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 (www.elementelectronics.com) 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 (www.ricoh.com) 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 america.com) 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 (www.dish.com) 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 (www.sharpusa.com) 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.

Submit questions and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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