Hey folks, Valkor here after Day two of CES. We hit up a few of the big companies and some small ones. From the big companies we have a few big names and the small ones a couple of new players to the game with some interesting gadgets. It was an easy day, but day 3 is Sands and hopefully we will pull out something new and exciting.
To me Dolby is still number one when it comes to sound quality and it showed with their selection which was on hand today. Speakers for movies, gaming and what not, sure. Nothing really… EXCEPT now it looks like Dolby will be breaking into the video field with their new HDR technology. HDR uses blacklight technology incorporated into LCDs. What HDR does is it bumps up the contrast making the brights bright and the darks really dark. There was a side by side comparison of the technology, but it appeared to be an older model LCD for the before picture as some of the newer sets looks a lot brighter that. They chose some primo films to show off the technology. Say what you will about Ghost Rider, it was visually impressive and it looked outstanding with Dolby’s HDR. I mean the flames that engulfed Nicholas Cage’s head and around the cycle would make your jaw drop.
The folks at Creative didn’t have much new to show, but what was on hand was worth checking out. First up is the X Dock HD, which is an IPOD dock that plugs into your television or media receiver and allows you to play the videos stored on your IPOD, for play on your big screen. What it also does is upscales the video and sound giving you the true HD experience. The dock also has a line out so you can plug in a different type of MP3 player whether it be from Creative, Samsung, Philips, or some other company. But the sole purpose of the X Dock is to work with the IPOD, because there has been talks that Steve Jobs will make a major announcement at MacWorld concerning the possibility of being able to download movies from the Itunes store. The X Dock won’t see the light of day until spring so we’ll keep you guys posted as more develops. Also on hand, from Creative, was the Aurvana X-Fi headphones with noise canceling. I’ve used my share of noise canceling headphones and Creative has a pretty impressive pair. Not only does it drown out all kinds of background noise, but it has the power of X-FI so that your music, movies, and gaming will sound their best. Just a few cons, which is not limited to this model but most kinds of noise canceling headphones: when you turn of the noise canceling, everything sounds muted. The same can be said for Aurvana. Also there is an almost 3 second delay when you switch from no noise canceling to noise canceling. I guess these are sort of nit-pick as they do blow away the Bose Quiet Comfort 3s I tested out [HERE].
Always a favorite, I enjoyed stopping by Altec’s booth though not much was shown. They did have some cool headphones such as the UHP405 with 3D SRS WOW Technology, which I know to be totally immersive (i.e Samsung’s I85 PMP digicam has it). I know for music the technology kicks ass, I can’t to see how it works for gaming. Altec has some SoundBar action too. First is the FX3020 PC SoundBar, which will bring out the best in your PC gaming, music and movie needs. Next is the PT8051, is two speakers one for the front and the rear connects wirelessly through 2.4 ghz and giving you some dolby 5.1 lovin without all the hassle of wires running everywhere. Or if you just want a single then give the PT7031 a try, with its virtual surround sound and will work seamlessly with your flat panel TV.
Continuing in the audio department, we mustn’t leave out the folks at Sennheiser and their slew of products that can tackle gaming, films and music with flair. First is the PC350 gaming headphones, which come equipped with a noise cancelling mic that will filter out surrounding noise. With the circumaural closed-type design, your going to be so immersed in your game, you’d swear you were in it. And as much as I love to play Warcraft, I definitely need these headphones. Next is the HD 555 headphones, which have a great design, has the open air speakers like the PC166, and also utilizes Sennheiser’s Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) “which enables ideal sound channeling for a new kind of listening experience” (taken from the press release). Finally and I’m saving the best for last, you have the MXW1 wireless headphones. These babies will work with most media players with its separate receiver, the MXW1 uses a new kind of 2.4ghz technology that delivers optimal sound and less battery resources. I haven’t truly delved into the wireless world, but with the technology always getting better, now is the time.
Another company with a wide range of entertainment products, which includes digital cams and media players, Xias looks to be the company to contend with on 2008. First in their line up are the digital cams, specifically the DCS-1260 12 MP digicams. First off let me say design wise, I love it. It’s sleek and definitely the sexiest design I’ve ever seen. The 1260 has a 3” LCD screen and captures some serious hi-res pics. Just as sexy Xias has the PV-4022 MP3 player. Plays all your MP3’s, AVI (MPEG 2) and WMV (no divx, UGH). Finally we have the HDVR-501 HI-Def camcorder. This is a quick cam that takes about 1 hour of film from 5MP up to 8MP. It has a 3X optical, 4X digital zoom, 2.5” LCD screen, and also does photos. The rising star with the sexy look will soon grace the pages of TOV, but if you want an even sexier look at Xias, check out their hotties over in PerfectView.
Digital picture frames should be the next purchase on everyone’s agenda this year. It’s a great way to show off your digital pics. Plus if your really innovative, since most digiframes have video capabilities, you can do a Harry Potter, wave at everyone within the pic type show. Smartparts has you covered in that department and even one ups you with their 8” digiframe that allows you to print the pics on the fly. That way if Grandma comes over for a visit and sees a new pic of, say your new baby in the slide show, you can print out a pic so she can take it with her. The digiframe comes with ink and paper cartridge included so you only need to buy new cartridges then having to worry about ink and paper separately. Finally is the impressive, world’s largest, 32” digiframe for showing off those really impressive pics as well as hi-res artwork. So you can show off a Picasso or little jimmy’s picture of a house.
AAhhhh can’t go to CES without messing around with the big guys over at Samsung. Sure they have a slew of great looking LCD TV’s, Blu-ray, and even Dual players for those who still have a pack of HD-DVD’s. But believe it or not my personal favorites go out to the NV24 10.2 MP HD digicams This baby can shoot video at 720P, afterwards you can hook it up to your HI-Def TV and watch your vids in all their HD glory. It features DRIM engine, touch interface famous with the NV line, image stabilizer and sadly it still has that pop up flash. Next is the Hyper 3 channel surround sound Speaker Bar. Has audio upscaling, DVD player, HDMI for video upscaling, and Bluetooth technology. Look for more on the NV24 when I return back to Vegas to attend the PMA show.
But it didn’t end there. Thanks to the folks at PC Magazine, I was able to have a fucking ball at their 25th anniversary party. There was music, drinks, food, and prizes. But the end all be all was yours truly getting jiggy on the table (Yea I couldn't believe I did it either, but it was mad fun). Thanks much PC Mag. So ends day 2 of my CES coverage. Day 3 is Sands day so look forward to some new and innovative products.