CES 2011

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  0 comments

The Prelude BD-1 is Electrocompaniet's new "entry-level" Blu-ray player at $3000. It provides two balanced analog-audio outputs as well as 7.1 single-ended outputs.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Custom install-exclusive Emotiva Pro recently acquired Sherbourn, the high-end manufacturer of amps and preamps. The new Sherbourn preamps will include Control4 HC-200B controllers that will allow for home theater and whole-home automation. Look for the first products to be available sometime around April.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2011  |  0 comments
The EPIC2 and two other models are the first Epos speakers to use soft dome tweeters along with, in this case, a seven-inch polypropylene woofer. For a front treatment, choose a screwless baffle plate, or a grille. The dealer can switch between them by sticking a metal rod into the back of the speaker and pushing off whichever one you don't want. Price is $799/pair for the EPIC2, $599/pair for the slightly smaller EPIC1, and $1399/pair for the EPIC5 tower.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Focal showed off a new multimedia speaker system called the XS Book. The system consists of a powered speaker (2 x 20 watts) that takes an analog audio output from your computer. A speaker cable is then run from the amp in the first speaker to the companion speaker. Even though the system doesn’t include a subwoofer, Focal claims a frequency response of 50 Hz to 22 kHz, which is very believable based on what I heard during a demo at Focal’s suite in the Mirage. In fact, these speakers are good enough to be used as main bookshelf audio or TV speakers in a small room. They’re compatible with Omnimount brackets for on-wall mounting. Pricing is expected to be $399.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2011  |  0 comments
The Grand Entryway exhibits featured this arrest-me-red 2011 Ford Focus (available in March). Why? Because of its high tech electronic features. This former Focus owner (2000) was more interested in its performance—planned 160HP engine at first; later supplemented by a twin turbo version (I thought I heard them saay 240HP--torque-steer city?) and later still either a hybrid or electric (they weren't clear on which one).
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  1 comments

I've always thought that Gallo Acoustics speakers look great, but they also sound great as I found out when I listened to the new $6000 Reference 3.5 being powered by a Spectron Musician 3 Signature amp and Resolution Audio CD player. It went surprisingly low for a relatively small speaker, and the mids and highs were clean as a whistle.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Anthony Gallo Acoustics is doing its first wood veneer speakers, but that doesn't mean the Classico Collection is like everyone else's speakers. The S2, shown, uses the same tweeter as other Gallo products. Inside the enclosure is the same polyfill bag dampening that expands or contracts according to driver movement. Though the speaker shown is a prototype, the final version is expected to ship in 90 days for $695/pair. Other members of the same family will include another stand-mount, two floorstanders, center, and sub.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 11, 2011  |  0 comments
From Liquid Imaging Co. LLC comes the Summit Series HD combination video camera and snow goggles. The integrated wide angle HD camera captures the wearer's point of view while the skier is shushing down the slopes!
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  0 comments

Many video reviewers use the original <I>HQV Benchmark</I> DVD and Blu-ray test discs in their evaluations of displays, players, and processors, but those discs are getting a bit long in the tooth, and there are a couple of errors on them that limit their usefulness in certain tests. Now, IDT has released version 2.0 of both discs, and they look fantastic. (During the development process, IDT solicited feedback from several reviewers, including Tom Norton and me, and I'm gratified that they actually took our advice.)

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  2 comments

As you may already know, the intellectual property rights for HQV video processing were purchased by IDT some time ago, and the company has been working on new chips since then. I've seen demos of prototypes a couple of times, but I was under NDA (non-disclosure agreement) until now. I can finally talk about the HQV Vida chip, which will soon be available in AVRs, Blu-ray players, and video processors.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
There are quite a few add-on devices that will turn your iPod touch into a remote control, but most of them are cumbersome or require some sort of obtrusive dongel. The most interesting one I’ve found so far is the Surc, which is an iPhone case with a built-in IR emitter. The case isn’t much larger than the iPhone itself, and it’s easily removable if you only want to use it at home. A free app is available that lets you customize the remote by adding in remote control code sets already in the Surc database – or you can teach the remote codes that aren’t yet available. Multiple rooms and macros can be easily programmed into the iPhone/Surc combo in minutes. It’s extremely easy to set up, and the UI is configurable (buttons can be moved, added, or removed). Availability is targeted for early 2011 with pricing yet to be determined. Surc cases for the iPod touch and iPad are in development. You can learn more at www.getsurc.com.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Optoma introduced the Neo-I, an all-in-one AV iPod dock with a built-in pico projector, speakers, 16-watt amplifier, and an HDMI input. The promotional materials say it’s capable of projecting up to a 120-inch image, but I think that’s pushing it a bit. Skins will be available for the bezel surrounding the speaker grilles that will allow you to personalize the dock. MSRP is $449.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2011  |  0 comments
I know that we in this country are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the form of some sort of iPod accessory; but I draw the line at karaoke – especially iKaraoke. Friends don’t let friends karaoke.