CES 2012

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  2 comments
Not to be outdone by its cross-town rival LG, Samsung introduced its own 55-inch 3D OLED TV at its press conference today. This gorgeous, ultra-thin masterpiece incorporates a dual-core chipset that allows multiple Samsung apps to run simultaneously. Like the company's other high-end TVs, this one includes Smart Interaction technology that lets you manage your TV experience with motion control, voice control, and face recognition. Welcome to the next generation of television!
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments
Samsung's new lineup of LED-edgelit LCD TVs is topped by the flagship ES8000 series, available in screen sizes up to 75 inches. Cutting-edge image-enhancing technologies are said to provide a brighter picture and greater contrast, and the dual-core chipset allows multiple apps to run at the same time. Users can control the TV with the company's new Smart Interaction technology, which includes voice control and gesture control using a built-in camera. Also, face recognition automatically logs into each family member's Smart TV account.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  1 comments
THX has been applying its grey cells to the power amplifier, as THX grey eminence Laurie Fincham explained. The prototype shown uses what he calls a Class ABC topology with newly tweaked rail-switching power supply and compact ceramic (as opposed to bulky electrolytic) capacitors, all run off a lithium iron phosphate battery (yes, iron, not ion). In the picture you see a super-skinny two-channel output stage; adding capacitors would make it only 25 percent larger. Anyway, the result is a powerful low-profile amp that runs cool and efficient, avoiding both the power piggery of Class A and the problematic performance of Class D. And yes, it sounded great with Sonus Faber speakers and Steely Dan's "Gaslighting Abbie," achieving both well controlled bass and a high degree of overall transparency. Why this, why now? Fincham points out that his team is liberated from the tyranny of the product development cycle, enabling them to take a longer view and to incorporate ideas from the entire history of audio going back to the 1920s but also including the latest tricks. For example, the type of battery used is relatively new to audio but has been deployed in things like power tools and electric bikes. The THX amp design has yet to be built into licensed product but current licensees are getting their first look at this show. Potential uses include everything from inexpensive compact products to BD-receivers to high-end multichannel amps.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments
THX's long-promised Media Director technology has finally found its way into products including two Sharp Elite LCD TV models and the Acurus ACT4 preamp-processor. Media Director automates the selection of video parameters for Blu-ray and DVD titles, saving the less tech-savvy consumer a giant pounding headache. This can be something as basic as selecting 2D or 3D mode or something more subtle. In the example somewhat fuzzily shown, under "Video Processing Flags," are two entries reading: "Video content is intentionally noisy." And: "Video content contains film grains" [sic]. It works not only with Media Director encoded content but also with regular content when the disc is played in a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray player which will go online to grab the data from the THX database. If you're not ready to ante up for a top-line TV for the kitchen, you might still get limited Media Director functionality in a non-Media Director product. It's great that this newbie-empowering technology is finally seeing implementation.
Michael Berk  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Where some other Press Day events - namely Samsung's - were big production numbers, Panasonic's was low-key, almost to a fault. Strangely for a consumer show, a big chunk of time was spent by chairman Joseph M. Taylor and CTO Eisuke Tsuyuzaki B2B and industrial products like solar panels, avionics and green initiatives for institutions and industry (Ed Begley, a Vegas-area resident, told the crowd that they could "have a cool beverage and a warm shower, but you can be more efficient").

Michael Berk  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Samsung opened their packed - and I mean packed, there must have been 1,500-plus people in the room - Press Day event with a bang.

Rob Sabin  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments
This bouncy little guy got to curl up at the DISH press conference, and seemed reasonably bored despite the 4,000 camera flashes he had to endure. But those of us in the CES press corp looked and acted more like cattle as we were herded through a marathon of dog-and-pony shows at the Venetian hotel and the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday. Celebrity sightings included Justin Timberlake at the Panasonic press conference promoting the new MySpace app in this year's HDTVs, and Will Smith with director Barry Sonnenfeld were at Sony's event to promote Men In Black 3. Sony closed it out with an acoustic guitar-accompanied performance by Kelly Clarkson. But the best news out of the day for Home Theater was the announcement of pending OLED and/or 4K sets from LG, Samsung, and Sharp. The real show begins today; check back for our reports from the floor.

Rob Sabin  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments
One of the more interesting developments out of yesterday's CES press conferences was the imminent arrival of gesture control for upcoming models from Samsung (pictured) and LG Electronics. Gesture control uses an Xbox Kinect-like camera mounted near the screen to allow hand movements to be used to change channels or volume, for example, with no need to pick up a remote. Samsung's version should also allow voice control according to the company. We'll report more on this feature from the floor; stay tuned.

Rob Sabin  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  1 comments
DISH Network is attempting to "hop" all over its competition at CES with a new whole house DVR that records prime time, all the time.

As part of a full company makeover that includes a new kangaroo mascot, the satellite TV provider is introducing Hopper, said to be the world's most advanced DVR. It's a 3-tuner model with a massive 2-terabyte hard drive that can record up to six HD programs simultaneously, and allows simultaneous viewing of different channels in up to three additional rooms through the companion Joey set top box.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Sharp kicked off the company’s 100th year with a slew of impressive CES product announcements. What you need to know is that the company is now all about really big screens — 60 inch or larger LED models to be exact.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Dish Network would like you to know that most everything about the company is now new: new CEO, new DVR, even a new mascot (see video). To be sure, watching a CES press conference that kicked off with an executive cuddling a live baby kangaroo qualified for me as new.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments

At their Monday press conference the day before the CES officially opens, Pioneer focused on their car electronics line.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
OnStar, owned by GM, was one of the first embedded telematics options for cars.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments

Cutting the cable” is a fashionable trend, but Monster is doing it in a different sense: It’s now just going by Monster instead of Monster Cable. True to its new moniker, the company didn’t even mention cable in its CES press conference today. But given the onslaught of cool new products the company introduced, nobody seemed to notice.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments

CES kicks off with Unveiled, an event that crams a thousand or so members of the press, most of them desperate for a snack and a free drink, into a loud, stuffy ballroom full of manufacturers exhibiting a few key products in tiny booths. It’s so loud inside that any serious demos are impossible. Why do I go?