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Written by AVRev at CES   
Monday, 12 January 2009

CES 2009 has come and gone.  Reports estimate the crowd in attendance was somewhere between 110,000 and 130,000 people.  While this is a decrease in overall attendees from CES shows of the past, the halls were still packed shoulder to shoulder with gadget hungry techies, bloggers and industry professionals.  The team at AVRev dove into the fracas to bring you everything worth hearing about at the show.

CES Crowd

It’s no surprise that advances in HDTV technology were one of the more impressive aspects of the show.  Central Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center housed all the major consumer electronics manufacturers and their enormous booths.  Hitachi’s Gesture control HDTV brought in crowds of people to watch the demonstration of hand gestures to change channels, control the volume, turn the TV on/off and even control home automation tools such as the house temperature.  It was an odd amalgamation of motion technology from a product like the Nintendo Wii and home theater design.

Hitachi Gesture HDTV


Thin was in as well.  Samsung’s 6.5 mm LCD was absolutely stunning and makes their previous line of HDTV’s appear archaic by comparison.  Of course, the Sharp Aquos 108” LCD bucked that trend and offered up a wildly popular display that was absolutely vivid for it’s gigantic size.  LG presented some amazing booth displays, using Transformers for demo material, to highlight their partnership with Mark Levinson.

3-Dimensional television was also a re-emerging technology at CES this year.  Nearly every manufacturer was previewing their take on how 3DTV’s will work with the average viewer.  We waited in line to get a look at Panasonic’s 103” 3-D Plasma HDTV, which utilized 1080p right and left side images and shutter glasses synced to the television.  The image was utterly delightful and disconcerting all at the same time.  The unrealistic nature of some of the sequences and the goofy glasses required to watch said footage made us wonder about the future of consumer driven acceptance of the technology.

Samsung Thin HDTV

One of the more relaxing aspects of CES 09 was leaving the madness of the convention floor and escaping to the Venetian to find our audiophile friends hiding away at the top of the hotel.  Exuding luxury and style, the high-performance audio and home theater exhibits were lining the halls and offering amazing listening experiences.

We started our tour by checking out the cable manufacturers. We were thoroughly impressed with the Obsession line of cables created by Echole.  We sat down for a demonstration with Karem Kücükaslan and our ears were tickled by the full range of the classical recording.

Meridian’s 810 Reference Video Projector was very impressive.  Inherently massive, it has the ability to produce a resolution of 4096 by 2400 pixels.  The scaler takes an HD image and used the digital video processing systems to upgrade the image to the full resolution.  Meridian’s DSP loudspeaker was as equally interesting, in design and specifications. 

Sharp 108 inch LCD

We advanced onto loudspeakers and spent some time listening to Elipson’s Prestige line as well as the snazzy 42xx concept line.  The high fidelity performance of the Prestige 3 & 4 was quite the treat.  The only listening experience that seemed to top it during our time in the Venetian was a demo of Anthony Gallo’s Reference line of loudspeakers.  In the realm of amplifiers / preamps, we prefered the line at Rogue Audio as well as the delightful product demo in Bel Canto’s suite.  

Our time spent on the show floor at CES 2009 was frantic, but the technological advances made in the realm of home theater products were definitely worthwhile to see in person.  Stay tuned for our picks for the Best of CES in home theater & high performance audio.  

 






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