Sound Advice: Lots to like among new things at CES

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 10, 2012 - 2:50 PM

Answers to your multimedia questions.

Q I know you were at the Consumer Electronics Show recently. Did anything stand out to you this year?

A There were quite a few things that stood out. Here are a few interesting products that caught my eye.

Element Electronics ( had a 70-inch LED-LCD television with an integrated sound bar, the latter developed with speaker manufacturer JBL. A wireless subwoofer is included. The TV doesn't support 3-D, but it does provide a huge, good-looking picture and great sound. It will launch a few months from now for $1,999, which is a good value for such a nice package. Once you have had a 70-inch TV you will never go smaller. I was told that the new television is likely to be produced in Element's new Detroit factory.

I am often asked if there is a compact digital camera with SLR-like responsiveness. Many people miss the moment when photographing children because of a compact camera's shutter and focus lag, but they don't want the size, weight or expense of a digital SLR. The 10-megapixel Ricoh CX6 camera ( uses separate focusing systems that work together to deliver lightning-fast response. The CX6 has a 10.6-times zoom, a clean, intuitive user interface, image stabilization and a screen that's about three times as sharp as most small camera screens. No pricing as of yet, but the CX6 is likely to command a premium given the quality and performance.

Olympus (www.olympus had a nice superzoom camera, the $199 Olympus SZ-12. It has 14 megapixels, a 24-times zoom, a high-capacity rechargeable battery and a solid, compact body that is easy to hold. If the image quality is up to par, it will be a standout buy.

Dish ( featured its new whole-house DVR system, called Hopper and Joey. If the names Hopper and Joey remind you of kangaroos, you're right, because a kangaroo is the new Dish mascot.

The Hopper is the most advanced DVR announced to date. If the system works as well as advertised, it should be popular.

Sharp ( had the Aquos Freestyle TV line with built-in rechargeable batteries that can be used anywhere in the home. It also showed the Aquos Board, which is an 80-inch merging of a tablet and a television.

On the high-end front, LG and Samsung displayed 55-inch OLED HDTVs with spectacular picture quality. Long considered the holy grail of TV technology, OLED has had engineering challenges that have made large sizes impractical. I will be writing more about the pros and cons of OLED in a future column.

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