By Terry Currier
The 2004 CES (Consumer Electronic Show) ran January 8-11 in
Las Vegas, Nevada. Did I get to see everything there, no. Even going for three
days, I could not see everything. At least I could not see and get information
on everything. Here are some of the things I found interesting. This is my fifth part of a series. Covered
Home Theater in a Box - that being DVD or video players with a set of speakers for a theater effect at home. You will also find a couple of special units that allow the user to setup a network using computer, TV, and stereo.
Portable Media Centers - take your movies with you
USB TV - units that hook up from the computer to record TV
To see information about Computers click here for Storage for Digital Cameras for DVDs /Portable players/home use (TV recording)/a few unique recorders for Portable Media/TV/USB TV/Speakers for Video Projectors
Home Theater in a Box
What if you could get everything connected, your television, your stereo, and computer? The Actiontec Wireless Digital Media Player will do that. The size of a VCR, it lets users display digital home movies and snapshots directly on their TV, listen to MP3 files and Internet radio on the stereo, or surf the Internet using the TV as their monitor. Setup by connecting the TV and stereo to the Actiontec player. Remember it is wireless so it does not have to be directly hooked to the computer. It ships with a 11 Mbps wireless card for the PC. With the setup users can then show anything from the computer directly onto the big screen TV, and have sound coming from their stereo. It supports MP3, AC3, AAC, WAV, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis audio formats. Image formats supported include; JPEG, GIF, animated GIF, TIF, BMP, and PNG. Digital audio is 18-bit stereo and S/PDF. Video supports are for MPEG 1/2/4, DIVX, Xivd, RMP4. Announced during the CES show was an new unit with a built-in media card reader. Users can insert any CompactFlash Type I or Type II, IBM Microdrive, MS Pro, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, MultiMedia or Secure Digital card into the machine, and the contents will play on the designated TV or stereo.
The Apex Digital HT-150 and HT-180 have 5 surround speakers plus a passive subwoofer, and class T amplifier. Both have 250 Watts total system power, and play DVD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3. One A/V inputs, Outputs are component, composite, and S-Video. The HT-180 has extra features such as a Karaoke ability (Microphones not included), digital synthesized AM/FM tuner, two A/V inputs outputs include a RCA, optical and coaxial digital.
The DVA-8700 Mini DVD Home Theater System features a DVD receiver and a speaker system with five 25-watt satellite speakers and a 75-watt subwoofer. Additional features include: 5.1 channel output, component video output, S-video output, optical/coaxial digital output, audio auxiliary input, 20-station AM/FM memory presets and a multifunction remote control. The SRP is $149. Plays DVD/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/MP3/Picture CD Discs. Video system output to PAL and NTSC.
The Norcent DP 1700 has full compatible with DVD, CD, CDR, CD-RW, MP3. Comes with built-in Dolby Digital decoding 5.1 channel output, S-Video/CVBS/YUV, parental lock-out function, multi-angle play, and AM/FM function. Their AP100 is compatible with Kodak CD Picture, DVD, CD, VCD, SVCD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3 disc. It has five10W speakers and a 30W subwoofer. Built-in DTS dual decoder with 5.1 Channel audio output. Also Coaxial, Optical output, YUV(Y,Cb,Cr), and RGB output (SCART output) is optional. PAL/NTSC playback with support for discs with up to 8 sound tracks and up to 32 subtitles. Parental lock function, and screen aspect ratio of 4:3 and 16:9. If you have the nerve there are two microphone jacks for karaoke.
Equipped with PC-link software, the Streamium MX6000i allows users to stream movies, pictures and music from the hard disks of networked PCs. It provides easy access to a consumer’s library of MP3 audio, JPEG images and MPEG video. Consumers have the choice of connecting the broadband services to either a wireless network router or a wired Ethernet. Six integrated 75-watt audio amplifiers drive the stereo speakers, the matching rear speakers, a center speaker and two subwoofers built into the rear speaker columns. Available in the first quarter of 2004 and will retail for $799. The MX5600 offers 600W of balanced power and Twin Sub™ bass pipes integrated in the front speaker columns. The integrated five-disc changer plays practically any format, including DVD, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R/ -RW, CD, MP3-CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3s. The system also features a media slot (PCMCIA) for a PC card adaptor that allows users to share JPEG photos on their TV. Available now and has a suggested retail price of $499.
