It's already a month into 2008, but never too late to make predictions for the coming year or so—predictions of things that probably won't happen in the way we expect. If anything is certain, it's the uncertainty of the future. The volatile world of consumer electronics is no exception.
Founded in Worthing, England in 1966 by the late John Bowers, B&W (more formally known as Bowers and Wilkins) is now one of the best-known names in the industry. While the average man in the street might wonder when the car manufacturer started making speakers if you mention B&W, it's one of the first names that comes to an audiophile if asked to make a list of the top speaker companies in the business. And unlike many of its competitors, B&W makes only loudspeakers—unless you count its new iPod speaker system as a major departure.
Dome in this case doesn't mean a tweeter diaphragm, but rather Focal's new "Lifestyle Luxury" speaker package, consisting of small, two-way satellite speakers in a rounded enclosure together with a small, separate sub. The satellite is shown here. It's used for every channel, including the center. The tab is $1475 for a 2.1 channels and $2495 for a 5.1-channel system. The "Dome" satellite speakers themselves are available separately for $750/pair. Available in April.
The bombshell dropped yesterday, the day before I was to drive to CES. And I don't mean the deluge that hit LA and tested the leaks in my roof (they still work!). It was Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive starting this coming May. Why they aren't doing so immediately is a bit of a puzzle, but is likely due to contractual obligations and to keep from scrapping product already in the pipeline.
Rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. But the secret is that you can get performance that can come close to or even match, size-for-size, most flat panels on the market for a lot less money.
With the growing popularity of flat panel TVs, rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even as recently as a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. If you buy one, your friends, the Joneses, won't have to worry about you keeping up with them and their 103" plasma.
With Sony's recent announcement that it is discontinuing production of all rear projection sets, both LCD and SXRD, in favor of its flat panel LCD Bravia line, the video display landscape is becoming noticeably thinner. Yes, many major companies—Panasonic, Samsung, and Mitsubishi among them, continue to turn out rear projection televisions. But is the handwriting on the wall for this type of display?
No one imagined two years ago that the cost of acquiring a high quality 1080p projector would drop to the levels many of them sell for today—levels, it could be argued, that were driven by Sony's own extremely competitive pricing, especially on the $5K <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/1106sonypearl/">VPL-VW50</A> "Pearl.".
Big things are happening with LCD flat panel televisions. New developments like LCD motion lag compensation and LED backlighting, manufacturers are attacking some of the well-known shortcomings of that technology.