At CES 2006 the Syntax-Brillian Corp. announced it would be diving into high-end home theater with the "Olevia Signature" line of LCD flat panels. The first two models will be the 42" LT42HVi and 47" LT47HVi. Obviously intending to make a big splash out of the gate, Syntax revealed that both sets will feature full 1920x1080 resolution and Silicon Optix' vaunted Realta video processor with HQV.
The digital sky has been falling for the last several days with reports that the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) copy protection scheme that will be used by both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD will allow content providers the option of down-converting HD signals from the analog outputs of the players.
In a classic good news/bad news scenario, both DISH Network and DirecTV announced at CES 2006 that the two satellite giants will offer vastly expanded lineups of HD content in 2006. While more HD is always good news, the at least semi-bad news is that MPEG4 compression is being used on the new channels, and that means existing customers who want to watch the new HD channels need to invest in new equipment.
Gaming sites all over the web were abuzz last week with reports of Microsoft offering an external Blu-ray Disc drive for its Xbox 360 game console. The hubbub started when Microsoft’s Peter Moore stated, in an interview with a Japanese gaming site, that if Blu-ray becomes the apparent winner in the format war Microsoft could accommodate that format easily with an external drive. By the end of the week Microsoft, staunchly in the HD DVD camp along with Intel, was spinning his comments, and reiterating the computer giant's support for HD DVD.
Since our CES reports are no longer laundry lists of products, over the next few weeks my news reports will feature some new and interesting gear that slipped through the <I>UAV</I> show coverage cracks. Like the home theater components shown by Vincent Electronics.
<B>iPod Continues To Take Over The World</B>
Apple's earnings for the holiday quarter of 2005 beat Wall Street's expectations as the iPod continued to work miracles by tripling (and then some) the number of players sold in 2004's holiday season. According to Apple's Steve Jobs, 14.5 million iPods were sold on the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to 4.5 million in the same period of 2004. Overall sales for Apple in Q4 of '05 were up 63% from the previous year, to $5.7 billion and for the first time sales from Apple's retail stores topped $1 billion for a quarter.
<B>Intel Leaps Ahead To Convergence</B>
In what is sure to be a preview of CES 2006, word is out that Intel is going to be re-branding itself with a new product line focused on the nascent digital home entertainment market. Rather than staking its name awareness with consumers on its chips and microprocessors, Intel's new marketing campaigns will be focused instead on the digital lifestyles that the company's new product lines will enable.
<B>LG Electronics Introduces Two Big LCoS RPTVs For 2006</B>
LG Electronics' 2006 lineup of RPTVs will feature two large screen microdisplays powered by LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) imaging panels from SpatiaLight that feature full 1920x1080 resolution. Counting pixel for pixel, a 1920x1080 display contains over two million pixels- twice as many pixels as the 900,000 and change a 720p display puts up on screen.
<B>2009 Hard Date Set For DTV Transition</B>
Just in time for Christmas both branches of Congress agreed in late December to a February 18th, 2009 "hard date" for the DTV transition. This will not only end analog transmissions in the US, but will also free up analog spectrum for emergency first responders and also reap an enormous windfall of cash to the federal government when it auctions off the remaining analog spectrum by January of 2008.
A few years and a publication ago, I reviewed Arcam's FMJ AV8 controller and was frankly bowled over. At $5k I thought the AV8's detailed and dynamic sound made more expensive controllers a much harder bargain than before, and I recommended and continue to recommend that controller to anyone shopping in that price range. Enter Moore's law.