CES 2011

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  First Published: Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
That's it in the middle. As we've previously reported, it's the floorstanding big brother of the SCS4 stand-mount (left) with a slightly different crossover and outrigger feet that make it stable even in a house full of rocketing toddlers. Price $3690/pair.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  1 comments

Toshiba's big announcement was the introduction into the US market of its Cell TV, first seen in a "soft launch" last year. This flagship sits at the pinnacle of a new lineup that includes 10 series of LCD TVs, seven of which are LED illuminated. Thanks to the incredibly powerful Cell processor in its outboard box, the Cell TV has it all, including LED local dimming with 512 zones (five times as many as most current local dimmers), 3D capabilities (including real-time conversion of 2D to 3D) using active-shutter glasses, 480Hz refresh rate (actually 240Hz with backlight scanning), WirelessHD 60GHz (wireless HDMI) and 802.11n WiFi connectivity, VoIP video-phone capability, and Super Resolution+ and Net Resolution+ video processing, which upscale SD images and clean up low-res Web video, respectively.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
A trip back to the Toshiba booth will be needed to get a look at Toshiba's demo of glasses free (autostereoscopic) 3D. The crowds waiting to see this technology were huge. Still, I think all the hoopla about 3D without glasses is going to leave a lot of people disappointed. I suspect that it will either be years away (if it's ever perfected at all—not all technical challenges have a ready solution) or a serious step backwards in image quality—whether from Toshiba or anyone else. But I could be surprised. A similar demo from Sony, while hardly flawless, looked better than I expected.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Toshiba is introducing a whole new lineup of LCD TVs, primarily with LED backlighting. The top of the line UL610 models (46-, 55-, and 65-inches—the 55-incher is shown on the left in the photo). The UL610s use active 3D glasses for full HD 3D, claimed deep blacks (thought all of the Toshiba LED sets use LED edge lighting, not full backlighting), 480Hz operation, and special 3D crosstalk cancellation technology. All of the 3D sets in the ranges below the UL610 employ passive glasses technology.

I finally was able to see Toshiba's autostereoscopic 3D demos. They had some of the same problems described in the Sony's glasses-free 3D demo. I also noted a pervasive graininess in the images. This was visible in the Sony as well but I did not attribute it to the glasses free technique. It apparently is. Nevertheless, Toshiba claims that they will have these sets on the market late this year. As it stands now, however, 3D with glasses is still superior, apart from its lower brightness.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Five years in the making, Totem Acoustic's Element Series features a massive large-diameter magnet structure suitable for arm curls. Even the littlest member of the family -- as it happened, the one we got to hear -- combined the naturalism and balance typical of Totem with a new bass solidity, mated with Accuphase electronics. Pricing ranges from $5995 to $13,000 for the flagship. Note that the competition Totem is aiming at sells products for much more than that.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
The Principal Grand subwoofer from Vienna Acoustics packs a 12-inch pulp-carbon driver into an enclosure with two separate chambers for the 300-watt amp and crossover. The latter, as shown in the pic, is on the bottom. The company, which actually manufactures in Vienna, is fussy about its drivers, in this case source from ScanSpeak because it's important for a sub "to play more than one note." Amen. Pricing ranges from $3000-4000 depending on finish. Also shown was the Strauss Series In-Waltz in-wall speaker, with features derived from an on-wall cousin.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  2 comments

About a year ago, Philips introduced an LCD TV with an aspect ratio of 21:9 (2.33:1), but it was never made available in the US. Now, Vizio is working on the same idea as demonstrated by this concept piece. It measures 58 inches diagonally with a pixel resolution of 2560x1080, perfect for displaying movies without the hated letterbox bars. The prototype uses CCFL backlighting, but the final version could use LEDs. I was told it could become an actual product by the third quarter of this year and that it would be "Vizio priced."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Thin was definitely in at Vizio, which showed several super-slim LCD TVs with LED edge-lighting as a concept demo. The 42-inch Blade seen here in profile is only 6.8mm (1/4-inch) thick, making it the thinnest flat panel I've seen at the show so far, with the electronics in an outboard box. The 26-inch version is 1/2-inch thick with the electronics in the base.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  1 comments

Another Vizio concept demo was a 56-inch "Quad HD" LCD with a pixel resolution of 3840x2160. What a picture! Super-sharp and detailed, a noticeable improvement over 1080p even at a reasonable viewing distance. Initial applications include medical imaging and other high-res rendering, but it could find its way into the consumer marketplace if and when 4K content becomes available.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  3 comments

The model number may be a mouthful, but this mammoth LCD TV from Vizio is certainly an eyeful. Measuring 72 inches diagonally, it offers Sensio 3D with active shutter glasses, Vizio Internet Apps (which provide access to online content from a wide variety of sources), WirelessHD connectivity (the 60GHz variety of wireless HDMI), LED local dimming, and 480Hz refresh rate (actually 240Hz with backlight scanning). It should be available in the third quarter of this year at a cost of—wait for it—less than $4000! The XVTPRO will also be available with screen sizes of 55 and 47 inches for even less.

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."

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Xbox Kinect users already know how cool it is to use motion control. PrimeSense, the folks who developed the technology behind the Kinect, are now actively licensing it to other companies and hope to have it built in to TVs in the near future. Computer maker, Asus, will be the first computer company to develop a product that will allow you to stream content from your PC to your TV and control it using hand gestures.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Running wires to the rear speakers of a 5.1 or 7.1 system is always problematic. Several companies demonstrated wireless add-on devices, but the Link-Mount is the most unusual and clever solution I’ve seen so far. The wireless receiver/amp is built into a universal speaker wall bracket. A DC power cord is then run through the wall to a termination plate where you connect the wire to a transformer plugged into an electrical outlet. Since it’s DC running through the wall, no electrician is necessary. Pricing is in the $400 range for a pair of brackets and a transmitter.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Running wires to the rear speakers of a 5.1 or 7.1 system is always problematic. Several companies demonstrated wireless add-on devices, but the Link-Mount is the most unusual and clever solution I’ve seen so far. The wireless receiver/amp is built into a universal speaker wall bracket. A DC power cord is then run through the wall to a termination plate where you connect the wire to a transformer plugged into an electrical outlet. Since it’s DC running through the wall, no electrician is necessary. Pricing is in the $400 range for a pair of brackets and a transmitter.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Fulton Innovation had what I think was the most exciting booth at CES this year. (Yes, more exciting than 3DTV or a iPod karaoke docks.) Fulton Innovation is the developer of eCoupled intelligent wireless power technology. On display was a Tesla Roadster that was being charged through the air as it was parked over a large eCoupled charging pad. Also on display were eCoupled-enabled cereal boxes that had the eCoupled circuitry printed on the boxes using conductive ink. When placed on a shelf near an eCoupled transmitter, the various graphics on the boxes actually lit up. Another aspect of the technology allows a home to have smart cabinets that will monitor the eCoupled-equipped boxes and let you know what cereals, for example, are in the cabinet – and how full the boxes are. In another section of the CES booth, a wireless blender was being demonstrated. If Fulton Innovation has anything to say about it, in the future when we say “wireless” speakers, we’ll really mean it.

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