LG's 60PG70 plasma looked pretty amazing. I can't say if it's in Pioneer Kuro territory, but with a 30,000:1 claimed contrast ratio, there was little to fault. I asked one of LG's booth specialists to bring up the ISFccc calibration menu and he was able to do so without pressing 5432+Enter on the remote (sorry – inside joke for former CRT calibrators).
The Sherwood Newcastle R-972 won't be out until April '08, but I sat down for a demo of their new receiver. What sets it apart from other 4 HMDI in (1 out) AVRs is their Trinnov Optimizer. The fuzzy shot above shows green speakers along the peripheral of the coincentric circles that describe the speaker placement positions used during soundtrack mastering. The smaller red speaker positions show where people normally put them. By generating tones, I was told, the Sherwood receiver will figure out where you've placed speakers in your room, and compensate for it. I asked if you'd get that great on-screen display with the R-972's implementation, but alas, no. However, you can interface your laptop to the receiver and work with the setup that way.
Dolby was showing us something we'd heard about at Cedia, but which they weren't quite ready to show last fall. This time, using video from three different programs, they did a before and after demo of how Dolby Volume equalizes disparities between sources. It worked well enough in the demo and one thing I did note was that it <i>wasn't</i> heavy handed. For example, the program that was clearly lower in volume in the "before" condition, was still softer than either of the other programs.
Sharp's newly announced Ethernet equipped LCD panels, like their top of the line SE94, provide customized Web-based content to their owner. In addition, Sharp technicians would have real time access to your TV for support situations or, well, if you were watching a ball game that was blacked out in their area. Sharp says there will be no subscription fees or ad-support requirements.
Not to complain too loudly, because in the old days we had typewriters, but whoever is responsible for making sure the 4th estate can do their job should be fired. The press room is full of hardwired Dell laptops (I mean, I'm a Windows guy and even <I>I</I> won't use a Dell, for Lord's sake) and there are precious few empty tables for people who brung their own. On top of that, there's no "supported," a.k.a. working, wireless connections. Granted, wireless introduces problems too, but hardwired Dells and brown shirts walking around making sure you don't unplug the Ethernet cable and put it into your laptop isn't helping anyone get their job done.
Jodu Sally was as upbeat as could be expected. She admitted she had planned to discuss the great strides HD DVD had made in 2007, and continued to highlight HD DVDs many successes from Ethernet connectivity and dual video processing. But beyond that, what can you say. Warner has played its cards.
Panasonic added the DMP-BD50 to their line of Blu-ray players. The DMP-BD30 is profile 1.1 and can decode and output lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ (the last is new if it truly is Master Audio and not just the DTS core), but you'll have to wait until I get to their booth to find out if it can <i>pass</i> either of those as bitstreams for decoding in a newer receiver.
Regza has been a huge seller for Toshiba, growing their panel business by 350%. Over the last few years. Toshiba will be concentrating on providing solutions between $500 and $2,500 where they think the biggest market exists. Like LG, Toshiba realizes that cosmetic design is key for consumers these days. And to think, we used to put walnut encased CRT tubes in our living rooms. Yeech!