B&O began as a radio manufacturer in the late 1920s, operating out of Svend Olufsen's family farmhouse outside of Struer, Denmark. Its first product, the Eliminator, was designed to allow a radio to be powered by line voltage instead of a battery. The photo shows B&O consultant Ronny Kaas Mortensen next to the radio. The small box at the upper right hand corner of the radio is the Eliminator. It was not only built inside the radio itself, but also sold separately. It also cleaned up the dirty power line output of the day—the first audiophile high-end power conditioner!
The BeoVision 9 television, which just started shipping, is B&O's current flagship 50-inch plasma. The 50" set, at around $20,000, may seem pricey for a 1366x768 design (it uses Panasonic glass), and it is. But it does include a built-in center speaker with an Acoustic Lens tweeter and 5" woofer. It also features an on-board version of B&O's BeoMedia (available separately in the BeoSystem 3), which includes all of the features of a sophisticated pre-pro and more. These include full 7.1-channel decoding (expandable up to 10 channels), speaker switching and speaker assignment options that may be the most flexible on the market, and easy access to sources as diverse as CD, radio, cable TV, satellite TV, DVD, photos, digital cameras, and the Internet. And oh, yes, the entire cabinet has a motorized swivel. Very cool.
It isn't immediately obvious that the JVC LT-46FN97 ($3,499.95) stands out in a sea of new flat panel displays. Its styling is attractive but generic. Its feature set is good though hardly revolutionary. But when I first saw it in action at a JVC line show I knew I wanted to review it. Two other trade shows intervened before I had a chance to spend time with this 46" 1080p LCD set in my own studio, but demos at both shows made me even more anxious to check it out.
Given Pioneer's current prominence in the world of plasma displays, DVD players (plus soon, they trust, Blu-ray Disc), and other home audio and video electronics, it may surprise you to learn that it began as a speaker company. In fact, Pioneer speakers still have a significant market presence in many parts of the world.
It all starts with the mother glass. That's the foundation for building an LCD panel. Everything else—the individual red, green, and blue elements of each pixel and the interconnects necessary to drive them—are grown on it.
The Tokyo-based CEATEC, held each fall about this time, is sometimes referred to as Japan's CES. While the analogy doesn't fit when applied to finished goods (the show is far smaller in that respect than even the CEDIA Expo, much less CES), it certainly does apply if you include component parts. You can roam the eight or so exhibit halls and find all sorts of things, from cell phones to capacitors to integrated circuits. There was even a small, lonely booth off to one side with high-end audio goods on display. The exhibitor's there had obviously confused CEATEC with the annual Tokyo High-end Audio Show, scheduled for later this month.
Sharp is working on this Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation device. It translates both written and spoken language, though is still fairly rudimentary in its ability to handle complex communication. We're not quite up to Star Trek's universal translator yet, but you can see it coming.