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CES 2012-Full Coverage

ARTICLE INDEX

Robert Kozel Show Coverage

Final Thoughts:

CES 2012 has come to a close and it is really good to be home. I have uploaded my coverage from Wednesday and Thursday and I also wanted to share some final thoughts.

The show seemed to be a big hit based on the enormous crowd. From an audio/video perspective, the new innovation really seemed to be in the display technology. I saw many examples of 4K displays and the new OLED technology looks very promising. By far the most impressive display was the Crystal LED television from Sony. The picture was stunning and I really hope this comes to market very soon. We still saw a lot of 3D, but it's clear that 3D isn't quite the hit that was hoped for. 

On the audio side of things, it's pretty amazing that personal audio has become such a popular theme. From companies like Bryston, Cary Audio Design, and HiFiMAN developing dedicated audiophile quality headphone amplifiers, to all the companies offering headphones, it's clear that there is serious interest in a better quality listening experience. While some of the headphones appeared more gimmicky than others, there were definitely many high quality products to choose from. I should also mention that the Dirac Live Digital Room Correction system was the most interesting home theater technology that I saw at the show.

The theme of connected devices was present everywhere. From the concept of smart televisions to personal fitness devices that shared information with apps on your phone, watch or television, it's clear that the industry wants all these devices to play together. Time will tell how quickly this technology is adopted and certainly not all of these solutions will have long term staying power. 

That's it for my coverage of CES 2012. I hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday - 1/12/12 - CES 2012 Day 3

Thursday was my last day covering the show and I headed off to the convention center for a look at all the products on display. I couldn't cover all the halls in one day, so I focused on the major players in the Central and South Halls. The LVCC was bustling with activity as I expected.

Just inside the entrance was a display for Ford boasting electrified vehicles with up to 100 plus miles per gallon. 

While this may look like an artist's portrait studio, it is actually a demonstration for the Samsung Galaxy Note. The product is both a phone and a tablet and has amazing stylus technology which allows the device's stylus to be used like a pencil. 

Look at the caricature that the artist was able to draw with this small handheld.

Just beside their massive 3D theater display, Panasonic was showing off a solar powered vehicle. This wouldn't work for a morning commute just yet, but the technology is pretty amazing.

While we have all seen plenty of 3D televisions, how about a 3D picture? This is technology from CASIO called digital painting. Using just one regular photo, CASIO is able to render a three dimensional "Relief Transformation". I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this in the future.

Remember how this booth looked on Monday evening after the press conference?

It was now complete and filled with people.

The Samsung Super OLED displays were stunning and a CES 2012 Best Innovations Awards honoree.

The Super OLED displays were incredibly thin.

As you can imagine, Canon and Nikon were showing their products at the show. I had no idea that a Canon image stabilizer lens contained so many parts.

Sony had Kellie Pickler stop by to sign autographs in their booth.

This was my most favorite product of the show. It's the Sony Crystal LED display. This 55" marvel uses three distinct red, green and blue LEDs per pixel. The picture was the best I've ever seen in a display. It's still considered a prototype, but Sony will have these flying off the shelves if they can master the fabrication process.

If you had any doubts about the impact of Samsung on the consumer electronics industry, then just check out the incredible crowd at their massive booth. 

Toshiba was getting in on the 4K display bandwagon. The 4K displays were certainly beautiful. Now if we only had lots of native content.

ESPN was setup to broadcast a boxing match in 3D. I didn't have time to wait for the fight and I didn't want to deal with this crowd.

Bluetooth low energy devices made their appearance. Bluetooth low energy devices are part of the Bluetooth 4.0 specification and will allow devices to operate for months or even years on tiny coin-cell batteries. Casio was demonstrating the technology with an entire line of Bluetooth smart watches. The new devices will allow for integrations with other devices. For example, the watch can warn you if you left your cell phone behind or synchronize with your favorite bicycle or workout equipment to help you monitor your workout.

LG was boasting the world's largest 84" ultra-definition 3D TV.

I was surprised to see so many manufacturers showing off headphones and earbuds.

