CES 2010

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Tom Norton  |  Jan 12, 2010  |  3 comments
CES 2010 is now just a memory, but hopefully not a fading one. On my last day or two I saw a few things that I couldn't get posted while still in Vegas. IDT, the company that now owns the HQV Reon video processing technology, showed a number of interesting new technologies. The most intriguing was a small, nondescript box (no wasted funds on here on cosmetics!) that can perform all the Reon video processing functions, including deinterlacing, upconverting, and noise reduction, plus flesh tone correction&$151;the latter said to be more sophisticated than the flesh tone correction offered in some televisions. No decision yet as to whether it will be marketed under IDT's own brand name or by a third party. The price could be as low as under $100, which would be a huge plus for those whose HDTVs have mediocre built-in video processing.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  1 comments
McIntosh introduced its first Blu-ray player, the MVP881 BR ($8000, shipping this month). Its custom fabricated steel and aluminum enclosure conceals an all-metal drive that handles SACD and DVD-Audio as well as BD, DVD, and CD. Video processing is Silicon Optics HQV Realta. McIntosh also took the wraps off a new pre-pro, the MX 150 ($12,000, also shipping this month), and the MEN220 two-channel room correction system featuring Lyngdorf Audio's RoomPerfect technology ($4500).
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  0 comments
The Denon S-5BD is a combination Blu-ray player and a/v receiver. The player is BD-Live capable and the receiver is no slouch either. It includes Audyssey MultEQ auto setup and room correction plus Audyssey's Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ for the ultimate scalable flexibility in low-volume listening -- a boon to action movie lovers who burn the midnight oil. The height-enhanced Dolby Pro Logic IIz surround listening mode is also included. Front panel connectivity includes HDMI, SD card, and direct iPod-capable USB (unless you'd prefer to add Denon's dock). The S-5BD won a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering award and will ship in March for $1799.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 11, 2010  |  1 comments
Attendance at the show was up this year from the previous year, at 120,000-plus versus 113,000. While this did not approach the record 141,000 of two years ago, it was a healthy increase for those who look to CES as an indicator for the overall well-being of the CE industry. As our video editor and fellow blogger Tom Norton pointed out, "they were hanging off the rafters" at the Central Hall. See press release.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
The untimely passing last summer of Jim Thiel, the heart and soul of Thiel Audio, was a jolt to entire high-end audio industry. But he left the company in good hands, as its big demo room at CES amply proved. The Thiel CS3.7s ($12,900/pair) were clean, crisp, but never bright unless the program source made them so, it was one of the best audio demos I've yet heard. The front end of the system, and the amps, were from Bryston. Thiel subwoofers fleshed out the bottom below 30Hz. At some point in the future we can expect a matching center channel for this system; according to Thiel reps, Jim left detailed designs for future projects, and a center appropriate for use with the CS3.7 was one of them.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
TAD was demoing both its flagship Reference One speaker (priced in "if you have to ask" territory) and the smaller Compact reference shown here (at $37,000/pair, it's only in the "say again" price range). It sounds spectacular, however, and while you don't need TAD's new disc player and monboblock amps (see below) to make it sing, it couldn't hurt.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  2 comments
Purosol, arguably one of the best screen cleaners around, has a new look for the packaging. Fortunately, it's the same old formula inside. $10 for the little bottle. $26 for the big bottle/little bottle combo. Cleaning cloths are included.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  1 comments
Magico's Q5 loudspeaker is composed entirely of one-half inch thick aluminum, and while the speaker isn't very larga as high-end floor-standers go, each one weighs 400 lbs. There are two 9" woofers, one 9" mid-woofer, one 6A" midrange, and a beryllium tweeter. The latter is new for a for Magico; the other drivers are similar in design to the drivers in other Magico speakers. $54,000 a pair, if you have to ask! For five channels, that's...never mind.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
Build a new mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a new mouse (the computer-type, that is), and the world will put their hands all over it. That's just what Jelfin wants to have happen with the company's new ball-shaped mouse that comes with a gel cover. In addition to being washable (keep your stinking H1N1 germs to yourself, thank you), the gel covering - and the ball-shape - make the mouse very comfortable to hold in your hand.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
XStreamHD is a high definition media via satellite delivery service provider that's been gearing up for the last year. We've followed their progress, and now it looks like XStreamHD will be launching at the end of April. The XStreamHD hardware will let you rent HD movies (with Blu-ray bit-for-bit HD quality) with many other media-centric service to come, including game downloads. There's a $10/month subscription fee - after that, you simply pay for the movies/games/etc. that you want to rent or buy. Everything gets stored on the XStreamHD HD Media Server that comes standard with a 1TB drive (but is upgradeable to 2TB and 4TB). Movies can be streamed to HDTVs throughout your house using the basic HD Media Receiver or the more advanced PRO Media Receiver, which includes high-end DACs and 8-channel analog audio out for use with pre/pros that lack HDMI inputs. The basic package (1 Media Server + 1 HD Media Receiver) is scheduled to sell for $399. A Server and PRO Receiver package will be $499.
