January 16, 2007 — Article
CES Day Three – Sweeping round the hotels
Although the bulk of the Consumer Electronics Show 2007 is held in the massive Las Vegas Convention Centre and the almost as massive Venetian/Sands Expo complex. That’s still not enough. There are companies dotted all around the city, taking hotel rooms up and down the strip. But first, a quick trip back to the main Convention Centre, to catch up with Meridian Audio’s collection of new products.
The company’s new G95 one-box AV system (which includes a slot-loading DVD player, 5 x 170W digital amps and processing) would have been a big issue with any other company, as would the new range of C-series custom install electronics. But, this is Meridian and exceptional is expected. But, it was the MV-D1 iPod HD Video Dock that made the big impression. This up-coming device doesn’t just act as a dock, it can upscale iPod video pictures to 1080p standard and comes with an HDMI input and switcher. Expected to cost around $400 when launched in a few months, this had jaws dropping in all who saw it.
But, Wednesday was the day of hotel exhibits for CineNow!, so over to KEF, with its plethora of new products. This included three new Reference Series speakers, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, with the excellent Reference 205/2 at $11,000 sounding sublime. KEF’s new wireless loudspeaker solution includes 50W remote amplifiers and complete speaker solutions. But these are designed to work without interference from mobile phones or anything else. Then, there’s the new KHT-based iPod dock system ,which sounds remarkably good, especially with the bigger egg speakers.
Nearby, YBA showed off it’s new YS201 Music Centre, to go alongside its 7-channel AV receiver and DVD player, while NXT was highlighting new applications of the high-tech speaker solution. The most exciting is the Altec Lancing $600 PT-7031 “Voice of the Theatre” loudspeaker bar, featuring three NXT balanced radiator drivers and a fine rival for Yamaha and Philips competition.
Two of the big names in traditional high end hi-fi – Krell and Wilson Audio – were both showing new products. Krell had new home cinema amplifier products on display and Wilson the latest modular version of its Watch Dog subwoofer. Both of these systems cost as much as a small car.
D&M Holdings, the parent company behind Denon, Marantz and Boston Acoustics were showing products from all brands. Denon’s new products were limited to the $499 DVM-2845CI DVD multiplayer, but Denon Electronics, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality home entertainment components, is reaffirming its position as a technology leader by showcasing a variety of next-generation surround sound technologies at Dealer Meetings in Las Vegas, as well as products that offer advanced connectivity options and lifestyle-enhancing home entertainment applications. In addition to a wide range of A/V receivers and DVD players that feature the CI designation (for Custom Integration), the company’s “Tech Showcase 2007” will demonstrate for dealers the high-definition audio formats from Dolby & DTS that will be incorporated in Denon’s 2007 A/V receiver line, available later this year.
Marantz America, a world leader in advanced home entertainment products, is expanding its line of plasma display monitors with the introduction at CES 2007 of three high-performance widescreen HDTV models, including the 60-inch PD6001 (SRP:$ 10,499), 50-inch PD5001 (SRP:$5,999) and the 42-inch PD4201 (SRP:$4,499). The three new plasma displays are scheduled to be available later this month. The company also showed off a full line of high-performance DVD players in Las Vegas, including a new high-performance and custom installation-friendly player, the DV6001 (SRP: $549.99). In addition, the company is showcasing its recently introduced VC6001, a 5-disc universal DVD changer (SRP: $699.99) and DV4001 DVD player (SRP: $329.99).
Meanwhile, Boston Acoustics announced a variety of new application-specific products that provide advanced audio solutions for all types of environments, both indoor and outdoor at CES 2007. The new products are scheduled for launch in Spring 2007. Notably, the company will enter the “Rock Speaker” category with three models that join the Boston Acoustics® Voyager® product line of high performance outdoor loudspeakers. Boston Acoustics is announcing its first line of in-ceiling speakers with a focus on commercial applications, as well as a new series of “Back Boxes” that will be Fire Rated.
Arcam’s biggest product launch in some time includes a $2,000 Solo Movie 5.1, which follows on the great success of the stereo Solo but brings multichannel and DVD to the party. This is joined by the $3,000 MS250 MusicFile Server, a 400GB hard disk-based unit, and two new DiVA products; the DV137 player and AVR280 AV receiver, which replace existing products in the Arcam range.
In the US, the company that imports Focal loudspeakers also brings in Dreamvision projectors. Focal was showing its new Electra 1037 Be floorstanding loudspeaker, and Dreamvision was playing its new Dream Bee, a 1080p, three chip D-ILA projector. But this pales compared to Sim2’s $50,000 HT5000 1080p projector complete with full anamorphic lens system. Sim2 was also showing more down-to-earth products, like the 1080p D80 and the more exotic, ever popular C3X range.
There was more, much more. There was even a whole other show, T.H.E. Show, showing the extreme end of the specialty hi-fi market. But this is Vegas, baby…