These headphones from Parrot offer the ability to control the volume just by touching the outside of the ear piece.

Skullcandy was displaying a wide array of headphone styles and colors.

The "Street by 50" headphones from SMS Audio were on display. Rapper 50 Cent was also on hand to sign autographs.

Soul headphones designed by Ludacris were on display.

Audio Technica was displaying an entire lineup of audiophile headphones.

Audio Technica was also showing their solid bass headphones. Bass enhancement in headphones was definitely a theme.

Even more headphones!

Earthquake was showing their new line of edgeless in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.

Gibson Pro Audio purchased the Stanton Group and was displaying this impressive DJ system.

Several lucky musicians escaped the CES crowds and enjoyed some private listening sessions on the Gibson guitars.

The Microsoft booth was packed with people. It is hard to believe that this will be the last year that Microsoft will have space at CES. I hope they aren't making a mistake by not attending next year.

That's it for my highlights from the LVCC. Keep reading for more coverage from the Venetian.

Wednesday - 1/11/12 - CES 2012 Day 2

Day 2 began with a small press conference hosted by HiFiMAN. While everyone enjoyed breakfast, two musicians entertained us with beautiful violin and piano music. The press conference was hosted by Dr. Fang Bian who founded HiFiMAN in 2007. 

Dr. Bian explained that he grew up with the Sony Walkman portable music players and always wanted to develop a portable music player that delivered high fidelity. With that goal in mind, he started HiFiMAN and began selling high quality headphones and personal audio products. At CES, HiFiMAN introduced the HM-601 Slim portable music player. The player comes with 8 GB of internal storage and can be expanded to 32 GB with an external SD card. Along with the ability to play high resolution FLAC files, the HM-601 has a high/low gain switch so that it is able to power both high efficiency in-ear monitors as well as most full-size headphones.

HiFiMAN also introduced their HE-400 planar magnetic headphones which have a sensitivity rated at 92.5 dB so they can easily be driven by portable devices such as your favorite iDevice. HiFiMAN gave everyone in attendance a sample pair of the HE-400 headphones along with an HM-601 player. Each player was loaded with a selection of music from HD Tracks. We all enjoyed taking a break from CES as we listened to the warm, detailed sounds coming from these products. The sound quality was excellent and it was such a great way to start the day.

HiFiMAN also introduced their new EF-6 reference headphone amplifier. The EF-6 delivers 5 watts of Class A amplification which should be more than enough to power any headphones. The EF-6 will be available in January for approximately $1,500. The blue headphones on top of the EF-6 are the HE-400.

My next stop was over to the Residence Inn across from the convention center to see what was new from Definitive Technology. Many manufacturers take this approach to stake out quieter and less stressful surroundings in the hotels near the convention center. The first demo was a prototype active soundbar system which effectively replaces the need for a receiver and multiple speakers. In this demo, the soundbar under the television was connected directly to an Oppo Digital Blu-ray player. The electronics in the soundbar decode the high resolution bit-stream coming from the player and apply SRS processing to recreate a three-dimensional surround field using just the drivers in the sound bar. Bass was handled by the small subwoofer on the bottom right under the television. The demo sounded great. The product should be available later this year and will certainly appeal to people who want a simplified installation without the complexity of a receiver.

Definitive Technology was also demonstrating the finished versions of the new StudioMonitor bookshelf speakers. The StudioMonitor 65 speakers sounded fantastic.

You see a lot of large limos in Las Vegas, but rarely do you see someone sitting on the roof working on a laptop while the vehicle is moving.

After a slow bus ride thanks to all the CES traffic, I was back at the Venetian. As if CES wasn't big enough already, the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) was located just across the hall at the Venetian conference center this year.  PMA focuses on photo and imaging products.

I took a very quick walk through PMA just to see what they had. It was definitely a photographer's dream haven. I did think these articulated camera mounts were pretty cool.

Some of the 2012 innovation award winners were on display at the Venetian conference center. Here's the Lexicon DD-8 multi-room power amplifier. This won for delivering more power in less space than any other competing products.

