CES 2011

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Sony's new HDR-TD10 3D High Definition Flash Memory Handycam Camcorder (about $1500, April) is one of the first the full HD 3D consumer camcorders. It includes two separate 1920 a 1080 CMOS sensors and two lenses to capture distinct 1920 x 1080 data streams for each eye. It's also capable of 2D still image capture at 7-megapixels. At present, playback is from the camera only via an HDMI link to the video display. The future should bring dedicated playback devices (such as a 3D Blu-ray player with a flash card slot). Oh, and you can view the image you're shooting in autostereoscopic 3D on the 3.5" viewfinder—no 3D glasses required.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Sharp's big announcement was the addition of a 70-inch Quattron set to its lineup. The LE935 will have full LED backlighting with local dimming and is expected by spring. A 70-inch set was said to offer 62% more viewing area than a 60-incher. There will also be new sets in the LE835 an d LE830 ranges, all connectable with Wi-Fi. The XV-2 17000 3D DLP projector under $5000), first shown at CEDIA EXPO 2010 last September, will also be on display here at CES.

Sharp also announced three new 3D Blu-ray players (February), the BD HP25U, 35U, and 75U. Sharp also launched an E-Media Tablet and reader, the Galapagos. (Tablets appear to be a big item this year, thanks to Apple's iPAD!).

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Samsung went all Opra on us with it's sit-down, let's talk press conference. They announced that one million 3DTVs were sold in the US in 2010, well under predictions but ahead of the rate that many other new technologies have achieved in their first year. About 35 million TVs are sold in the US each year, however, so that's actually a pretty small percentage. Nevertheless Samsung claimed a 70% market share of 3DTV sales, and this year 3DTVs make up 60% of the company's new HD lineup.

Samsung is going with the flow in using "Smart" as a catch phrase this year for many of its products. The company expects to sell 6 million 3DTVs this year, two thirds of them Smart TVs. The new gee-whiz feature in the D7000 and D8000 sets is an ultra thin frame, barely 0.2" wide (see photo). In addition, Samsung's new active 3D glasses sport an ultra svelt, and it's said far more comfortable design.

Samsung's new BDD 7500 3D Blu-ray player is as ultra thin as the new TVs, and incorporates its own built-in 2D-to-3D conversion.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 05, 2011  |  0 comments
Recession? What recession? Panasonic's TV sales were up 30 percent in December 2010 over the previous year, the company reported at today's press event -- and sales of Viera sets were up 45 percent. So the little logo projected above the doorway in the picture above is one potent little symbol. The biggest sellers were 54-, 58-, and 65-inch sets. Areas of future growth include 3DTV, projected to rise to 32 percent of the worldwide market by 2014, and IPTV, expected to hit 42 percent the same year.

Perhaps the biggest news for 3DTV fans is that Panasonic will push for a standard for active-shutter glasses. For consumers, this would be a big improvement over the current balkanized situation, with each manufacturer having its own type. Panasonic says eyewear interoperability would drive growth. We're guessing it would also help the company defend its investment in active-shutter 3DTV technology at a time when passive 3DTV is starting to arrive from Vizio and LG. Panasonic is also opening a 3D Innovation Center to foster production technology in Hollywood. A new committee of the International 3D Society will do the same in Japan. Panasonic also seeded the student filmmaking community with 3D camcorders, with results to be chronicled on the website of the Campus Movie Fest.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 05, 2011  |  0 comments
A life-size mannequin of Chinese basketball wonder Yao Ming was the most visually striking element of Monster Cable's typically eventful pre-show press conference. This "aspirational figure" says he integrates technology into his busy life because "music helps me achieve." He promo-toured China with Monster last summer, but what really raises an eyebrow is that Monster has opened 10 Yao stores in China. Entire stores devoted to a single marketing idea. Wow.

