CES 2013

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Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Samsung claims to be showing the world's first curved OLED, but there seems to be some dispute about that (see below). Nevertheless, you'll see flat OLEDs in Vin's Video Barn before you see curved ones. Exactly when we'll see the flat versions remains a question mark. LG has starting to sell them in Korea either now or claims it will do so shortly, but the US availability date will be later. Samsung claims in June of this year or later. Expect prices between $10,000 and $12,000 for the only size anticipated for now: 55-inches (the 56-inch Sony shown below does not have a delivery date). How that will stand up in the market against the increasingly cheaper big-screen designs remains to be seen.

One thing is certain: OLED can trump any current display technology in a wide range of important performance parameters. The off-axis performance and black level quality comes through in this photo, even on a your computer screen, which itself will certainly have a far poorer black level.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
I guess it's a toss-up as to who thought of a curved OLED first, but LG's 3D-capable EA9800 (no word on price or availability) looks appropriately cinematic as well. OLEDs are uniquely suited to curved designs, as they're so thin they can be twisted or rolled into forms impossible up to now with other display technologies.

LG's OLED employ 4-color pixels--sort of. The fourth color is white, along with the usual red, green,and blue.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
There's no question that OLEDs can produce eye-grabbing color as well as great blacks and off-axis performance. Like most displays at shows such as this, color is stretched and enhanced all out proportion. But it shur r purdy.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
In a stunning display of one-upsmanship, Sony not only showed a 4K OLED display, but one that's a full 56-inches diagonal. The other OLEDs on show were all a paltry 55-inches.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Bang and Olufsen announced its new flagship TV, the Beovision 11 with SmartTV features. Users can customize their SmartTV hub from a number of available apps.The first Smart TV for the upscale company, the TV includes access to not only the typical U.S. streaming services but services from all around the globe
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Texas Instruments, developer of the DLP imaging chips used in many of today’s video projectors, is demonstrating at CES 2013 a new architecture that makes the already minuscule pixels in Pico projectors even smaller. Dubbed Tilt & Roll Pixel, or TRP, the technology is said to double resolution to 1280 x 800 and increase brightness by as much as 30 percent, making it possible to project larger images from ever-smaller projectors (like the one built into Samsung’s Galaxy Beam phone). At the same time, power consumption is reduced by up to 50 percent.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Klipsch likes to bring its trombone to jazz bars and jam after hours.... No, no, that's not it. Klipsch is introducing horned speaker design to soundbars. Yes, that's more like it. The two HD Theater Series bars shown include the SB 1, $599, with two three-inch IMG (injection-molded graphite) woofers and a silk tweeter on each side; and the SB 3, $799, similar but with 3.5-inch woofers and more power. Both speak wirelessly to 10-inch subs though the larger bar has a more powerful and deeper sub. The big guy can produce SPL of up to 110dB (in other words it's very loud). Both have optical and stereo analog ins plus a mini-jack on the SB 3. Klipsch also showed the fifth generation of the legendary Quintet sat/sub set. It now comes in a BMC enclosure, a type of forged stone polymer that's high-pressure injection-molded and is acoustically inert. The motors take up the entire innards of the enclosure. 90 by 90 degree horns surround the 0.75-inch aluminum tweeter and the woofer is another 3.5-inch IMG driver. The new Quintet will be sold in 5.1 sets for $899, same price as the original Quintet, or in five-packs with no sub for $549. When I have more time remind me to tell you about the amazing $2,000 Stadium powered speaker with its opposing subwoofer drivers and quadruple-threat connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth, wi-fi, and DLNA.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Though the Mirage brand name is on ice, its Omnipolar speaker technology lives on in two new 360 Series satellites from Jamo. The larger of the two, the S35, is the size of a grapefruit, has a 3.5-inch woofer, and will be sold in groups of four with a conventionally shaped center and sub. The smaller S25 has a 2.5-inch woofer and will be sold in a five-pack. Available colors will be determined based on dealer feedback at the show with shipping later in the year.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
When is a soundbar not a bar? When it's shaped like a console, a new form factor that provides more cabinet volume and potentially better sound. The Energy Power Base, pictured, is a 2.1-channel product with pairs of 0.75-inch tweeters, three-inch midranges, and three- by five-inch oval woofers. It comes with Dolby Digital surround decoding, Bluetooth wireless, and optical and stereo analog inputs. Ships in August for $399. Energy also showed two Power Bar Elite soundbars: a 40-incher for $599 and a 31-incher for $399. Oh, and there were a couple of new indoor/outdoor speakers as well.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
They won’t be available until later in the year, so no prices were yet available, but Vizio joins other HDTV manufacturers (with Panasonic a notable exception) in making this CES the year of 4K launches—though 4K source material will be very thin on the ground. Nevertheless, this Vizio 70-inch 4K set looked outstanding in upconverting what was apparently a standard Blu-ray source. 65- and 55-inches Vizio 4K sets will also be available, though the latter size seems a tad small to take full advantage of the format.

