CES 2012

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
I arrived in Vegas on Sunday just in time to attend the Toshiba party at Tao, an ultra-hip nightspot at the Venetian. Among several demos on hand was this 55-inch 4K flat panel showing real 4K images, which looked stunning. It's also an intriguing autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D display, which Barb Gonzalez will tell you about in a separate post.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Klipsch says that sales of iOS devices - those handheld and portable digital multimedia/smartphone/tablet/etc things we all can’t live without - are eclipsing (“eKlipsching”?) sales of HDTVs and other “traditional” entertainment devices. Keeping to the company’s audio-reproduction roots, the Klipsch folks want to bring high-performance audio to you and me in whatever form we find the most convenient, be it a home theater system, a bookshelf system, or a pair of earphones. At the Klipsch press conference this morning, the company presented a couple of the new and soon-to-be AirPlay-enabled audio systems.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
While not as svelte as the company’s 55-inch OLED prototype discussed below, LG’s new lineup of Smart LED/LCD sets is still just a bit over an inch thick with a 1mm thick bezel framing the screen. The top of the line Nano sets, available several sizes up to 84” in size. The Nano designs are full backlit local dimmers, utilizing LEDs impeded into t thin membrane that allows for superior backlit local dimming in a thinner design. LG’s magic remote has been improved, allowing not only pointing but also both gesture and voice recognition. And like all the HDTV manufacturers at the show, LG’s Smart technology offers further enhancements in convergence and connectivity with Web-based sites and features.

That 84” model is unique in that it is a 4K design. Despite the lack of 4K sources, 4K offers significant advantages for LG’s passive glasses approach to 3D. Specifically, it can present a full 1920 x 1080 resolution to each eye, unlike the half vertical 3D resolution on conventions 1920 x 1080 sets.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
At its press conference today, Sharp introduced an entirely new line of TVs under the Freestyle moniker. Available in four screen sizes—20, 32, 40, and 60 inches—these are fully networked LED-edgelit LCD TVs with a slimmer and lighter design than most, which lets you place them just about anywhere near a power outlet. With only one HDMI input, they are clearly intended to access most content via their built-in WiFi, though they also have two USB ports and an Ethernet port. The 20-incher includes a built-in battery, while the others seen here being carried by Vanna White wannabes were custom-powered by separate battery packs.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Photo by Barb Gonzalez
I was honored and privileged that DTS asked me to moderate a panel discussion during its Sunday evening party at Lavo at the Palazzo. The luminaries included (left to right after me on the far left) sound designer Diego Stocco, producer/engineer/musician Alan Parsons, producers Iz and Bobby Avila, engineer/producer Elliot Scheiner, and producers Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam. A lively discussion focused on the importance of audio quality and included fascinating comments on data and dynamic-range compression, digital versus analog recording, the use—and misuse—of autotune processing, multichannel music, and the importance of experiencing high-quality audio, especially for youngsters who might not know anything other than highly compressed sound through crappy earbuds.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2012  |  1 comments
Samsung is keeping most of its announcements under wraps until its press conference on Monday, but it did release some info about a couple of new home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems and a soundbar. The HT-E6730W (seen above) is a 7.1 system with wireless surround speakers, Blu-ray player, and built-in WiFi as well as a full Web browser. Even more interesting, it's the first HTIB to feature Samsung's Crystal Amp Plus hybrid technology that combines vacuum tubes and a digital power amp.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 06, 2012  |  1 comments
Most companies place strict embargoes on any announcements they plan to make at CES, but LG is bucking this trend—and its news is huge. Not only is LG Display showing a 55-inch OLED flat panel (which I wrote about earlier this week), but LG Electronics is introducing an 84-inch "ultra-definition" LED-backlit LCD TV with a resolution of 3840x2160, providing four times as many pixels as a 1920x1080 display. And since LG uses passive-polarized glasses for 3D, each eye sees all 1080 lines of vertical resolution available on 3D Blu-rays. (I don't yet know what the TV does with all the extra horizontal resolution, but you can be sure I'll ask.)

Also interesting is something LG calls its Magic Remote navigation system, which lets you control the TV with a wheel, hand gestures, and voice recognition, no doubt inspired by Siri on Apple's iPhone 4S. Of course, it will also offer Smart TV functionality with over 1200 apps and access to a wide variety of content services, including 3D Zone for 3D movies.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 03, 2012  |  5 comments
I hope you had a very happy holiday season and are quickly recovering from any overindulgence during your New Year celebration. Now that all the consumerism is over…well, actually, it's hardly over. The biggest consumerfest is still to come—the Consumer Electronics Show will be held next week in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. I'll be there with HomeTheater.com's crack team of correspondents, including Rob Sabin, Tom Norton, Mark Fleischmann, Darryl Wilkinson, and Barb Gonzalez, along with 140,000 of our closest friends to see what's in store—or rather, what will be in stores—for the coming year. We'll be posting lots of blogs and videos from the show, so be sure to visit this site every day for the latest news from the bleeding edge of audio/video innovation. See you in Vegas!
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 03, 2012  |  1 comments
One of the most highly anticipated announcements at CES this year comes from LG Display, an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) within the LG conglomerate that supplies LCD flat panels to various TV manufacturers. What could possibly be so exciting from a company that consumers aren't normally aware of? A 55-inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) flat panel, the largest ever demonstrated at a trade show. We've seen smaller OLED prototypes at CES for years, with their ultra-thin form factor and unbelievable blacks, and the LG Display 55-incher has been rumored for many months, but this is the first time we'll actually get to see it. Look for more on this amazing development next week.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
OnStar, owned by GM, was one of the first embedded telematics options for cars.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 20, 2012  |  9 comments
What Are You Most Excited About From CES?
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 16, 2012  |  0 comments

For audio geeks, most of the real fun at CES is over at the Venetian Hotel, where high-end (and not-so-high-end) audio companies demonstrate their products in dozens of guest suites. While the rooms in the Venetian are known for $200,000 speakers, $100,000 amps, and $20,000 speaker cables, you can also hear great speakers and amps for as little as a few hundred dollars.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments

LG packed info about lots of new stuff into its CES press conference: refrigerators, phones, washer/dryer combos — you name it, they announced it. But the appliances I came to hear about were the TVs.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 12, 2012  |  0 comments

Turntables are alive and well, thank you very much. A-T has a well-deserved reputation for making solid turntables, and keeps hope alive with the introduction of a new model. The AT-LP1240-USB is aimed at both the DJ and home markets.

Michael Berk  |  Jan 18, 2012  |  0 comments

Altec-Lansing showed us a very interesting new spin on their inAir concept at CES. The new device resembles the existing inAir 5000 AirPlay speaker - but the resemblance is only skin deep.