Monster now has 34.9 percent market share in headphones, thanks to its Beats line, with only Bose even coming close. Last year's Miles Davis Trumpet earbuds have gone into a second generation at a lower $299 price point. The "world's smallest" in-earphones achieve their small size by building the driver into the tip, not the body. Trumpet-valve-like controls are built into the cord. A release of Davis' classic Sketches in Spain in surround complements the product.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 14, 2010  |  5 comments

Another CES has come and gone. This was my 15th, near as I can figure—an odd coincidence, since, according to my pedometer, I walked nearly 15 miles during the 2010 geekfest.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 14, 2010  |  7 comments

Driving from Las Vegas to LA, I had to stop and get a picture of my favorite highway sign, which marks the exit to Zzyzx, California, an unincorporated settlement in San Bernardino County and the former site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa that is now occupied by the California State University Desert Studies Center. My ride was a 2010 Lincoln MKZ on loan from THX so I could evaluate the car's THX-certified multichannel sound system. I played a wide variety of music on CD and DVD-Audio, including jazz, classical, and rock as well as two CDs I recorded—one with my wife, Joanna Cazden, and the other with my avant-garde trio Many Axes.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  1 comments

DTS-HD Master Audio is nothing new, of course, but the 7.1 demo sounded superb using standard home-theater gear, including a Sony PS3, Onkyo TX-HR3007 AVR, Definitive Technology Mythos 1 speakers, and Earthquake subwoofer. I learned a bit about the upcoming next-gen Neo, which will upmix to 11.1 channels to add height and width speakers to an existing surround system, much like Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  3 comments

Samsung's flagship C6000 ultra-thin LED LCD TV provides a super-cool, full-color touchscreen remote. In addition to controlling the TV, it can also display a live video signal, though I can't see why you'd want to watch the remote when you have a big, beautiful TV in the same room.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  0 comments

Sensio is one of several companies that provide 3D infrastructure to manufacturers. In fact, Vizio announced at the show that it will use Sensio technology in its XVTPRO720SV LCD TV, and THX Media Director now incorporates Sensio's 3D flag, which allows a compatible TV to automatically switch between 2D and 3D depending on the content. According to the company, the algorithm encodes the right and left views of a 3D image into one datastream that requires no more bandwidth than a 2D signal, and it works with any type of 3D display technology.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  0 comments

In addition to all the 3D flat panels on the show floor, there were also a few 3D front-projection demos, including one from Optoma at the low end of the price spectrum. I've always been impressed with the quality and value of Optoma DLP projectors, but its 3D demo was very disappointing—it wasn't even 1080p! The projector was the 720p HD66, and the source was an HQFS (High Quality Field Sequential) DVD playing at 480i through a composite connection. There were jaggies galore, and the sense of depth was very unconvincing. A separate demo of 3D stills, from which this photo was taken, looked better, as I would expect with no motion.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  1 comments

My impression of Westinghouse LCD TVs has steadily improved with each one I've reviewed, so I was eager to see its new line of LED edge-lit models. The larger screen sizes—42, 46 (pictured), and 55 inches—are 120Hz, and all are quite slender as you would expect from LED edge lighting. The 46- and 55-inchers will be available in the fourth quarter, while the smaller sets will ship in April. Prices were not disclosed, but a company rep said it would be "comparable to CCFL pricing today."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  1 comments

B&W announced that it has updated the 800 series with diamond tweeters in all models as well as improvements in the other drivers and crossovers, resulting in greater dynamic range, lower distortion, and higher power handling. Prices range from $2750 for the HTM4D center-channel to $24,000/pair for the 800D, and all models should be available to consumers by April. You can read more on the 800 series and diamond tweeters, <A href="http://blog.ultimateavmag.com/ultimate-gear/diamond_john/">here</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments

As I was wandering around the 3D Tech Zone, I stumbled upon a small booth with an autostereoscopic 3D LCD TV&#151;in other words, no glasses. Technicolor was demonstrating its algorithm that takes in right and left images, derives depth information for each pixel, and interpolates six additional views between the right and left images, a process that cannot yet be performed in real time.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  2 comments

IDT isn't the only company working on cleaning up low-quality Internet video—Anchor Bay demonstrated its solution to this problem in a Hilton suite. Looking at 480i from DVD, 720p from Apple TV, and video from an iPhone, the new DVDO chipset did a great job at smoothing out jaggies as shown in the split-screen photo above (processed image on the left), but not so well at reducing noise. The new chipset is less expensive than the company's PReP (Progressive Reprocessing) technology and is intended for products such as iPod docks and the like.