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CES 2013-Full Coverage

ARTICLE INDEX

Stephen Hornbrook Show Coverage

Final update..

Panasonic PT-AE8000 which has been available for a couple months, and a new "lamp-free" model that uses hybrid LED/Laser for its light source and a DLP chip. It is not geared towards the home theater crowd though. Neither were being demo'd. 

another photo showing the incredible black levels on the new ZT series plasma. This was a long exposure!

Curved OLED displays were also being showed off. Very cool! too bad just prototypes :( This one is from Sharp.

Sharp had a small 4K OLED screen as well that was mind blowing. give me a laptop with one of these please.

A few more pics from the Sony booth. They really were all about 4K this show.

another of the OLED display, photos just don't do it justice. 

Hisense, a Chinese company, is looking to be a power player with the likes of Samsung and LG with a full range of products from Ultra HD panels to home appliances. Look for their TV's to be more affordable than the competition and available at Walmart, Costco and Sams Club. They were showing off a 4K 110" that looked good. 

Also they had a full LED array backlit LCD that looked to have some impressive black levels and contrast. The most LED's used in a backlight array so far (576 I believe)

Here is there DLP based Laser table top projector. very short throw.

Hisense Wall mount projector

Business/presentation geared Projector. 

And now a few more pics from the schwanky Samsung booth

Chris and I attended a couple meetings in the morning, one to see the new Parasound CD1 that is essentially a linux based PC that loads and buffers CD data in order to prevent errors as well as jitter. It sounded great paired with some JC1's and Kef reference speakers. This could easily be the last CD player you ever buy. I also finally got to see the new black finish for the Halo gear and boy is it sexy.

Up next was a demo of the new Thiel 1.7 speakers which just so happened to be my favorite sound of the day. diana krall's voice was so three dimensional and lifted away from the speakers my ears were in heaven. 

we also had a wonderful D-Box presentation featuring the Kaleidescape media server, massive curved Stewart screen, Triad gold and silver speakers, and D-Box motion chairs. That was my first experience with D-Box and i was quite surprised. The effect on The Dark Knight Rises was quite interesting and I can definitely see it adding more to the experience. I will have to look more into home theater seating with D-Box. 

Revel's beautiful new performa 3 series

A lovely JBL and Mark Levinson system

bryston model T speakers, dual woofer, dual midrange and something you don't often see, dual tweeter.

To demonstrate how far headphone banding has gone, Ferrari has a line of headphones made by logic3. The design is inspired by the sports car and is indeed beautiful, but the audio performance does not quite live up to the automobile's legacy. 

I was able to test out RBH's new in-ear speakers as well and they had some powerful taught bass and great sound isolation. In a noisy room with people talking right next to me, I could hear nothing but the music. I should have a review of these new RBH EP2 puppies soon.

Also on the headphone front: new colors for PSB's excellent M4U 1 and 2, an NAD design similar to the M4U1, Paradigm noise isolating and a pair of active noise cancelling, and a pair of velodyne over the ears.

Velodyne

sweet Red PSB

NAD

Big sound on this NAD all in one player with one model even featuring Airplay, great for ease of use.

Day 2 started out with a press breakfast with HiFiMAN. Fang Bian introduced their new HM-901 portable player, shipping soon. It has been four years in the making and has an impressive spec sheet. The HM-901 features two ES9018 DAC chips capable of unparalleled sound quality in a portable device. Especially interesting to me was its ability to load and stream music via WiFi. This allows you to easily take advantage of the advanced DAC chips inside. Also on display was a new set of in-ear monitors, the RE-400 Waterline. These were incredibly light and featured an 8.5mm Titanium Diaphragm, Neodymium Magnet, and OFC Copper cabling. We will have a review of these soon. Fang continues to supply the headphone/portable market with innovative, high performance gear.

Next up was Sharp. Along with the other big companies, Sharp was showing off 4K TV sets that are coming to market later this year. No prices announced yet.

They have a new feature that allows you to split the screen into half TV and half internet browser. Why they had to focus on RGIII's knee is beyond me. 

Their Aquos line is up to 90" now and certainly looks better than ever. 

Toshiba also had 4K sets available soon for an unknown price. THey were at least showing native 4K content shot on RED gear. 

They were also very excited about their new cloud service which allows for new apps and content on the fly and the ability to share data like a calendar across (toshiba) devices.

regular old non-4K Toshiba TV lineup

Finally, legendary running back Barry Sanders was at the Monster booth to promote their products. Pretty neat to see him in person. 

Also around the show was Will.i.am

The theme for CES 2013 is officially... 4k! Super high resolution displays have displaced 3D as the hot new thing. Easily hands down the most impressive thing at the show so far has got to be Sony's 4K OLED display.

It had the best picture quality I have ever seen, unfortunately it is still in the prototype stage. Interestingly enough, Panasonic also had an OLED with strikingly similar specs. They may share some components with the Sony but they assured me they were different panels. It also looked beautiful.

Also at Panasonic was a new line of plasma displays including a new ZT60 with reference level blacks. It looked amazing. The ST60 looks like a nice replacement for the ST50 but gone from the line up is the GT.

here you can see the incredible black levels compared to last years model

Back at the Sony booth they added 55 and 65 inch 4k LED lit LCD sets to last years 84" model. The detail was staggering and the effect was quite impressive.. provided you sit just a few feet from the screen. Still, overall picture quality regardless of the increased resolution was very impressive. They were also showing off what they call Trilumos which adds a wider color gamut for a theoretical larger palette. The demo of course made the colors more vivid and lifelike but we are a bit skeptical about the tech. It could have been a case of a tweaked demo to exaggerate a point. Overall I was impressed with Sony's products this year and personally enjoy the 4K push a lot more than the 3D push.

detailed text on sony 4K

Speaking of 3D, it is all but dead here at this years CES.

Over at Samsung, they were showing off their Living Gallery design using massive 4K panels. Its an interesting approach, certainly the picture quality was stunning. The rest of the LCD lineup hasn't changed a whole lot, just incremental improvements. The new Series 8 plasma had wonderful blacks and an interesting design. We look forward to testing it out. Samsung is still committed to plasma which is good to hear.

series 8 plasma

Coverage starts in less than a week! We get to find out the mysterious new display from Samsung that looks more like a picture frame than a TV..