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CES 2004

 

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Yamaha RX-Z9

Yamaha is now shipping their RX-Z9 receiver.  This truly is a "has everything" unit.  It starts off with a THX Ultra 2 processor with all the audio formats and standards that are associated with THX.  Then Yamaha has implemented one of the most impressive video processors I have ever seen in a home receiver.  It support up-scaling and down-scaling of video signals simultaneously.  This allows you to watch a 1080i HDTV signal being scaled to 720p on a projector, while the composite signal is feeding the same signal somewhere else in the house at 480i.  If that isn't enough, they threw in nine channels of power and one of the nicest interfaces I have experienced on a receiver setup menu.  Speaker distance settings are in 0.1 foot increments, which should allow for enough flexibility in any situation.

 


Yamaha DVD-S1500

Yamaha’s new budget DVD-S1500 should make some people very happy.  It is a progressive DVD-A/SACD player which has Faroudja DCDi processing at $399.

 

Yamaha Acoustic Projector

Yamaha has taken a panel array of numerous 2” drivers and added some DSP processing to create a single speaker which can create a full surround experience.  Most interesting was the speaker's (or should I say acoustic projector's) ability to separate two independent audio signals and project them to two independent audiences.  In the demo, they split the screen playing a baseball game on one half and "Friends" on the other.  Each side of the room was only able to hear the programming material from that side of the display. Needless to say, we were pretty impressed.

 

Universal Remote Controls - New Consumer Oriented Line of Remotes

Universal Remotes realized that some of their high-end remotes were too complicated to program for the average user.  To help fix this problem, they are releasing a new line of remotes, ranging from $100-$300, which you do not require a PC to program.  They do come with a DVD containing a 10 minute tutorial which will walk you through the process of programming.

 

Accurate Image - Accurate 9

The Accurate 9 CRT projector was being displayed in the DTS demonstration booth.  If you ask me this 9” three-gun CRT projector looks as good as almost any fixed pixel display I (Sandy Bird) saw at the show.

 

Creative Labs Portable Media Center

While not scheduled to be released till summer, you can see where portable entertainment is going.  The Creative Labs Portable Media Center is a hard drive-based portable device similar to an MP3 player, but has a small LCD screen allowing users to watch video and view pictures in addition to playing music.  The interface looks very similar to Windows Media Center.

Creative Labs Gaming

Surround sound gaming was on display by many vendors.  Creative had several ‘pods’ set up for surround gamers in 5.1 surround.  Also, every time I visited Creative’s booth, the pods were full of people giving this new gaming experience a try.  If I had to judge by the number of people involved, it is going to be a big hit.

 

During the show, our Editor, John Johnson (on the right) produced video interviews of industry executives, was a judge for the TechTV Best of CES 2004 Awards, and was interviewed on Los Angeles AM radio station KFI by Leo Laporte (on the left).
Media servers are a huge item this year, and this one is by Philips. These servers store your audio and video files, and transmit them to TVs or hi-fi systems throughout your home via CAT-5 cable or wireless networks.
Thiel's new SW-2, with two 15" drivers is a very big system.
Paul McGowan, of PS Audio, shows a module from his new multi-channel power amplifier.

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