Pixa introduced a wireless rewritable DVD home theater system, giving consumers a complete home theater in a box (HTiB) with an integrated rear 2.4G wireless speaker kit for easy installation as well as DVD+RW support for repeated recording on the same disc. The package includes a DVD +R/+RW recorder/receiver with a 5.1-channel, 200-watt Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound system consisting of wireless rear speakers mounted on stands, front and center speakers, and a subwoofer. It features DVD-Audio for a full-range multi-channel sound field, progressive scan, one-touch recording, and a front DV (IEEE 1394) input for connection to a digital camcorder. It will play DVD videos, CDs, SVCDs, VCDs, JPEGs, MP3s, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVD+Rs and DVD+RWs. You can also listen to FM radio via a built-in FM digital tuner capable of saving up to 20 FM stations. Available immediately and carries an MSRP of $499.
Look Ma not wires, its the Samsung HT-DB390 wireless Home Theater System. There is a 480p DVD player with 400 Watts of total audio power using a wireless rear amplifier (Bluetooth Wireless Technology) SWA-1000 and rear speakers. This eliminates distracting wires that normally run the length of a room. With this consumers get everything needed in a single package, a DVD, CD Audio, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-MP3, MP3, and AM/FM experience. The HT-DB390 includes Optical Digital In, Dolby Digital, Pro Logic II and DTS, SDSM (Auto Sound Calibration, LSM, V-H/P, Super 5.1 from standard two channel stereo), MP3, WMA compatibility, and can play a JPEG slide show. MSRP of $500 available in Q1, 2004.
At 600 watts output you will hear the power of the Sharp HT-AT3000DV. A six speaker package creates surround sound home theater. Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic2 fully complements the 5.1 surround sound decoding system. Compatible formats include DVD, DVD-R/RW, Audio CD, CD-R/RW, MP3. AM/FM Tuner with 30 Presets allows you to tune in your favorite radio stations and program them with the touch of a button.
Video Without Boundaries www.vwbinc.com
Using a VIA C3-2 Processor at 1 Ghz Video Without Boundaries created the MediaReady™ 4000. Similar in size to a standard DVD player, it does just about everything. It can play MP3/CD/DVD/MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4. It can handle resolutions up to 1024x768 through NTSC or PAL TV. As you can tell from looking at the back of the unit it has a lot of connections for whatever you want to do. There are; Video - Composite and S-Video (In/Out), Ethernet, USB 2.0, 1394 Firewire, Parallel and serial ports, PCMCIA, Smart Card, Microphone, VGA port. You can in fact do your web surfing and check your email with the unit. There is a built-in mouse wireless keyboard, mouse, and a 40Gb hard drive. Priced at about $400.
Portable Media Centers
The Archos Video AV300 Series Video Recorder / Player can record and play back movies with stereo MP3 audio. It has a high-resolution 3.8-inch color LCD screen. Users can record their favorite video content direct from any video source, TV, or VCR. Once the video is saved, users can play back the video either on the built-in color display, or on any TV or PC. The AV380 has a 80Gb hard drive, users can record and store up to 50 full-length movies (80 hours of video) in MPEG-4 format. They also have a AV320 (20Gb), and a AV340 (40Gb). Connection is via USB 2.0, you can even use it as an additional hard drive. Available accessories include a 3.3 megapixel digital camcorder and camera with zoom lens, FM radio with remote control, and a selection of memory input card readers for importing photos directly in.
HandHeld Entertainment www.zvue.com
HandHeld Entertainment’s ZVUE! ship standard with the HHe codec (HandHeld’s proprietary and secure video format), and video manager software. With it you can play MP3, look at JPEG pictures and watch MPEG-4 videos. It has a 2.5-inch 24-bit full-color screen. The whole thing is about the size of a deck of playing cards, and cost is set at $99. Media slot for SD cards.
Norcent has three models: MC1820H with a 1.8” color TFT panel and 20GB hard disk drive; MC3520H with a 3.5” color TFT panel and 20GB HDD; and MC5040H with a 5” color TFT panel and 40GB HDD. Additionally, the devices use Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers, based on the Windows CE.NET operating system. This includes Windows Media® 9 technologies such as the latest bundled and optimized multimedia codecs including Windows Media Audio 9, Windows Media Video 9, and MP3; extensive built-in driver support, including USB 2.0. Plays video at 15fps.
Epson America had big crowds around its booth. The reason? They were showing two HDTV LCD projection televisions - the Epson Livingstation LS47P1 and Epson Livingstation LS57P1. First off they were big screens (47 and 57 inches), and they had really good quality. It has 1280 x 720 native resolution and a 16:9 native aspect ratio. Yet only 14.9 inches deep for the 47-inch model and 16.3 inches deep for the 57-inch model. You can connect numerous devices to it including DVI based set-top boxes, progressive scan DVD players, HDTV tuners, camcorders, video games, and even PCs. Its has picture-on-picture ability. There is also a "Freeze Image" feature that allows users to freeze video, live TV, or other digital images and then print them from the built-in dye-sub printer. A nice feature is the projection lamp can be replaced by the user from the front. Shipping in March 2004, the estimated retail prices for the 47- and 57-inch models are $3,499 and $3,999, respectively. It also comes with a CD-RW burner. Slots for popular memory cards include SD memory card/MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Compact Flash and SmartMedia. So you can quickly and easily view the digital photos. From there print borderless 4"x6", or save to the CD drive.