Shane Buettner  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
The group at Anthem/Paradigm now offers complete turnkey home theater solutions comprised of separate electronics, speakers, a Blu-ray player and a front projector and screen. The results almost shook the Venetian hotel to the ground. The Anthem line brought in Statement series electronics with the D2v processor, A5 power amp, three BLX-200 Blu-ray players (continuous demo, no disc swapping), and an LTX-500 LCOS projector driving an SI Black Diamond screen. Paradigm’s Signature S6 speakers held down left and right duty in this surround system, but my eyes and ears went immediately to the presence of two ginormous SUB 2 subwoofers at the front of the room. The $7499 SUB 2 uses six 10” woofers in its unusually shaped cabinet. And get this. Wiring 240v AC to the SUB 2 Paradigm claims 4,500 watts RMS sustained with its Class D amplification. If you can only wire for 120v, don’t’ feel too bad. Paradigm claims 3,000 watts RMS sustained over old-fashioned 120v lines, which isn’t exactly anemic either. The cabinet/driver configuration cancels cabinet vibration, and all that’s left is earthshaking bass. The versatility of this system was extraordinary, bringing me to my emotional knees with an evocative KD Lang concert performance before shattering that blissful calm with a bonecrusher (ok, hunter-killer) scene from Terminator Salvation (all the demo material was Blu-ray). Then Anthem/Paradigm’s Rob Sample played Nine Inch Nails Beside You in Time, and we were whisked off to the concert arena. I’ve never heard rock concert bass portrayed as convincingly in a home theater system. Not only was the bass pounding at startlingly high SPLs, the air in the room was fully charged. I saw NIN live in 2008, and this is as close as I’ll get to that energy until they come around again. This is powerful stuff. So powerful that I need to know more. Paradigm’s on the hook to send me a SUB 2 review sample. My neighbors have no idea what’s coming for them!
Tom Norton  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
My search for home theater displays at the Venetian hotel, home of the high-end audio exhibits, was frustrating. And while I enjoyed checking out the audio rooms, looking mainly for speakers suitable for home theater (but also for the fun of it!), their prices were often a put-off for multi-channel applications). The Meridian room did not break the price barrier either, but the quality of the system was outstanding. The company left its big 4K projector at home and settled on the smaller DLA-MF10 with an ISCO anamorphic lens (about $28,000 --$15,000 without the lens) and 8-foot wide (approximately) 2.35:1 Stewart Studiotek 130 screen. Even though this projector is based on an older JVC DLA design (extensively modified courtesy of video expert William Phelps) the picture was to die for.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
You can be forgiven if this looks like one of those odd, transparent speaker systems. But it wasn't put in the Avalon room to compete with the Avalon Time. Its a passive room treatment device from Acustica Applicata (sounds like a singing technique, like a capella), an Italian company. The visible "eye" is a mechanical iris diaphragm, which combined with a port in the base with an adjustable opening and an internal membrane can tune the device to between 26Hz and 60Hz. This is said to improve the low frequency resolution by tuning out bass problem areas over a narrow or broad range. $3600 each.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
If I'd had $299 for the Show special price, I'd be flying home with one of these RCX4 Stryker RC flying X-wing craft from EZ2Fly, Inc. (The regular price is $399.) They say it's a full-function 4-channel hovercraft with an integrated 3D gyro system. It's not quite as cool as Parrot's AR Drone quadricopter that uses Wi-Fi, has two on-board cameras, and can be controlled by an iPhone or iPod touch - but the AR Drone isn't available for purchase yet.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2010  |  0 comments
A proprietary master clock , specially designed disc mechanism, and a rigid, die-cast aluminum chassis are only a few of the reason's why TAD's new D600 CD/SACD (2-channel) CD and (two-channel) SACD disc spinner commands a price of $26,500. Available in spring 2010.