Here's the Dune HD Pro which won for high performance home audio.

The Sharp AQUOS 80" television won for the largest LED LCD HDTV currently on the market. This TV is more than twice the screen area of a 55-inch television. I'm sure it will be replaced by a larger panel soon.

This monstrous 92-inch set from Mitsubishi won an innovation award. At $5,999 it was certainly the largest DLP set on display and shows that DLP technology is still alive and well. The television is also 3D capable.

Back at the Venetian Towers, it was time for some more high-end audio and to wait in line for an elevator. 

Here's the beautiful Manley Stingray II stereo integrated amplifier. This retails for about $5,600.

Here's a system featuring a pair of Manley Mahi amplifiers. The Mahi produces 40 watts RMS in ultra-linear mode and around 20 watts in triode mode. The speakers are from Silverline Audio. The small speakers are the Minuet Supreme Plus at $699/pair, the SR17 Supreme at $7,500/pair and the Bolero Supreme at $15,000/pair.

Vinyl was well represented. Here's the Music Hall MMF-11 turntable which lists for $3995.

Here's the Music Hall USB1 for $249.

From left to right, here are the Music Hall MMF-2-2.LE for $499, the MMF-5.1 for $875 and the new MMF-5.1SE for $1095.

This beautiful turntable is from Basis Audio. It's called the Inspiration.

Here's the Kronos turntable from Knonos Audio.

While we sometimes don't see other members of the Secrets team until the evening, I did spot Secret's Dr. John Johnson hanging out with Jeff Talmadge at the NAD suite. 

Here's Dr. Johnson talking with Jeff Talmadge, Mark Stone and Peter Hoagland from NAD.

I stopped by Amplifier Technologies, Inc. and spoke with Jeff Hipps about the new Dirac Live Digital Room Correction system. ATI has entered into a licensing agreement with Dirac Research AB which is located in Uppsala, Sweden. The Dirac Live system reduces the effects of early room reflections and improves the clarity and bass response in the listening room. Jeff shared some of the Dirac user interface and he did a basic demo of the Dirac Live system. The user interface seemed very intuitive and was running on a Windows 7 laptop. Here's a shot of the measurements screen which provides a simple graphical choice for the listening area and then shows where to take measurements. In this case, nine measurements are recommended for the sofa.

The interface actually shows you the impulse response in the time domain. In this picture, the graph from 10 to 27 ms is the response before Dirac and the graph from 27 to 39 ms is the response after Dirac processing.

In spectrum view, the interface shows the average spectrum before and after Dirac processing. The interface allowed for user control of the response curve and even allowed Jeff to select where he wanted various target points to be placed. He even demonstrated the ability to create a notch-filter to eliminate a troublesome frequency that might make an item in the listening room rattle. In this example, the notch filter is at 300 Hz. This was easily the nicest user interface that I've seen for a room correction system.

Jeff ran a small demo of the Dirac system and playback clarity was definitely improved. The Dirac implementation shown at CES was making use of an outboard Dirac system so the processing was going through extra A/D and D/A conversions. When finalized, the Dirac Live system will operate entirely in the digital domain and will be available as an upgrade to the Casablanca III HD in June of 2012. The upgrade will also extend the bandwidth of the Casablanca III HD to 192 kHz and add 12 channels of post-processing. 

Light Harmonic was showing their DaVinci USB DAC which boasts sampling rates up to 384K. Here's a look at the case and the internal aluminum construction. The power, analog and digital circuit boards are all separated into three distinct layers in the DaVinci. 

The DaVinci provides native support for the Mac OS and retails for around $20K. The music playing through the DaVinci sounded fantastic. Now if I could only win big at the casino.

Pass Labs was showing their Xs 150 mono-block amplifiers and the SR-2 speakers. 

These beauties are the P-845 II 60 watt tube mono-blocks from LA Audio.

Krell was showing off the new S-550i integrated amplifier. The S-550i provides 275 watts @ 8 Ohms and 550 watts @ 4 Ohms with both channels driven. It will be $5,000 and should be available in Q2 2012.