The 55HDM71 is Hitachi’s 55-inch 16:9 HDTV Monitor. To achieve the deepest blacks, the new plasma monitor utilizes a high contrast black rib structure designed to deliver a higher "picture to non-picture ratio" to produce smooth seamless images. It offers native 1,366 x 768 display resolution (WXGA). Through Hitachi's VirtualHD™ 1080p digital video processor, it up-converts all incoming non-native signal sources up to 1,080 progressive before conversion to the native 768 panel display. Measuring less than 4-inches thin, it can be installed with an optional swivel table stand or wall-mount bracket. Users can individually adjust and save picture settings depending on personal preference or the level of ambient light in the room. Connectivity options including a DVI-HDTV input, multiple component video inputs, multiple RGB analog inputs and S-video/composite inputs. Additional features include split screen, four-color temperature memory, black and white film color temperature, four-step black enhancement, digital 4MB 3D Y/C comb filter, and optional side mountable speakers.
Previewed the InFocus ScreenPlay™ 61-inch microdisplay television. This is a ultra-thin, rear projection displays, which is light and thin enough to hang on a wall, while generating a superior image quality relative to other thin television options. It uses Texas Instruments’ DLP™ technology. Weighs in at 130 pounds, and available around the 4th quarter 2004. I’m thinking of buying one and charging my neighbors a drive-in movie fee to watch.
Their new DTV-17 inch LCD panel is going to have a suggested retail price of $800. The new DTV-23 inch is $1500 with a DVD slot on the side, available March. They expect to have a DTV-30 inch out later the SRP will be $3000. Designed for use as a PC monitor, television and/or DVD player, they have a viewing angle of nearly 180 degrees. Additional features include: a built-in stereo audio amplifier with two speakers, slot load DVD, DVI input, VGA input, PC audio input, S-video and tow-channel audio inputs, AV input/output, headphone jack, Memory Stick reader, USB port and a multifunction remote control. Reads DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, Kodak Picture CD, MP3, and VCD.
The PDP-4201M is a 42-inch wide full color plasma display module with a resolution of 852(H) 480(V) pixels. The display monitor includes a Display Panel, EMI filter, Panel driving electronics, Logic controller, Power supply and Image Scalar. Widescreen aspect ratio(16:9). Capable of showing 16.77 million colors. Resolution of SXGA 1280 X 1024 pixels, contrast ratio(in dark room) is 600:1. Video system can show PAL / NTSC with a viewing angle of over 160 degrees. It has two 2 W speakers with Treble/Bass control. Component video input; one(YCbCr), one HD(Y,Pb,Pr), one S-video input, one VGA input. Audio input; 3 PC,VIDEO/SVIDEO,DVD/DTV.
Philips showcased their new high definition Ambient Light LCD and plasma televisions. Ambilight technology sensors determine how much light is in the room and controls the TV light output accordingly. So, a dark room will trigger less light whereas a bright room will cause more light output. This dramatically reduces glare and reflections on the television screen by screening light sources that strike the front of the set. The light also reduces eyestrain thus providing a more relaxing viewing experience for consumers. The sets are high-definition televisions that feature the new PixelPlus™ 2 Digital Natural Motion technology which improves the color reproduction, and increases the resolution and picture depth up to 30 percent. Their sizes go from 32, 37, 42-inch diagonal LCD FlatTV line up to the 50-inch plasma FlatTV models.
For those that like big and easy along comes the Samsung HCP4363W. The TV has a built-in DVD/CD player and surround sound system including front left and right, plus center channel and subwoofer. Even the CD rear left/rear right rear speakers are simulated utilizing a Samsung-developed Rear Reflector System. This is a 43" Widescreen Rear Projection HDTV Monitor TV which includes a built-in DVD Player and 5.1 channel sound system. The video projection system includes ‘DNIe™,’ Samsung's Proprietary Picture Enhancement. The audio system features Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic II, and DTS Total Sound with an output of 180Watts. It will retail for $2000 by the end of May 2004. If you want a little smaller (say what?) look at the LTN1535 a 15" LCD TV TV/Video with 1024 (H) x 768 (V) pixel resolution. The contrast ratio is 400:1, with 450 cd/m2 brightness. NTSC Tuner is built-in. Viewing angle is 150? (H) / 120?, 25 ms response time. Comes with built-in side speakers with 3 watts audio power.
