Life|ware combines home entertainment and automation using Microsoft’s Media Center as a backbone. All sorts of other companies, such as Lutron, Russound, Niles, SpeakerCraft, HP, Samsung, Honeywell, and etc, make devices that interface with the system so custom installers can tailor a complete automation/entertainment package that puts control of the entire home within a touchpanel or remote control.
It’s hard to get the whole concept across sometimes, so the Life|ware people partnered with Disney who supplied the actors pictured here who acted out a corny “life” within a complete Life|ware-equipped home.
My personal favorite of the entire setup was the demonstration of a prototype of the Starry Night Sleep Technology bed by a company called Leggett and Platt. The bed monitors your sleep cycle, respiration, heartbeat – it can even tell if you’re snoring – and adjusts the bed accordingly to make your sleepy night perfect. Move over, Big Brother, this is Big Mother. Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but you can bet it’s going to be expensive (with a capital $).
Boston Acoustics is back in the computer speaker business again with two tabletop systems. The $99.99 version includes a pair of slender speakers with a ” tweeter and two 2” mid-bass drivers. The $179.99 package adds a subwoofer. The sub/sat system kicked some serious butt, and it was sitting out in the open on a little round table in a large demo room. And just like many of the new Boston speakers, these are part of the POP program which allows you to buy different colored grilles.
One of DXG’s latest HD camcorders records H.264 video in 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 fps, has a 3” LCD screen, uses SD cards with support for higher capacity cards, takes up to 8MP digital still pictures, and uses rechargeable NI-MH AAA batteries (included) or standard alkaline AAAs (you’ll have to buy those yourself). Of course, you might have to take out a loan in order to afford the DXG-569V HD at its estimated street price of...$149.
At a low-key reception this morning, NXT showed off some recent introductions of their flat-panel speaker technology, including this Gateway all-in-one computer that incorporates the NXT’s SoundVu technology. It’s a flat speaker panel that’s clear enough to be used to cover an LCD screen on a computer, and amazingly the vibration of the panel does not affect the view of what’s underneath.
I’ve heard about Dolby Volume technology, but I hadn’t heard an actual demonstration until today. Dolby’s Craig Eggers gave a short but very effective demo of the technology using a prototype Onkyo receiver with the appropriate Dolby circuitry built-in. Onkyo’s not ready to bring a unit to market yet, but it’s obviously coming (from somebody, if not Onkyo). Dolby Volume helps keep all the sources and programming you listen to at the reference level you choose. It can also keep dynamic peaks (explosions and the like) within a more moderate range when it’s engaged.
NXT doesn’t make products directly. They license the technology and help other companies bring their products to market. One of the companies using NXT’s flat speaker technology is Shinhint. They demonstrated several products, including monitors, TV sound bar speakers, and tabletop speaker phones as part of NXT’s press presentation this morning.
On-wall bipole speakers are usually mounted at head-height and are therefore dangerous obstacles for movie watchers who get up to go to the bathroom in a darkened home theater. (Talk about being able to feel the surround effects!) Sunfire’s new on-wall bipole speaker features the company’s Cinema Ribbon high frequency drivers and a Tweeter Shaping circuit that allows the installer to tailor the high frequency output without affecting the crossover relationship between the Cinema Ribbons and the cone woofer. In addition to being the only on-wall ribbon bipole speaker available, the new CRM-21BP is one of the slimmest on-wall bipoles – only 3 5/8” deep.
Now, I like to watch a little TV every now and then, but this is just too much. I may have lost count, but I think there were at least a dozen TV screens in this car. To make matters worse, there were at least two sources playing.