Krell was also showing the Phantom III preamplifier. It will have an optional digital module which adds support for USB. It also supports an Ethernet connection for access to local network and internet streaming. It will also be $5,000 and should be available in Q2 2012.

Meridian was showing their beautiful 40th anniversary edition reference digital audio system.

Meridian was also showing the new M6 loudspeakers.

Lamm Industries was showing their ML2.2 single-ended power amplifier.

The Venetian is also the place to see the ultra-expensive, price doesn't matter systems. This system boasts amplifiers from Lamm and Wilson Audio Maxx3 speakers. The total retail price for everything including the turntable and the cables is a staggering $599,000. 

That's it for Wednesday. I was glad to head off to the Venetian for a relaxing dinner. It also gave me a chance to enjoy some of the beauty of the Venetian Hotel.

Tuesday - 1/10/12 - CES 2012 Day 1 - Part 2

I was very happy to run into Jeff Talmadge at the NAD booth. Many of you may know Jeff from his days at Denon. Jeff is enjoying his new role at NAD and he was very excited about the NAD product offerings. Jeff showed me the new T787 Surround Sound Receiver. This is the NAD flagship receiver and has a suggested price of $4000. The T787 is built with a modular design so customers can configure the product to their needs. The T787 supports 7 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, 200 watts per channel of amplification and uses Audyssey MultiEQ XT for room optimization.

NAD was also showing their C446 Digital Media Tuner and their C390DD Direct Digital DAC amplifier. The C446 acts as a digital media player and can access music from your network, USB devices and internet radio. The product supports control interfaces for both Apple and Android devices and supports FLAC, MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC formats. The C3990DD includes a Direct Digital USB module with support for 24/96 for one device.

psb was showing the new Image T2 speakers.

psb had the final version of the M4U 2 headphones on display which they introduced at CEDIA last fall. The M4U 2 can be used in three modes which include Active, Active with noise cancellation and passive without power.

Arcam was showing their new D33 reference DAC which supports USB, AES, coaxial and optical inputs. The D33 is the unit at the top of the Arcam equipment rack.

CES showcases companies from all over the world. Here's a picture of the EMP-2 Blu-ray player from Electrocompaniet in Norway. This player lists for $2,995.

There were many companies featuring two-channel equipment and of course tube products were found everywhere. Here are some beautiful tube amplifiers from Conrad-Johnson.

Simaudio was showing their new 380D digital to analog converter and the new 180 MiND which stands for Moon intelligent Network Device. The 380D has 8 digital inputs including USB. The 380D has an asynchronous jitter elimination system and uses the ESS Sabre-32 DAC chipset in 32-bit Hyperstream mode which converts the signal using 8 DAC's per channel. The 180 MiND is a network streamer which can access music from a computer, network attached storage (NAS), or UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) device on your network. The 180 MiND will be available as s small standalone-device or can be included directly into the 380D DAC.

GoldenEar Technology was showing the new Triton Three Tower speakers which are a smaller version of the outstanding Triton Two Tower speakers which I just reviewed. The Triton Three Towers include an 800 watt ForceField subwoofer in each tower and list at $999.99. The Triton Three Towers are perfect for people will a smaller room that may not need all the power of the Triton Two Towers. 

GoldenEar was also showing off their new SuperCinema 3D Array. The 3D Array is the same form factor as a sound bar and includes three of the GoldenEar High Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeters and six midrange drivers. So what's so special about this you ask? It has the effect of creating a soundstage which makes you think that you are listening to a pair of standalone speakers. This will be a solution for people wanting great sound with just a single speaker under their display. The SuperCinema 3D Array was paired with a ForceField subwoofer and was the only sound bar demonstration that I saw that actually started with music!

Cary Audio Design was showing off their newly designed logo as well as two new headphone amps.

The SH-1 is a solid state headphone amplifier.

The HH-1 is a hybrid tube headphone amplifier.

While not new for CES, the CAD-300-SEI integrated amplifier is simply gorgeous.

The highly regarded CD-303T CD/SACD player/DAC was on display.

