Nestled squarely between the LHB954 and LHB979 in LG's 2009 home theater system line-up is the LHB977. While the midrange package lacks the bundled wireless rear-speaker option and champagne-glass design of the 979, it's still loaded with features: 5.1 speaker array with funky front tallboy speakers; built-in Blu-ray player with Profile 2.0/BD-Live capability and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoding; support for streaming online Netflix, CinemaNow, and YouTube video; and two extra HDMI inputs, useful for connecting game consoles and DVRs. Look for the LHB977 in the spring of 2009 (price TBD).
Don't want the champagne-glass tallboy speakers of the LG LHB979 home-theater system? Step on down to the LHB954. You'll lose a few of the 979's value-added features (wireless rear speakers, HDMI inputs), but you'll still get a 1,000-watt Blu-ray home theater system that offers access to Netflix, CinemaNow, and YouTube streaming and an integrated iPod dock. The LHB979 also sports unique-looking spherical speakers. The built-in Blu-ray player is fully BD-Live compliant, and includes full Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. Look for the LHB954 in May 2009 (price TBD).
Unlike Panasonic and Samsung, LG didn't offer any home theater systems with built-in Blu-ray players in 2008. No problem: the company gets to hit the ground running in 2009 with fully loaded Blu-ray models like its flagship home theater system, the LHB979. The 5.1-channel system takes its design cues from last year's DVD-only LHT888, with champagne-glass front-tower speakers and smaller rears that can be connected wirelessly (obviating the need for front-to-back speaker wires in the room). LG boasts that the LHB979 is "tuned by renowned audio expert Mr. Mark Levinson," but we'll have to … Read more
After hinting at a "digital stereo" product in The New York Times last week, Cisco unveiled the details of its Wireless Home Audio System today, which will be released under the networking giant's "Linksys by Cisco" consumer networking brand. At first glance, the system--which is actually a suite of six products that will be available separately or in a variety of preconfigured bundles--bears a remarkable resemblance to the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. Like the Sonos, the Linksys product has a large-screen remote and offers networked base stations designed to live in several rooms of the house where they can play digital music from networked PCs or online audio sources (Internet radio via RadioTime, Rhapsody subscription service in the U.S., and the AudioLounge premium service in Europe). The Linksys device can also use a "zone" system, so different rooms can access different audio sources, or be linked together for synchronized playback of a single audio stream in multiple rooms simultaneously. … Read more
In an interesting move, VTech, the makers of wireless home phones, has entered the home-audio fray with the IS9181, a Wi-Fi-enabled Internet radio receiver that will cost $199.95 when it's released this spring.
VTech claims the "competitively priced music hub delivers higher sound quality than other similarly priced music devices" and it allows you to play not only Internet radio selections but also to stream your music library stored on your computer (the IS9181 is compatible with both Windows PCs and Macs). There's also the requisite line input so you can connect any digital audio … Read more
iLuv has trotted out the iSP200, a 2.1-channel PC speaker system for laptops and desktops. The iSP200 will be available in June for $99.99.
In its press release, the company appeared to be targeting Macbook Air owners, but the system works with any computer. Robert Caputo, iLuv's vice president of sales, says: "We feel that the iSP200 with its sleek and stylish look is a great complement to the Macbook Air and is the complete 2.1-channel speaker solution providing 32W RMS sound and three extra USB ports for users entertainment needs." OK, sure. The … Read more
We haven't seen too many HD clock radios, but at CES, iLuv will be showing off the dual-alarm iHD171 HD Radio with iTunes tagging for iPhone 3G and iPod. The iHD171 also features a video output for watching your iPod videos on a TV, along with an AM/FM radio that receives standard analog stations. It will be available starting in January for $199.99.
Here's a rundown of the specs:
*Compatible with iPhone 3G and 2G
*Time sync function automatically updates the clock to match the time on your iPhone or iPod
*One-touch iTunes tagging: tags music … Read more
If you ever wanted a Bang & Olufsen wall-mountable system but couldn't afford one, iLuv will be offering the poor man's version this May when it releases the iMM9500 Vertical 4CD/MP3 Hi-Fi Audio System with Subwoofer. No word yet on its price, but it has a built-in iPod/iPhone dock and a four-disc MP3 CD player. Here are the basic specifications that iLuv is serving up.
Works with iPhone and iPod--plays and charges 4-MP3 CD/audio playback system with universal dock for iPod 2.1 channel speakers Plays MP3, WMA files on SD/MMC cards and USB … Read more
When Logitech released the Harmony 1000 in 2007, we were disappointed that the tablet-style remote wasn't easily customizable and that the response time of its 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen wasn't quite as zippy as we would've liked. Two years on, it looks like Logitech has finally taken those criticisms to heart. The new Harmony 1100 includes the ability to customize the on-screen buttons, and its new Flash-based OS (and faster processor) should make for a smoother user experience. Those improvements--plus the black color scheme--look to be the only major changes from the 1000, so the new model … Read more
Cisco Systems, which builds the gear that powers the Internet, is making a big push this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with new products that will help consumers move digital media around their homes.
The company plans to hold a press conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday to reveal the new products and its refined strategy for providing consumers with "communication and entertainment experiences that are more visual, more social and more personal," the company said in a press release.
To get a sneak peek at Cisco's strategy, I talked by phone with Ned Hooper, senior vice president of corporate development for Cisco's Consumer Business Group. While details of the soon-to-be-announced products are still under wraps, Hooper shed some light on why Cisco thinks there is a big opportunity in helping consumers get their homes connected and where the company plans to go with its strategy from next.
Q: Cisco isn't the first company to build products for the digital home. Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard have all tried to develop products to help consumers play their music and video throughout the home. So far, none of these companies have been very successful. Even Apple's Apple TV is a considered a niche product. Why do you think Cisco will have more success? Hooper: I think it's important to look at how media and entertainment is being delivered to the home. The presence of the Internet and digital media is transforming all these industries and how people access entertainment and how they communicate with each other.
Over 100 million households have set top boxes with their cable or digital satellite service. So the digital set top box market is doing well. Services such as video on demand and DVRs are in high demand. But building expensive devices for a single function hasn't proven to be a viable market.
Cisco has been positioned very well in terms of being able to offer infrastructure for these network services. And we're already in the consumer electronics business with Linksys and Scientific Atlanta. It might surprise you to know that Cisco has shipped over 160 million consumer devices. This includes set-top boxes and home routers.… Read more