CES 2014

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  1 comments
Brent Butterworth covers the details on the new Infinity Reference Series below. Here’s a look at the three-way center ($499). Its vertical orientation for the midrange and tweeter is, in my opinion, the only proper way to design a center channel speaker —other than using a speaker identical to the left and right, which can only work if the screen is very high or acoustically transparent, or the system is used for music only with no images.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Lexicon’s venerable MC-12 preamp-processor, which has been on the market for over ten years (with important upgrades alinbg the way to accommodate the changing times) is about to be replaced by the MC-14. The latter (April, $10,500) will offer a full complement of inputs and other ports, including HDMI, USB, 7.1-channel analog, Ethernet, RS-232, and a headphone output. It accepts all current consumer sources, and also has a selectable analog bypass for playback. Oddly, however, there is no provision for any form of manual or automatic room compensation.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Mark Levinson products sit at the top of the Harman Kardon Luxury Group’s totem pole. The new No.585 integrated amp $12,000, available summer 2014) offers 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 into 4, D/A conversion up 32 bits/192kHz, and a full complement of analog and digital inputs (including USB—but no HDMI, an unfortunate but almost universal omission in 2-channel integrated amps).

There is also a built-in subwoofer crossover and output for those wanting to set up a 2.1-channel system to accommodate both music and movies.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Smart TV tends to take a backseat to other TV developments at CES, but LG’s demo of its new WebOS Smart TV interface in some ways proved almost as compelling as the 77-inch, 4K-rez OLED the company had on display.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 11, 2014  |  1 comments

While Infinity's been a successful brand in factory car audio for decades, Harman International's enthusiasm for the marque on home products has waxed and waned over the years. With the new Reference Series, Infinity's trying to re-establish its cred in the living room.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 11, 2014  |  0 comments

When I tested one of JBL's original Studio Series speakers a few years ago, I liked the sound but never quite warmed up to the wacky look. JBL's new Studio 2 line, which the company displayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during the CES show, has a much more refined look that's more consistent with the JBL image.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  1 comments
Samsung Electronics thinks your home should be smart – as long as it’s filled with Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung home appliances, and Samsung smartphones that are all connected and managed through Samsung’s Smart Home platform. Samsung’s Smart Home is designed to enable homeowners to control and manage many of the devices in their homes via a single, simple app. The devices that Samsung envisions to be part of the Smart Home ecosystem will include refrigerators, washing machines, Smart TVs, digital cameras, smartphones, and wearable devices (such as the Galaxy Gear). In the beginning, Samsung Smart Home will offer three features: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. Device Control provides what you would think from the name: the ability to monitor and control home gear, such as turning the house HVAC on/off or changing lighting scenes. Interestingly, Smart Home will offer a voice command function on all of the controller devices. According to Samsung, “Users can also use chat control on their smartphone app as a fun, convenient way to communicate with their devices.” (Only as long as the appliances don’t start talking back…) Home View will allow users to view their home in real-time thanks to cameras built into Samsung appliances. (So, that means no walking around in the kitchen in your underwear…) The Smart Home’s Smart Customer Service will notify customers “when it’s time to service appliances or replace consumables, and provides assistance in after-sales servicing.” The company has developed a dedicated Smart Home software protocol (SHP) to facilitate communication between Samsung devices as well as (hopefully) other manufacturers’ appliances and devices.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
TOWERING TROPHY Quite possibly the most striking speaker system at 2014 CES, Scaena’s statuesque Iso-Linear Array is made of chrome-encased stone and boasts 15 midrange drivers and nine ribbon tweeters per column. The subwoofers have 18-inch drivers and are governed by a digital bass-management system that employs a 32-bit SHARP processor and 24-bit Crystal A/D and D/A converters. Asked who might be interested in this sonic work of art, designer Sunny Umrao does not mince words: “People who have the best but still want something more—a trophy of achievement.” At $75,000, it is a trophy, indeed.

Click below for more...

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Panasonic offers users individual recommendations, can turn on TV when you walk by and show you messages from other family members.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Hisense demonstrates VIDAA TV that can jump from one app to another, pausing a video so you can return to where you left it.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  2 comments
I have long regarded refrigerators as being the most selfish of the kitchen appliances. Toasters, for example, must exert tremendous heat to partially carbonize my toast, and blenders, the poor things, whip themselves into a frenzy as they mush things up. In contrast, fridges mainly just stand there, self-absorbed, trying to look cool, intentionally not sharing their air conditioning with the rest of the kitchen. Recognizing this, Whirlpool has dramatically reinvented the refrigerator - transforming it from aloof SOB, to DJ party animal.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Samsung's Multi-Link automatically knows to search for videos and information related to what you are watching.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

Meridian launched its active, digital-input speakers 25 years ago, so to celebrate, the company's amping up some of its classic designs with improved components and some nice engineering refinements. That's the DSP7200SE you see above. There'll also be a top-of-the-line DSP8000SE and a smaller DSP5200SE.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
When high-definition TVs first showed up in the late 1990s, the arrival of the new sets was preceded by the establishment of a digital high-definition TV broadcast format. In other words, the horse was leading the cart. With UHDTV, however, there isn’t a new higher-rez broadcast format to go with the new displays. What gives?
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

Epos Acoustics could justify the claim that its new K-series speakers are fine-tuned for today's audio world based solely on the sleek, seamless design. But there's more to the K-series than cool looks.