"KEF Wireless" is the laconic name of the British loudspeaker's icon entry into cable-free audio. Proprietary algorithms (I've heard this so often, it's almost like a pickup line in a bar) resist noise from nearby appliances and ensure audiophile-ish bandwidth. The "after market" version (lower right) has a 50-watt Class D amp backed up with, I'm told, a great power supply. But you can also buy KEF Wireless built as a "doughnut" into one of KEF's slender, world-beating Reference towers (top left). Also in the works: The new Austin series, with redesigned Uni-Q coaxial driver array (KEF likes putting tweeters amid other drivers) with strengthened tweeter and bigger magnets--"not overly analytical" and "easier to place."
The JBL Control On Air 2.4G is so eager to identify itself that it approaches incoherence. It's based on the way-cool rubber-clad indoor/outdoor Control1Extreme speaker (whose 1980s grandpapa is the Pro III) with a 2.4GHz wireless thing. Now the name makes sense, doesn't it?
I'm beginning to lose track of the number of "goes wireless" headlines I'm writing. In a move reminiscent of Microsoft's Zune, Sandisk--which last year humiliated Steve Jobs by introducing an 8GB flash memory player before Apple did--has introduced the Sansa Connect, which uses wi-fi hotspots to tap into Internet radio and yet-to-be-announced download services (in the recent past SanDisk has done business with Rhapsody, hint hint). Zune killer? The price is $249 and it ships in a few months.
"Among the introductions at the first CES," says the little red placard, "was a line of 23-inch RCA console televisions like this 'Chatworth' model. It was delivered to the Bucklin family of suburban Minneapolis in February 1968 and used continuously since then. Almost 40 years old and in perfect working condition, this set features 'styling that calls to mind the stateliness of English manor house furniture tradition.' Connected to the RCA DTA800 Digital Wireless Adapter, even a 40 year old TV can enter the digital age!" And some idiot can enter the picture as I'm trying to take it.
Taiwan-based AOSRA's HD FVD format has driven both Blu-ray and HD DVD from the market, ending an ugly format war that threatened to go on for years. This poster explains why: The price is "low," compared to the "high" prices of other formats. Said Blu-ray and HD DVD spokespeople in unison: "We surrender to HD FVD. We cannot go on living a lie. What are we going to tell our parents?" Then they burst into tears. (Enlargement, spec sheet.)
JBL's new ES Series will include a tower with six-inch woofers ($500/each), plus a center ($329), surround ($329/pair), bookshelf ($400/pair), larger bookshelf ($500/pair), and a couple of subs ($450 and $550). I'm still waiting to get my hands on the cute bottle-shaped CS 6100 unveiled at CEDIA in September 2006. It's on the way!
The ProCinema 600 sat/sub set replaces the same-sized ProCinema 60 for $799. In a more ambitious mood, DefTech also showed the mythos ST SuperTower ($1799/each) with a built-in powered SuperCube subwoofer. New in-ceiling and in-wall speakers were also announced.
Cambridge SoundWorks attempts to out-Tivoli Tivoli with a traditional AM/FM radio (none o' yer fancy digital stuff) including a six-in-one tuning dial (that is, it moves faster than your hand). It costs $120. Analog chic? Priceless.
HK's CP 55 home theater package consists of the AVR 146 receiver ($349 when bought separately) with the DVD 38 player and a lovely 5.1-channel sat/sub set in gloss black. The price is $1199 and it's shipping soon. Definitely a contender.