CES 2009

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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2009  |  0 comments
Although I haven’t put my hands on one yet (which is a good thing, too, since they’re too greasy from the overpriced turkey club sandwich from room service that I just ate), Logitech’s new Harmony 1100 universal remote control looks like just the kind of remote I’d want in my home theater. It’s classy looking, simple-to-operate, easy-on-the-brain when it comes to programming, and – at $499.99 – it’s a lot less pricey than most of the other touchscreen universal remotes.
Fred Manteghian  |  Jan 07, 2008  |  0 comments

LG's 60PG70 plasma looked pretty amazing. I can't say if it's in Pioneer Kuro territory, but with a 30,000:1 claimed contrast ratio, there was little to fault. I asked one of LG's booth specialists to bring up the ISFccc calibration menu and he was able to do so without pressing 5432+Enter on the remote (sorry – inside joke for former CRT calibrators).

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  1 comments
The 1.25-inch Teteron tweeter in this year-old DCM speaker line is called "synthetic silk." It's said to be as thin as silk, distinguishing it from other synthetic drivers, but is stronger and impervious to moisture. Here it's part of the TFE200 tower ($1000/pair), TFE60C center ($350), and TFE160BDP bipole/diple surround ($500/pair). DCM makes it and the other drivers used in the series, which include 6.5-inch kevlar or glass fiber woofers.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments
This is the whole player dissected, with all its parts laid out -- the disc drive, the power supply, the DACs, everything. Awesome.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  1 comments
With a little dust. Admittedly not the most attractive picture. Flashes tend to show what life conceals. The DVD-A1UCDI ($3800) plays Blu-ray, SACD, DVD, and CD, among other things. But wait, there's more.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments
This is the disc drive of Denon's universal player. It is entirely a Denon creation, not sourced from another company. So now you get more of an idea of what your $3800 pays for. But wait, there's still more.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 10, 2008  |  1 comments

The highlight of a Runco/Planar/Vidikron lunch for the assembled press in the Renaissance Hotel near the Convention Center was this warm, super-rich chocolate cake with fudge sauce, topped with Dolce de Leche ice cream. The many who left after the main course don't know what they missed.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  1 comments
DLS designs its products in Sweden and has them assembled in Taiwan with enclosures from China. But the company designs and manufactures its own drivers. The M Line includes the M66 tower, for $3500/pair, plus the MC66 center, M60 monitor, and M Sub 10.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2008  |  2 comments

Pioneer’s new DV-58AV ($499), shipping soon, is an upconverting DVD player. With its HDMI 1.2A output it can pass SACD and DVD-Audio as bitstreams over HDMI. And a number of Pioneer’s AV receivers can accept and decode them. Just at those high rez audio formats are loosing serious steam we’re beginning to have equipment that can handle them properly in digital form.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
Tom Norton broke the news about Dolby Pro Logic IIz, the first surround standard from the surround standard setter to incorporate height channels. It's an enhancement process, like Dolby Pro Logic II; not an encode/decode process, like Dolby Digital or TrueHD. It extracts what Dolby calls decorrelated non-surround elements, so it'll operate on things that belong in height channels, as opposed to, say, footsteps. It can operate in 7.1 or 9.1 configurations, without/with back-surround channels. Dolby's now in discussion with various manufacturers about licensed products. What I have to say about it is that it's a great idea -- I'd rather see folks adding height channels to their systems than useless back-surrounds (Dolby wants to make real sure I label that as my own opinion). And the implementation in speakers may be quite interesting, I imagine, everything from vertical structures (same footprint) to in-walls to speakers with top-mount drivers that bounce off the ceiling. Details here. Oh, and the pic is the Acer Aspire PC, glimpsed at the Dolby booth, and I mention it only because as I walked up to it, it said Luke, I am your father.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  1 comments
Dolby has added a new format. It's called Pro Logic IIz, and it adds two height channels to an existing surround setup. Special processing adds a convincing illusion of height to the front channels.
Fred Manteghian  |  Jan 07, 2008  |  0 comments

Dolby was showing us something we'd heard about at Cedia, but which they weren't quite ready to show last fall. This time, using video from three different programs, they did a before and after demo of how Dolby Volume equalizes disparities between sources. It worked well enough in the demo and one thing I did note was that it <i>wasn't</i> heavy handed. For example, the program that was clearly lower in volume in the "before" condition, was still softer than either of the other programs.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 08, 2009  |  0 comments
Hisense was seen at CES last year, too. We don't know much about them (they don't advertise widely, and aren't found in Best Buy or Circuit City). But they're persistent at doing CES. This year they had a prominent spot right in front of the entrance to the South Hall.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  0 comments
SIM2's Domino 60 single-chip 1080p DLO was making sweet pictures on a 2.35:1 screen together with a static anamorphic lens from Panamorph. The projector can process the image so that a conventional 1.78:1 image will be properly proportioned when it passes through the lens. $8300 for the projector and Panamorph (the projector is also available separately).
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
What struck me about my DTS briefing is that the formidable licensor of surround standards has dual strategies in two areas. One is sound enhancement for portable devices. For high-end surround headphone use, there's Head Tracker, which causes the soundfield to follow your head movements -- just like in this pic of a dude turning his head. Head Tracker will be built into an Onkyo receiver. For lower-end portable uses, DTS offers Envelo, which deals with the problems of highly compressed audio formats. DTS's other dual strategy arrives with the acquisition of Neural Surround, a matrixed adaptation format, which overlaps a little on existing Neo:6 territory. But the DTS people say the two circuits will find different applications, with Neo:6 (again) as the high-end player and Neural focusing on low-bit-rate applications like broadcast and MP3 (it's already used in XM, or now Sirius XM, satellite radio). DTS will be among the surround licensors to offer height channels with Advanced Neo. It will adapt 7.1 sources to 10.2, 11.2, or 12.2 channels, and is now being discussed with a/v receiver makers.