New Blu-ray Players On Their Way – Samsung, Vizio and LG all showed new Blu-ray players at CES. The Vizio VBR100 should bring many new Blu-ray fans into the fold when it launches in April at $199. It will be Profile 2.0 compatible and has 7.1 analog audio outputs. LG will have the BD390 at $399 with a GB of built-in memory and Wi-FI connectivity plus decoding of all the lossless multichannel audio codecs. It is coming out in June. Samsung’s BD-P4600 is good-looking, supports BD Live and comes with a Wi-FI dongle allowing streaming movies from Netflix and music from Pandora. Price and release date not yet known.
An unexpected but welcome development is that three different makers have now announced combination Blu-ray/SACD/DVD-A players. Denon’s universal high-end player, the DVD-A1UDC1 – which we already mentioned – has been delayed until next month. At $4,200 U.S. it also includes HDCD decoding. Oppo will begin shortly an Early Adoption program for a beta version of their BDP-83 universal Blu-ray player, which will retail for about $600, but the shipping date of the final version has not yet been finalized. (Part of the postpondment is due to the inclusion of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.) The third innovative maker is a newcomer so far unknown to most in the AV field: ezGear introduced their bluCobra EZ3000, which supports Blu-ray, DVD, and SACD with decoding of all the advanced audio codecs and multichannel analog audio outputs. It is scheduled for release next month at $399.
Cisco Systems Shows Connected Home Products – At the recent Consumer Electronics Show Cisco Systems demonstrated a complete solution-based approach rather than focusing on point products. Cisco Eos is a new software platform including analytics and site management tools for digital content providers, such as music labels, to deliver content to consumers across a variety of mediums and devices. A new product is Linksys storage appliance, optimized for media content than can also search for media across other devices on the network. A number of Linksys wireless home audio devices were also launched, making a transition from network attached storage to network-ready music libraries wirelessly-linked to speakers throughout the home.
AstoundSound Surround Brought to 3D Films at Sundance – GenAudio, developer of AstoundSound 4D sound localization cue technology, partnered with the 3D Film and Interactive Festival at the 2009 Sundance to demonstrate its 4D sound for 3D films. Projection was via a 73-inch Mitsubishi 3D DLP. Both Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Bangkok Dangerous were remastered for AstoundStereo in both 5.1 and 7.1 mixes on both standard DVD and Blu-ray. The AstoundStereo Expander is cross platform and available at the www.astoundstereo.com site.