So was the Cinema 12 Processor. I hope to be bringing you a review of the Cinema 12 soon.

Here's a look at the Esoteric K-05 CD/SACD player. This lists for $9,900.

TEAC was showing some beautiful equipment. Check out the A1-3000 integrated amplifier.

It's hard to believe that even in 2012 cassette recorders can still be seen at CES. Here's the AD-RW900 CD/Cassette deck from TEAC.

Here's a Class A stereo tube amplifier from Unison Research called Simply Italy.

Cambridge Audio was displaying their Stream Magic 6 Network Music Player along with the Azur 651A Integrated Amplifier.

Here's a look at the Azur 851A Class XD integrated amplifier (2 x 120 watt) and the Azur 851C CD player. The 851C can also be used as a DAC and a digital pre-amp. Its USB input supports 24-bit/192 kHz.

Here's the Azur 615BD 3D blu-ray player and the Azur 651R 7.1 receiver.

Checkout the cool design and finish on these speakers from Focal. These are the Diablo Utopia speakers.

This is a Devialet D-Premier amplifier. Inside this gorgeous piece of polished aluminum are a preamplifier, stereo power amplifier and digital to analog converter. The D-Premier is only about 1.25 inches thick.

Pathos makes some beautiful tube gear and they certainly know how to have fun and put their name into the heat sinks on their equipment.

Christmas Story anyone? It's not a leg-lamp, but a beautiful piece of fragile Pathos gear in a custom crate.

I stopped by the WiSA suite to learn a little bit about the WiSa wireless speaker and audio initiative. WiSa is a Wi-Fi based protocol that makes use of the UNII frequency band in the 5.1 to 5.8 GHz range to transmit digital audio directly to speakers without the need for speaker wires or amplifiers. The protocol supports 24-bit 96 kHz and promises to allow consumers to add any WiSA compliant speakers into a system up to a 7.4 speaker configuration. While the audio may be transmitted wirelessly, the speakers require internal circuitry to process the signals and the speakers do require power. The system does allow for simplified speaker placement in a room as long as power is available.

The WiSA team was offering a look at the actual network utilization taking place in the hotel. Here's the Wi-Fi utilization spectrum consumed by wireless networks in the area. It's pretty crowded in there.

Here's the utilization from WiSa in the unused 5.1 to 5.8 GHz range.

The demo made use of a popular clip from the "House of Flying Daggers." The demo system was a 7.1 surround system from Asperion Audio. For the demo, a PlayStation was connected directly to the Asperion Audio device and the multi-channel audio was then transmitted wirelessly to the speakers without any amplifier or speaker wires. The demo sounded good and was certainly effective at demonstrating the technology. We'll keep an eye on this technology to see how it develops.

I stopped by Onkyo to see their latest technology. They were showcasing the new MP3Tunes Music Cloud Service which allows you to store your MP3 files in the cloud and access them from your Onkyo receiver or portable device.

The new iOnly music system allows you to plug you iPod or iPhone into this standalone system and enjoy music with the built-in speakers.

The iOnly Bass supports all iDevices including the iPad and offers extended bass response.

Android control apps are here to stay.

Finally, picture-in-picture is back! Onkyo was demonstrating the ability to provide live thumbnail images corresponding to each active HDMI input on the receiver. Onkyo is calling this InstaPrevue. Sports lover will be happy once again.

Bryston is celebrating their 50th anniversary! They were showing their new BHA-1 headphone amplifier which is now available.

Bryston was also showing the SP3 processor/preamp which is also shipping.

The interior design of the SP3 is modular. Here's a look at the top section which has the HDMI circuitry.

Removing the top tray reveals all of the discrete channel circuitry.

That wraps up the coverage for day one. I have lots more to share. I apologize for the delay on day two, but there is only so much time and so much to see.