Next to the 4K display, Vizio also showed a glasses-free 3D prototype, though this was apparently a technical demonstration rather than a product we should expect anytime soon. The 3D effect was modestly effective, but not equal to the glasses variety. And the picture was otherwise rather grainy (possibly due to the screen treatment needed for the glasses free experience) and not yet quite ready for prime time. As with other glasses free 3D we’ve seen, the 3D effect was only visible at several specific zones across the viewing area, but unlike those other sets, the picture merely went to 2D in the areas between those zones rather than breaking apart into the two separate eye images.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  1 comments
Vizio’s new top-of-the-line range of 2K (1920 x 1080) LCD HDTVs is the M-Series shown here. The 3D models are expected to be available later this year in 50-inch ($859) 55-inch ($1200), 60-inch ($1600), 70-inch ($2500) and 80-inch ($4500) sizes. All will have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, Vizio’s Internet Apps, an ultra slim, thin bezel design, and local dimming. It was not clear from Vizio’s press materials, but we assume from the ultra slim design and the prices that the local dimming is edge-lit rather than the more complex and expensive to implement full backlit zone dimming. The picture here shows all but the 55-incher; only one of the four employs an IPS panel (which typically offers better off-axis performance). Ignore the room reflections and guess which one.

The M-series also includes 32-, 40-, and 47-inch models, which are 2D only.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  1 comments
Panasonic is introducing 32 new HDTVs at the 2013 CES—16 plasmas and 16 LCDs. The Plasmas range in size from 42- to 64-inches, and the LCD sets cover the ground between 32- and 65-inches.

When Panasonic first started shipping LCD displays a couple of years back, it restricted the LCD lineup to sizes impractical for its HD plasmas, that is, under 42-inches. No longer; bigger sets are now “in,” so the company clearly sees a future in both technologies. But rumors to the contrary, plasmas remain an integral part of Panasonic’s HDTV lineup.

Only brief comments at the press event related to any improvements in basic video performance. As we’ve witnessed from some manufacturers so far on this CES press day, the presentation centered on enhancements to the set’s “Smart” features. This year, Panasonic’s interactive menus allow each member of the family to customize the menu to favor their favorite sites. It can save separate favorites for each member of the family, and even recognize each viewer with its built-in camera (scary!) and switch to the appropriate menu for that individual.

So when I turn on one of these new Panasonics, will it default to the calibration controls?

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
With new HDTV technologies flying around fast, Sharp wasn’t about to be left out. This year, it’s hot on a new display technology called IGZO (Indium, Gallium, Zinc, Oxygen) said to offer twice the resolution of conventional LCD, together with significant energy savings and better touch screen performance than present display devices.

Don’t expect to see technology in Sharp’s big screen HDTVs this year (with LCD displays ranging up to 90-inches, Sharp claims to lead the industry in sales of sets 60-inches and above). But it is or soon will be available in a 32-inch, 4K monitor (particularly useful in medical imaging), a new 4.9-inch smart phone to be introduced in Japan in March, and a 7-inch tablet.

Significantly missing from the press event was any mention of Sharp’s Elite line. We’ll be checking on the show floor to see what that might mean.