The Home Entertainment Show 2005 is one of the premiere events of consumer electronics and audio equipment. Vendors mainly from the continental United States and Canada converge on the NY Hilton for a weekend of high end audio showcases. One piece of equipment which easily stole the show this year was the revolutionary ELP Laser Turntable www.audioturntable.com. This turntable allows the user to play vinyl records without the use of needle. The company which produces the ELP invited audiophiles to bring their classic vinyl records to the suite for live demonstrations. That is if you could get in their suite. The crowd to see this state-of-the art record player spilled all the way out into the hallway of the hotel.
For those DVD movie buffs, a company called Kaleidescape showed off their latest creation, the Kaleidescape Entertainment Server www.kaleidescape.com. This system can store reams of DVD titles in memory and the titles can be catalogued by title, stars, running time, etc. and accessed by touch screen terminals. The system has received unanimous praise by several media publications including TV Guide, Forbes, and Popular Mechanics. The system works well and allows consumers to organize tremendous DVD collections, but this reviewer found the system very expensive and awkward to place in a midsized home.
Compact discs are still the rage, but their distant cousin, SACD, continues to show a strong presence at HE 2005. The SACD catalog has been expanded to include classic albums from The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and Fleetwood Mac, however, a strong lack of more recent hit records has kept this superior audio format well into the background of electronics consumers. SACD has new competition this year from yet another CD format, xrCD24 bit which has been introduced with just a handful of classical titles www.musicdirect.com (to purchase SACD’s and xrCD’s). Also vying for consumer’s attention is Dual Disc. Dual Disc is an audio CD on one side and a DVD on the other side. Another very popular item at the show was the Delphi XM Satellite Radio portable receiver, called xm2go www.xmradio.com. The receiver is the final incarnation of XM radio which now is available as a car stereo, portable unit that fits into a boom box, as well as a component unit.
To top it all off, HE 2005 offers free tickets to see “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” at the incomparable Zeigfield theatre. The movie which was show the next to last evening of the convention is presented in DLP by Texas Instruments. DLP is a completely digital projection of a 35mm movie. The projection has not dirt marks, no splice marks, no skips, or any kind of disturbance. The free movie is a nice gesture by HES and makes one glad they came.