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International CES 2000 Report
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2000 International CES Report

 Sony 

New DVD Players
This year, Sony’s display was primarily car audio, personal audio, video and memory stick technology. They introduced two new 5-disc changer DVD players – the DVP-C660 and DVP-C670D. The C660 and C670D both share Sony’s Disc Explorer system along with a new parental control feature that allows for up to 200 individual DVD titles to be manually locked out. They also have Sony’s Precision Drive system, which provides faster, more accurate tracking and playback, and Advanced SmoothScan Picture Search for seamless transitions between video frames. The C670D adds digital image enhancing technology and a built-in Dolby Digital decoder. The DVP-C660 will list for $400 and the DVP-C670D for $500; both will be available in June.

Three new single disc players will also be introduced this spring. The DVP-S360 will retail for $250, the DVP-S560D for $300, and the DVP-S570D for $500. All feature the new parental control feature and component video output. The DVP-S570D will be finished with a brushed aluminum front panel to complement the Wega line of televisions.


Click to enlarge. (74kb)
Robotic Entertainment
Sony was also demonstrating their AIBO personal entertainment robot. This is an amazing bit of engineering. The positions and actions are so versatile, it can even right itself if you put it on its back. It can track a pink ball, walk up to it, bat it, then follow it to the new position and bat it again. The dog learns what you like and dislike either via pats on the head or audible signals sent from a remote control. Behaviors are stored on a Sony Memory Stick and, with PC software, may be further edited, customized and swapped between owners. At $2500 though, AIBO isn’t for everyone.

Successor to the RM-AV2000 LCD Remote
I was disappointed that the Sony Audio & Accessories divisions did not have an open exhibition at CES 2000. However, upon returning from the show and making a few phone calls I was able to find a few of the preliminary specifications for the successor to the popular RM-AV2000 LCD touchscreen remote.

The RM-AV2100 will begin shipping in April. As the model number suggests, it will not be a total redesign, but rather a thorough enhancement of the current model. Updates are many, but please note that these are subject to change. Physically it will remain nearly the same, however the case color will change to a silver titanium, possibly to complement the Wega TV series. In addition to the three "System Control" macro buttons, each of the 12 component buttons will also be able to hold a macro. When merely pressed they will change the remote to the new device, but when held they will broadcast the macro. If you’ve used the RM-AV2000 you’ll know that macros play at a fairly slow speed – so, users may now configure them to one of four different speeds.

Programmed Codes & Learning
Sony has enhanced the built-in code database to over 500 components with a new search function – a huge increase. Like the current remote, every button can hold a learned signal – but the new model will have twice the learning capacity and will be able to learn codes up to 250 bits long and up to 450kHz. It will also work with B&O equipment and features 4 infrared broadcasters for wide signal dispersion.

Customization
For customization, the new remote will allow you to select any of the pre-set button labels while in the learning mode. While operating the remote you will also be able to switch between simple and detailed views – providing an uncluttered screen with only basic functions to those who prefer it. A new feature will allow users or dealers to put two remotes head-to-head and duplicate the configuration.

As mentioned, the RM-AV2100 will begin shipping in April 2000 at a suggested retail price of $180. Another new lower-cost learning remote from Sony will probably ship later this year.

Editor's note: current information on the Sony RM-AV2100 can be found in the reviews section.

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