Tuesday - 1/10/12 - CES 2012 Day 1 - Part 1

Today was the first day of the show and I spent my time covering things at the Venetian. The first stop of the day was a breakfast presentation at the McIntosh Laboratory suite. Charlie Randall, the president of McIntosh, gave an overview of some of their upcoming products. McIntosh is introducing a 50th anniversary limited edition of their MC 275 tube amplifier. The MC 275 is a thing of beauty and comes in a gold-toned chassis and offers 75 watts per channel in stereo and 150 watts mono. The tubes startup in a sequential fashion and the illumination turns green when the tubes are ready for operation. 

Here's a shot of the MC 275 with the protective cover over the tubes.

McIntosh was also introducing a new line of multi-channel equipment aimed at the home theater market but at a much lower price point for McIntosh gear.

The first product is a new processor called the MX 121. This processor will retail for around $6K which is half the retail price of the previous MX 150 processor which I reviewed this past year. The MX 121 features Audyssey XT room calibration, support for HDMI 1.4a 3D video switching, and will support Apple i-devices with AirPlay.

The MC8207 is a new 200 watt x 7 amplifier which replaces the traditional McIntosh blue meters with new digital meters. This not only lowers the price point on the amplifier, it also makes it friendlier for people who don't want the blue meters in their theater space or who put the equipment in a closet and don't get to appreciate the cool meters.

McIntosh was also showing their new MVP891 Blu-ray player which supports 3D video and offers quad-balanced D/A convertors available through the balanced audio outputs.

Based on requests from their customers, McIntosh is also introducing a line of interconnects which will simplify the decision of what cables to use with McIntosh equipment.

NAD was showcasing their T187 Surround Sound Tuner and Preamp-Processor as well as their T975 7-channel power amplifier.

NAD was also showing their M50 digital music player, the M52 digital music vault which offers 3 terabytes of storage in a Raid 5 configuration, and the M2 direct digital amplifier.

To control all that digital equipment, NAD has developed an iPad application to simplify management and control of your digital music.

NAD also displayed the new M15HD2 surround processor and the MV15 digital video upgrade module for existing M15HD customers. The M25 seven-channel amplifier offers 160 watts/channel. It may be hard to see in the picture, but the model number on the M15HD2 was still M15HD. I asked if this was still a prototype unit, and I was told that the model number is not officially changing on the equipment case in order to manage costs that would otherwise be incurred due to product recertification if the model number changed.

Paradigm was showing some of their new products in the Paradigm Shift product line. The small adapter is a module which adds wireless blue-tooth connectivity to the A2 bookshelf speakers. 

Here's the complete line of stereo earbuds. The earbuds come in three versions. The E1 is tuned to the Monitor Series 7 loudspeakers. The E2m is tuned to the high-end Studio Series speakers. The E3m is tuned to the high-end Signature Series speakers.

Paradigm was showcasing their new line of in-ceiling speakers. These speakers feature a much smaller bezel and the grills are attached using magnets. The speaker is angled at 30 degrees to allow for much better positioning in the listening room.

The Anthem D2v and AVM 50v were on display. Both models will be 3D ready when released.

Anthem was also showing the M1 Class D single-channel amplifier which offers 1000 watts of amplification.

That's it for tonight. Much more to come tomorrow.

Monday - 1/9/12 - CES 2012 Press Day

After a wonderfully uneventful travel day, I arrived in Las Vegas for CES 2012. Today was CES Press day which featured press conferences from many of the major vendors such as Samsung, Panasonic and Sony just to name a few.

Being my second time at CES, I was prepared for the crowds so I arrived early for the Samsung press conference which started at 2:00 PM. To give you a sense for the crowds, I got in line at 12:45 PM. By the time they started letting us in, here's what the line looked like. The line wrapped both directions down the Venetian conference-center hallway and continued down an adjoining hallway.

We were told the room held roughly 1500 people and thankfully I made it into the room after waiting all that time.  Here's the room just before the presentation from Samsung got started.

CES is an international show and there were press and camera crews from all over the world reporting on the show. This gives you a sense of the camera crews working the Samsung press conference.

