Samsung Marketing for Curved-Screen UHD TVs – Titled “The Curve Changes Everything,” the prime-time TV commercials collage memorable media moments while watching them on a Samsung curved TV. There will also be billboards in LA and New York. [We feel curved screens are fine for theaters, but in the home…and anyway nothing is available inexpensively in UHD yet.]
Sharp’s New Audio Products – highlight the XL-HF202P Executive Component System, with 100w power, Bluetooth, separate speakers, a top-mounted docking slot for the iPod, iPhone5 or iPad, CD drive, USB ports and an FM/AM tuner ($250). There is also a smaller Slim Micro System with Bluetooth at $180. Their new sound bar (HT-SB602) is a 310w 2.1 channel unit with a wireless subwoofer. It has Bluetooth, an optical input, pairs up with NFC, decodes Dolby and DTS, and may be set up horizontally in front of a TV base or wall mounted ($500).
New Bluetooth Smart – There’s a new standards-based, low-power wireless technology that is said to bring most anything to life. With “appcessories,” users are able to securely connect and share data with the billions of smartphones and tablets already out there. Many devices are already Bluetooth Smart ready. Get ready to find it on watches, glasses, even toothbrushes and forks.
Russound Preparing New Products – I have an old Russound analog input switcher I use all the time. Now they’re promoting their wireless decentralized XStream multi-room audio technology. For the September CEDIA Expo they may be readying a multi-zone controller using XStream technology. Their current tabletop product, XStream X5 ($849), is a networked music streamer/amp which can create a decentralized 16-zone wireless audio system if 16 x 5 devices are added to the home network. It uses a stereo amp to connect to passive speakers, a preamp to connect to an outboard amp, Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, AirPlay, DLNA networking, and music streaming services. Analog RCA and optical inputs connect to local sources such as a TV. It can be controlled from an Android or iOS app, and locally wired keypads may be added for more control. Their X1 products can be used with a C-series multi-zone controller/amp to expand an existing wired multi-room system wirelessly.
HBO Content Now On Amazon Prime Instant Video – That is the only online subscription service that now will have access to popular HBO series, shows, original films and comedy specials. More shows will be added in coming years, and the service will be made available later this year on mobile devices. Amazon Prime is $99 a year. You can still stream films on a per-film basis from Amazon (and they have more than Netflix and some others); HD films are $1 more and classic films are less than the usual rate.