2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: Home Entertainment

Looking to transform your home into an entertainment multiplex? Get to know some of the best HDTVs, games, media streamers, home-networking products, and entertainment gear that earned high honors in the 2011 CES Innovations Awards.

CES 2011 Innovations Awards Honorees: HDTVs, Gaming, and Home Theater

The Consumer Electronics Association has been rewarding forward-thinking technology with its Innovations Design and Engineering Awards for 35 years, honoring hardware and software products that do things differently.

Here's a closer look at some of the 2011 honorees in the realm of home entertainment, with winners from the categories of Home Theater, Audio/Video, Video Displays and Components, Electronic Gaming, and more. For a complete list of winners in all 35 categories, visit the official 2011 CES Innovations Awards page.

Also, be sure to see our roundups of the 2011 Innovations Awards honorees for computer hardware and digital imaging, and see which products had the highest scores across the board in our CES 2011 Best of Innovations slideshow.

Samsung 55-Inch, 240Hz (3D), Two-Sided Edge-Lit LED Local Dimming Panel

Category: Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology

The Samsung UN55C9000 is the TV you wish you had. Of course, it's not the only TV out there that has 55 inches of active-shutter 3D goodness or a full assortment of Internet connectivity options. But it is the only TV out there that pulls all that off while being only 10.8 millimeters thick. Thanks to the two-sided, edge-lit LED array, the Samsung UN55C9000 manages to look brilliant while using half the power of a CCFL-backlit LCD TV. --Patrick Miller

Sharp Aquos Quattron 3D LC-60LE925UN LCD TV

Category: Video Displays

Sharp's flagship 60-inch LC-60LE925UN has everything you'd expect from a high-end LED-backlit LCD TV: active shutter 3D (with a 2D-to-3D upconversion mode), a 240Hz refresh rate, excellent built-in sound, and a handful of Internet-connected channels. Of course, it also has a little something extra--namely, a fourth pixel color. Sharp's proprietary Quattron system adds yellow to the standard red/green/blue filter. However, we didn't quite like the way Quattron looked in our image-quality testing of Sharp's lower-end LC-52LE820UN. --Patrick Miller

JVC D-ILA Home Theater Front Projector

Category: Video Displays

3D TVs are great and all, but sometimes you just want the 3D theater experience on a really big wall in your house. Enter the JVC DLA-X9, a 3-chip D-ILA (JVC's proprietary version of Liquid Crystal On Silicon) home theater projector from the company's Procision series. The DLA-X9 boasts 1300 lumens, dual 1.4a HDMI inputs, and most important, the honor of being the first THX-certified home-theater front projector--more than enough for you to cinch bragging rights on your block. --Patrick Miller

ThinkEco Modlet

Categories: Home Networking, Integrated Home Systems, Portable Home Appliances

This little add-on for your power outlet may not look as exciting as a huge HDTV, but it could be a cost-saving MVP for your home theater system. Unused electronics left plugged into the wall can add up on your electric bill, even if they're not powered on. The ThinkEco Modlet is an energy-saving alternative to hopping around the house and unplugging all those sleeping, yet power-hungry gadgets. You can plug two items into this power strip, which plugs into a wall outlet. Rather than just manually cutting off power, as do most energy-saving outlet add-ons, the Modlet sends a Zigbee wireless signal to a USB fob connected to your PC. From there, you can manage energy consumption via a Web browser. --Elsa Wenzel

Logitech Keyboard for Google TV

Category: Integrated Home Systems

Coming with the Logitech Revue with Google TV set-top box is this keyboard, which incorporates a universal remote as well as mouse functions. The lightweight keyboard is as good as most laptop keyboards I've worked on--a definite plus for anything needing data entry, since most set-top boxes require painful navigation through on-screen keyboards. Its remote features are located mostly on the right side, including a touchpad and a button that control the on-screen cursor during Web surfing, and a four-way navigation button for getting around most other menus. The keyboard has power on/off buttons for your TV, cable/satellite box, and home audio receiver, as well as buttons to bring up any integrated DVR software, such as the one in my Comcast HD cable box. You can simply press the search button on the keyboard to access the Chrome browser's search/address bar. --Yardena Arar

Sony Internet TV Powered by Google TV

Category: Video Displays

Like the idea of Google TV, with its Web browsing, applications, and powerful search, but don't want another box sitting around your TV? Then you'll love these Sony HDTVs that incorporate Google TV functionality right in the sets' electronics. The Google TV navigation, on-screen menus, and results screens mirror the features seen in the Logitech Revue. But while the Revue comes with a mini- or full-size Logitech keyboard, the Sony Internet TVs have their own style of mini-keyboard, which feels a lot like a game controller. Unfortunately, the controller isn't backlit, but accompanying the keyboard are two control pads: a touchpad on the right for navigating Websites, and a mechanical rocker-switch pad on the left for navigating when the set is tuned in to broadcast content. --Robert S. Anthony

Kylo Web Browser for TV

Category: Online Audio/Video Content

Hillcrest Labs' free Kylo browser is built for surfing the Web on the big screen--specifically, HDTVs attached to a computer. Based on Mozilla, Kylo is a Mac- and Windows-compatible streaming-media browser for playing content delivered over the Internet. You're welcome to enter any Web address into the browser's address field--just click on the address field, and a virtual keyboard appears--but Kylo is designed so that you'll rarely have to enter text. On the Home screen you find 128 large buttons that, when clicked, lead you to such popular media sites as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, Pandora, ESPN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. Clicking is what Kylo is all about. Any mouse will do: Just click on a button and off you go to the site, which behaves exactly as it would in any other browser. --Christopher Breen