As you would expect, the Samsung conference highlighted Samsung success stories such as being the number one brand of televisions for the last six years and being number one in refrigerators. The Samsung message was all about TV centric technology marketed under the Smart TV brand. The presentation focused on Smart Interaction, Smart Content, and Smart Evolution. Smart Interaction is Samsung's take on making the TV responsive to the users in the room. With small cameras mounted on the new line of Samsung televisions, the TVs will be able to use facial recognition to see who is using the television and will also be able to respond to physical gestures. The Smart Content refers to the ever growing set of Smart Applications that run on the Samsung televisions. These applications will be able to provide content that is relevant to the users of the television. Examples ranged from photo sharing, kids programming, fitness programs, and of course movies and television programming. The Smart Evolution concept made the risky claim that the televisions would be able to keep up with changes in the technology without having to replace the television itself.  While it sounds like an appealing concept, the fine details were left out in the marketing slides. We'll see what details we can find on this during the week.  The message was clearly all about creating a digital ecosystem with the Samsung Smart TV as the center of the entertainment world for a typical household.

Samsung showed their new ES8000 flagship LED TV. This beauty was 75 inches and featured a dual-core processor and an integrated camera. The television is able to run any of Samsung's Smart Apps. Samsung was really pushing the fact that the development platform is being used by many application development companies. Samsung stated that over 20 million Smart Apps have been downloaded to date. They also presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to PartyShots for their photo booth app which was developed for the Samsung television. Samsung also announced that Angry Birds will be available as an app for their TVs and there will also be an on-demand animated channel for Angry Birds for those that just can't get enough of these addictive birds.

Samsung introduced their first Super OLED (organic light-emitting diode) television. I am not sure why they had to throw in the word Super right from the start, but that's marketing. The set will be 55" and will support 3D. The set requires no color filters thanks to the OLED technology. The set was very bright even from a distance in this very large room. We'll get a closer look at this in the Samsung booth during the week.

Samsung also showcased their new Galaxy Tab which boasts LTE support on Verizon.

Given the crowds and a limited amount of time, I decided to pass on the Panasonic press conference and headed down the road to the Las Vegas convention center to checkout the Sony press conference. Sony had a similar 3D theater as last year but they scaled back on the size. It was still enormous for a convention center booth.

The conference opened with Sir Howard Stringer who is the Chairman, CEO, and President of Sony Corporation. There was a lot of talk about the new PlayStation Vita handheld which launches on February 22, 2012.

Similar to Samsung, Sony also shared their vision of a shared set of technology and applications which allow users to share movies, music, photos and applications across a wide array of Sony devices and televisions. 

Sony also announced enhancements to their Sony Music Unlimited service which offers service in 13 countries.

The Sony Ericsson name will now become Sony Mobile Communications.

Sony talked about PlayStation certified applications which will run on a variety of Sony devices including the new Sony tablet and mobile devices.

Sony announced that their Internet Enabled TV will be powered by Google TV. This promises to open up Android based applications for Sony televisions.

Sony showed the Tablet P which has a clamshell design with two independent screens that can easily fit in your pocket.

While not announcing any 4K display panels, Sony did announce a 4K home theater projector which will upscale HD content to 4K resolution.

After a great 3D clip from the upcoming Men In Black 3 movie, Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld came on stage to join Sir Howard for a guest appearance and some Sony humor.

The Sony presentation ended with a performance by Kelly Clarkson who sang "You Don't Know Me". Sony definitely knows how to put on an entertaining press conference.

On my way out of the convention center, I took a few shots of the show floor. These were taken at around 6:00 PM on Monday night. It's hard to believe that all this can be ready by Tuesday morning.

That's it for today. Tomorrow is the start of the show and I'll be spending my day covering the Venetian.

Our team coverage of the 2012 International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas starts on Monday, January 9th.

This is my second time at CES and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the industry will be showcasing this year. I expect to see lots of 4K displays, OLED display technology and of course tablets galore. I will be focusing on the vendors exhibiting at the Venetian. I will be covering receivers, processors, media servers, speakers and just about anything that looks really interesting. I arrive on Monday for CES Press Day and am planning on hitting the Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony press conferences as long as I can get a seat.

Check back for pictures and updates throughout the week starting late Monday evening.