CES 2010

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uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  2 comments

It may sound glamourous to you, having the opportunity to come to CES, see all the latest new CE toys, and write about it for you. Yes, it can be fun and the best part for me is interacting with friends and colleagues I don't get to see year round. Days start early and usually end very late. However, this year I did't need an alarm clock to get me up in the morning, no matter how tired I might have been the night before. We are staying at the Hyatt Place, a wonderfully remodeled hotel, a bit off the beaten path, which is quiet and tranquil compared to the large themed hotels with casinos. But there is always a catch. It is right in front of McCarren airport and each and every plane flies directly over us. Fortunately, McCarren has a curfew from midnight to 6am. So there is a small window of opportunity for uninterrupted sleep but you can set your clock by that first flight of the morning.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

TVs aren't the only things at Samsung's booth, though you might not realize it looking at the front of the booth, which is awash in flat panels. Also present and accounted for are three new Blu-ray players, including the BD-P1600 (bottom) and BD-P3600 (top). Both conform to BD-Live, though the 1600 needs a 1GB flash drive; the 3600 has 1GB built in. Both can also access Netflix content and support WiFi operation with an optional USB dongle. The 3600 also has 7.1 analog-audio outputs. Blu-ray marches ever onward…

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments

Axar Media, a company based out of the UK, was showing a prototype of a Wireless HD system. The system looked simple enough with a transmitter and a receiver. Using two suites at the Venetian Hotel, they effectively demonstrated the transfer of an HD signal (both from a media player and a Blu-ray player) from one room to the next. They use the H.264 AVC video compression scheme to make the most effective use of the bandwidth. There is some degradation in the signal quality, and I detected some motion artifacts especially from the media server transfer. However, we have to start somewhere and the time for Wireless HD has finally come. Its just a matter of time before it will be as ubiquitous as streaming audio.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

Sooloos, manufacturer of server-based home entertainment systems, was recently acquired by Meridian, well known for their luxury AV products. The Sooloos has been considered one of the most intuitive and user friendly (as well as costly) media servers available. The merge with Meridian is a great fit for both companies.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments

Last year, Wadia Digital introduced the 170 ITransport, a high-resolution audiophile iPod dock for playback on high-end A/V systems. A new companion piece is the 151 Digital Amp, which creates a miniature 2-channel system for listening to not only your iPod but other stereo sources as well. The 151 has 2 coax and one optical input, along with a USB port (for flash drives). The high-end DACs (which is what WADIA is well known for) coupled with the build-in 50 watt amp, creates a compelling high-end system that doesn't cost a lot (by audiophile standards) or take up much space. The iTransport sells for $379. The price for the 151 Digital Amp was not disclosed but would definitely be under $1K.

uavGary Altunian  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  2 comments

Induction Dynamics showed its S1.8 3-way ported loudspeaker, a versatile model that can be used as a bookshelf or freestanding speaker. Based on my recent experience with ID speakers, they feature extraordinary construction quality, excellent sound quality and are well suited for multichannel music and movies. The secret to their sound quality lies in the 4th order crossovers, which provide 24dB per octave roll-off between drivers. The S1.8 has an 8-inch Kevlar woofer, a 3-inch soft dome midrange and a 1.125-inch soft dome tweeter.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

Distributed by Koetsu USA, Italian manufacturer Blacknote introduced a high-end solution for playing any type of digital file including Wav, Flac, AAC, OGG, DFF, WMA MP3, MP4, and M4O. The DSS30 (shown in foreground) uses a 24-bit DAC and features four USB ports (two in front, two in back) that accept hard drives as well as flash drives. It also accepts direct input from memory sticks and CD-Rom players. With both balanced and unbalanced outputs it can be integrated with a range of high-end audio gear. The Ethernet port allows it be integrated into a home network as well.

uavGary Altunian  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

New Products: Many speaker and electronics manufacturers are introducing 2.1-channel systems, indicating a perceived need for a simpler, less complicated home theater experience.