Sony PlayStation Move

Category: Electronic Gaming Hardware

In what's shaping up to be the big holiday battle in the world of motion-controlled gaming, Sony's Move system for the PlayStation 3 is a more-precise, less laggy, and potentially more powerful rival to the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. While the Kinect eschews handheld controllers entirely, the Move controller is a wand that works in tandem with the PlayStation Eye camera, bumping PlayStation 3 gameplay into Wii territory and beyond. --Tim Moynihan

Sharp PN-V601 Professional LCD Monitor

Category: Video Displays

Isn't it about time you put up an entire wall of displays in your home? First step: Get yourself a video card that can handle six monitors at once--a high-end ATI Radeon 5870 EyeFinity 6, for example. Now that that's taken care of, there's just one problem: All your monitors have an inch-wide bezel around them, meaning that your six-display array is marred by a two-inch gap between each monitor. Too bad you don't have six of Sharp's 60-inch, LED-backlit PN-V601 displays, which feature a 6.5mm bezel so your six-display setup won't have those ugly lines. --Patrick Miller

Sony EyePet

Category: Electronic Gaming Software

EyePet is a half-game, half-3D Tamagotchi for the PlayStation 3 that uses the PlayStation Eye camera and some nifty augmented-reality tricks. This virtual pet interacts with people and objects in an augmented version of the real world inside your TV, and it's compatible with Sony's Bravia 3D TVs and active-shutter glasses. The EyePet creature wanders inside this virtual environment and can react to objects in it. At the demo I checked out, for example, you can place a card in front of the PlayStation Eye video camera that appears in the EyePet's augmented-reality world as a trampoline. The critter will try to chase the trampoline around. When it starts jumping on the trampoline, you can catapult it into the air with a flick of your wrist. --Tom Spring

Netgear NeoTV 550 Ultimate HD Media Player

Category: Home Networking, Video Components

The Netgear NeoTV 500 network streamer makes it easy to access content stored on your home network or removable storage devices via your television. It has an SD card slot, USB, and eSATA ports for direct connections, andl it will deliver media from networked devices to your TV via ethernet. The unit supports DLNA as well, which should ease the network setup. The interface is designed to present your media as if you were browsing everything by thumbnail cover art. Unlike other streamers, though, it doesn't access Web-based media services. --Melissa Perenson

Seagate GoFlexTV HD Media Player

Category: Home Theater Accessories

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV is a connected box that lets you play media from computers, media servers, and storage devices on your network, or from USB flash or hard drives plugged directly into the device. You can also insert a portable GoFlex hard-drive module directly into the $100 GoFlex TV, which eliminates extra clutter. The GoFlex TV supports a generous number of Internet services, including Flickr, Netflix on demand, Picasa, YouTube, a slew of popular sites through MediaFly, and other sites via category widgets (such as Finance). --Melissa Perenson

TiVo Slide Remote

Category: Home Theater Accessories

The venerable TiVo remote gets an overhaul with the $90 TiVo Slide Remote. The remote is shorter and lighter than the original model, but it retains all that makes the TiVo remote so popular--the curved, ergonomic design and the finger-friendly button placements--while adding a slide-out, smartphone-like QWERTY keyboard that's very usable. The Bluetooth remote works without being in the line-of-sight of the TiVo; and the keyboard makes it simple to search through and take advantage of TiVo's latest online content. --Melissa Perenson

Autonomic Mirage Media Server

Category: Online Audio/Video Content

On the outside, the Autonomic Mirage Media Server resembles an ordinary rack-mount server. But this is no ordinary server: The $3995 Mirage is installed in the home by a custom installer, and it stores content both locally and as a copy in its secure cloud locker. That way, it can synchronize content across multiple units in different locations--including mobile and other Web-enabled devices. The server lets you upload content from anywhere, and that content is then available across Apple iOS, Google Android, and Windows Mobile devices, and can be accessed via set-top boxes like Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation, or TiVo, or through high-end home control systems from Crestron, AMX, or RTI. --Melissa Perenson

Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930

Category: Electronic Gaming Hardware

Lose the cords! This comfortable headset--designed for the gaming crowd, but also very good for general music or video--lets you roam up to 40 feet, while enjoying the lush 7.1 Dolby surround sound. Logitech achieves exceptional sound quality with a lag-free 2.4GHz wireless connection that allows two-way, uncompressed audio streaming. Part of Logitech's popular G series, the $160 G930 also includes three programmable keys for customizing your in-game experience. --Steve Fox

Logitech Wireless Gaming Mouse G700

Category: Electronic Gaming Hardware

This $100 wireless mouse gives you 13 programmable controls. So whether you're doing something simple--like mapping keyboard shortcuts to your mouse in Starcraft--or setting up a complex series of spells in your favorite MMORPG, you'll be fully in control. Each button is individually designed to be easily identified by touch (essential when you've got 13 to choose from), and the mouse itself is contoured to fit your hand. One limitation: It's Windows-only. --Steve Fox

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