ViewSonic launched their large-screen DLP™ rear projection TVs including the ViewSonic NextVision N3000w 30" HD LCD TV. The ultra-thin, flat panel screen has a true 1280x768 resolution. One of the first of its kind to offer HDCP (high-definition content protection) capability. Dual TV tuners give you full picture-in-picture (PIP) capability. There are connections for all your multimedia components including integrated DVI-HDCP. Four built-in stereo speakers deliver 20 watts of stereo sound to your TV and movie choices. Stereo connections also allow you to enjoy stereo audio through your sound system. Available in the second quarter of 2004. Their VPW505 is a 50" plasma TV with a built-in TV tuner that delivers beautiful images from any TV signal, including HDTV. Their XtremeView® ultra-wide viewing angles ensure your entire audience has a great seat. The flat screen eliminates image distortion and reflection for a clear picture at virtually any angle.
ADS Tech www.adstech.com
ADS Tech showed its new USB Instant TV. With the device, consumers can use their desktop PC or laptop to watch TV with time-shifting capabilities. Users with a CD or DVD-recordable device also can burn their favorite TV shows to discs for viewing at their convenience. Connects to any Windows® PC equipped with a USB 2.0 port and includes the Ulead Video@Home TV application, an easy-to-use TV viewing and recording application that includes an electronic program guide and the ability to schedule unattended broadcast recordings automatically. ESP is US$100. The software also includes editing tools that allow users to add new shows to rewritable discs and to create interactive videos by adding scene and chapter menus. When CD-RW or DVD+/-RW discs are used, the captured video can be recorded directly to disc for immediate playback.
AVerMedia was showing two products to help users show and capture TV onto their PCs. TVBox 9 is an external TV device turning any LCD or other VGA-compatible monitor or projector into a TV/multimedia center with plug-and-play convenience, without having to connect it to a PC. Comes with a remote control, it can show in full-screen 1280 x 1024 SXGA format, DVD/VCD and video game use as well. Parental control feature included, closed captioning, picture-in-picture see through, 3:2 pull down, 13 channel preview and progressive scanning. UltraTV USB 300 is an external TV tuner using USB 2.0 technology. It turns any PC into a personal TV/PVR. It is only 3.6” x 3.48” x 0.69”, and offers a full range of Personal Video Recorder (PVR) features including instant replay, recording scheduler, live TV/camcorder/VHS video capture and more. Video editing and real-time DVD/CD burner software are included.
Altec Lansing www.alteclansing.com
The CS21 is versatile enough to support CD and MP3 players as well as PCs and home entertainment systems. High-fidelity drivers and state-of-the-art equalization circuitry shape the audio output with total accuracy. A 2.1 audio package that features a pair of two-way, ported satellite speakers and a front-firing, long-throw subwoofer. Neodymium/Mylar tweeters, housed in each shielded satellite, produce succinct highs that complement the midrange drivers. In the combination amplifier/woofer cabinet, a 6.5” low-frequency driver with ferrite magnet creates low frequencies using a ported vent to optimize its output. Total Sound Pressure Level (SPL) is 108 dB. MSRP pricing for the system is $249. Their FX6021 feature exclusive InConcert™ technology. Encased in tower-format satellites comprised of two slender, 1-inch thin tower satellites and a ported subwoofer. Each one houses six shielded, full-range neodymium micro drivers set apart at precise, logarithmically-calculated distances. Three separate amplifiers are also incorporated, each powering one pair of drivers per satellite. Different frequencies of sound are directed to a different pair of drivers. This, combined with the critical distance between each driver, creates the extraordinary InConcert™ effect. Adding resounding, full-throated bass is the 6.5” subwoofer, housed in a low-resonance wooden cabinet. Delivers a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) of 105 dB. MSRP priced at $299. The VS3151 is a 5.1 audio system with four desktop satellites, full-range center speaker, and 5.25” subwoofer. The Sound Pressure Level (SPL) rating is 103 dB, it includes a dual-mode (6-channel surround or 2/4 channel stereo) selector and convenient, feature-rich control pod. MSRP pricing is $100.
While not cheap this is a well designed and crafted set. European cherry hardwood veneer finish with champagne accents the 3-piece Satellite-Subwoofer System. The "Aosis" Direct Drive Stick design was developed by JVC Japan. It’s cylindrical enclosure minimizes diffraction, making it position-free, 360° sound dispersion. Magnetically shielded for trouble free placement next to most TVs and monitors. Ultra-high frequency response out to over 50 kHz, twice that of typical speaker designs. Includes (2) sets of dual-tiered feet for tilting in certain applications and a 6.6" long-throw woofer driver. Bottom-firing, bass reflex design with special port design. Custom crossover for seamless satellite/subwoofer integration. Independent amplification stages for satellite and subwoofer. High current/high slew rate, 60W mono Subwoofer Amplifier. Tiptoe footprint design for maximum isolation and coupling.
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