uavGary Altunian  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

On the Edge of a cool idea, that is. Paradigm Electronics of Canada provided a sneak preview of its new Edge, a fully integrated 2.1-channel compact entertainment system. Product details are not finalized, but the model shown has an iPod dock, a DVD player, a built-in down-firing subwoofer, composite video inputs, S-video and component video inputs and a video scaler that improves resolution to 1080i. The demonstration room was very noisy but the bass sounded very compelling. The Edge is expected to sell for $499 and will be available in the spring of this year.

uavGary Altunian  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments

German speaker manufacturer Canton Electronics is showing the DM70, a 2.1-channel integrated system that incorporates a built-in amplifier and a powered subwoofer and is designed to be placed beneath a flat-panel television on a shelf or credenza. This innovative system presented a very convincing simulation of a full multichannel speaker system using Virtual Surround Sound and will likely appeal to many who don't want or have room for rear channel speakers. Looking at the photo it is difficult to believe that the DM70 has a 300-watt amp and a 3-way bass reflex speaker system and a subwoofer in such a small footprint. The DM70 is supplied with a remote control. Pricing is not finalized but is expected to be about $1500. For those not familiar with Canton speakers, read my recent <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/speakersystems/canton_gle_speaker_system">review </A>of the very affordable Canton GLE speaker system.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments

One of the interesting oddities about CES, is the the Adult Video industry shares the Sands Convention Center with us for their annual awards show. So we come across some unusual posters from time to time, in addition to some of the industries top celebrities. However, I don't think I even want to know what this is.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments

Tivoli Audio known for their high-quality desktop radios has added networking, making it possible for them to stream from Internet radio stations around the world. It also allows access to stored media on PCs from any room in the house through a wireless or Ethernet connection. Using the front panel readout, you use the supplied remote to scroll through your media or Internet stations. The basic unit has a single speaker, and a second speaker can be purchased to listen in stereo.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  1 comments

High Resolution Technologies (HRT) shiowed the simolist solution I've encountered fr getting music from your computer into your soundroom. The small device, that fits in the palm of your hand has a USB input and analog audio outputs. Come ot of the putputs directly in your preamp or receiver. There are two models, one is $89.95 and the slightly larger one is $250. The main difference is the more expensive device uses a higher-end DAC with better signal-to-noise, lower noise floor and improved frequency response. It does mean integrating your computer into your hifi, but for those purists who are skeptical of WiFi and what it might be doing to the signal, it doesn't get more direct than this.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments

Its been awhile since I had heard from Moxi, whose DVR didn't get nearly as much recognition as TiVo. Making a stronger, more earnest effort to make a name for themeselves in that category, Moxi introduced a HD DVR here at CES. They made it clear this is a high quality solution for digital cable subscribers. Satellite users need not apply, The unit is far more than a straightforward DVR, as it serves as the hub for all your media with a 500GB hard drive. If that's not enough it can be upgraded to maximum of 2TB. Of course, it can also share content from your home (wired) network and interface with an iTunes library. It also provides access to web-based services such as Flickr for photo sharing and Finetune, a music streaming service. Instead of charging a monthly fee for their service, you pay a one time fee of $799 for the basic model. If I rememeber correctly, that was TiVo's original business model and they realized they made more money charging a monthly fee. So we'll see how succcessful this is for Moxi.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments

Among the four or five contenders showing wireless HD transmission systems is the WirelessHD Consortium, which includes 30 companies such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. The system transmits up to 1080p/60 in the 60GHz range, which is relatively free from interference, and it has a maximum latency of 1-2ms. RF signals at this frequency can be blocked by obstacles such as people, so the technology automatically redirects the beam to reflect off walls, ceiling, or floor as needed, and it's designed to transmit its full bandwidth up to 10 meters as long as there's some line-of-sight path to be found. Pictured here is a WirelessHD transmitter (bottom) and receiver (top) by LG Innotek, a subsidiary of LG that makes components for various products from LG and other manufacturers.