Friday, January 09, 2009

CES 2009 day 1, Central Hall

Central Hall
Flatwire had a big booth with the "best dressed" booth babe - dressed in Flatwire cables.
(I'll try to post pictures later)

The biggest thing that was very clear in the Central Hall was that all the big time Display manufacturers are taking motion artifacts and motion resolution to be the new holy grail. Clearly 1080p "full HD" is no longer a big selling point, and every display is sporting multiple HDMI connections so everyone has moved on to eliminating motion blur and lost resolution during on-screen motion. Most of the majors had comparisons of their 60Hz, 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates and "pseudo data" interpolation schemes. After all, if the images "between" actual image data have to be created, they are not "real" image data. The problem is that it takes a heck of a lot of processing power to make up quality interpolated images at these refresh rates, so the room for improvement is going to be there for some time to come. It was impressive, though to see the improvements made since last year on most of these super speed LCD's. LED backlighting is ever getting more impressively "localized" creating much more natural images and better black levels without loss of shadow detail among other positives. Of course the fly in the ointment is that "film" is shot at 24fps, and has, as a result, natural "judder". Take out the judder and everything starts to look like it was shot with a video camera, rather than film, and this will no doubt upset the purists to no end. Of course "thin is in" with flat panels, and LG and Panasonic had screens that looked flatter than projector screens.

LG had an extremely impressive booth. Aside from their 240Hz and LED backlight demos, one very impressive feature was their built in "Picture Wizard" to help you adjust the display for best contrast, white level sharpness, tint and colors. Very impressive! Kudos to LG for what looks like a very easy system to use. Of course it won't adjust for the source device, but that is obviously beyond their control. There was an OLED display demo that was impressive, but it was still rather small. They also had a 3-D projection demo that was quite impressive. It might have looked even better if some previous user of my glasses hadn't put their fingerprints all over the lenses...

Panasonic had an enormous booth with a few awesome demos of their plasma displays emphasizing their new plasmas full 1080 lines of resolution with very fast motion, compared with much lower resolution available from LCD displays. They also had a demo showing some rather stunning black levels. Plasma is still alive and well and kicking with Lead boots on. Their demo of their PT-AE3000U demo was impressive, but I saw no mention of any upcoming Organic LCD Projector.

Pioneer had the usual gorgeously black Components and plasmas with awesome picture quality and extreme black levels. The surprise was the Speakers. The TAD and EX series look extremely impressive. I heard the TAD before and was extremely impressed, but it seems the EX series is the "trickle down" line which looks really promising.

Toshiba had a nice booth with lots of nice looking displays, but the disconcerting "XDE" DVD playback demo seemed to have some obvious edge enhancement. C'mon Toshiba, give up the malice and embrace the Blu! Everyone else sure seems to.

One company who shall remain nameless due to possible legal reasons - let's just say the companies name starts with an "S" and ends with an "amsung" had the usual (for them) policy of "no pictures". Therefore they will not be discussed.

Sony had "the worlds first" 240Hz display! Well, maybe they were first, but they sure aren't the only ones to have one now. They did have a lovely assortment of lovely Sony displays at all price levels - expensive, extremely expensive and explosively expensive. Hey, we kid, we're kidders! I have two Sony TV's myself, and a projector, and a PS3!.... Love that Sony stuff.... Anyway, Sony was all about the "Blu". They even had a Mega Changer for Blu Ray disks so that you can Buy, buy, BUY those Blu Ray disks! I mean c'mon! People are going to notice all of the artifacts, lack of detail and macroblocking on Netflix Instant and Hulu eventually... Well, ok, some people will.

Monster Cable had something new and impressive - a Lamborghini!

Canon had some HD camcorders that will literally fit in the palm of your hand! And so cute too! The SD camcorders were even smaller still. Soon you'll be able to wear them like a ring!

TEAC had some good looking USB Turntables which should be good considering the TEAC heritage. They also had a lot of Pro duplicators and stuff you'd more likely associate with them.

Blue had a booth way in the back with their Microphones. Very nice stuff.

Urrgghhh. It's just too late for me to post pictures tonight. Maybe tomorrow. My Thai food was a level "7" in hotness when I should stick with a "5", and I forgot to get a receipt! Was hoping to do something tonight but the South Hall awaits me tomorrow. It's going to be a long day.

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