional “black box” TV set. The built-in projector can be used to display an image on any wall or ceiling. Since KEEKER is on a motorized, wheeled platform, it can be instructed to move anywhere in your home – displaying the news on the wall in your dining room, for example, and then rolling into your bedroom and shining a late-night TV show on the ceiling. (Or substitute a variety of viewing situations and content based on your own experiences.) In fact, later in the day, KEEKER was out and about in the hotel hallways displaying video on the vaulted ceiling above. KEEKER is shooting for a release date of sometime in the fourth quarter of 2014 with a tentative selling price of $5,000.
At Intel’s packed press conference earlier this afternoon, Mooly Eden, senior vice president, general manager of Perceptual Computing Group, announced Intel’s new RealSense technology. The new technology is designed to bring “human-like senses to Intel-based devices” through a variety of software and hardware products developed by Intel and collaborating companies...
“Use only as directed” is great advice when it comes to not taking Tylenol if you’re drinking alcohol and then not smearing Preparation H on your puffy eyes the next morning (when it’s okay to take Tylenol to relieve the effects of the previous night’s imbibing). But I don’t always do things as directed. I don’t even do a lot of things as suggested. Half the time I don’t even look at an instruction manual until I’ve encountered a near fatal error whenever I’m putting something together or learning how to operate it. (This often includes power tools. It’s a wonder I still have all my fingers…and toes.) So it’s no surprise that I forgot to put the protective dust cover on the outdoor TV sitting on my back deck before winter set in...
Several months ago, Win Jeanfreau, the Founder/Director of Aperion Audio, asked if I would take a listen to the company’s Allaire ARIS Wireless Speaker System. Technically, the Allaire ARIS isn’t a new wireless speaker system from Aperion. It’s been available for a little over a year. In fact, we ran a very favorable review of the ARIS in October of 2012. So what gives? This is an industry that thrives on the newest, the latest, and anything that can lay claim to being enhanced, upgraded, or otherwise improved.
Triton Seven Speaker System
Performance Build Quality Value
ForceField 5 Subwoofer
Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Deep bass extension from dual passive radiators
Remarkably full midrange
Rearward rake with non-parallel front and rear
You’ll need to find a new home for your current speakers
The Triton Sevens provide rock-solid high-end performance for a mid-fi price.
It begins with a fairy tale (of sorts). Once upon a time (say, around 2013), a little company named GoldenEar made three bears—no, sorry, three tower speakers. The first speaker was tall and big with a deep, deep voice. But it was too big and too expensive for a hungry little girl roaming the forest—no, I mean, for some of the people shopping through a forest of tower speakers at the A/V store. The second tower was shorter and a bit smaller. Its voice was deep, too, but not quite as much as the papa tower’s voice. Sadly, it was also too big to fit comfortably in some people’s rooms, and still too big for some of their budgets. Then GoldenEar made a third tower speaker, even shorter and less expensive, and this speaker was… Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, isn’t it?