Further to Gordon's coverage of Creative's updated Zen Stone players and new GigaWorks HD50 speakers, there were some other points of interest out here at CES. Dominating the Creative stand was a mock up cabin from a commercial aeroplane, complete with uniformed crew. At least Creative had the good sense to put us all in business class seats, to ensure a comfortable experience.
The reason for the pseudo-plane was to create a realistic demonstration environment for Creative's Aurvana X-Fi noise cancelling headphones. Back in 2005 I reviewed Creative's HN-700 noise cancelling headphones and gave them a recommended award because they offered great noise cancelling at a very low price. However, the actual sound quality from these headphones wasn't the best - this is something that Creative has addressed with these new Aurvanas.
These headphones aren't just about noise cancelling; as the name suggests, they also incorporate Creative's X-Fi technology in an attempt to create a truly immersive experience regardless of the source material. The demonstration was impressive, and these headphones didn't exhibit any of the muffling effect that plagued the HN-700s when noise cancelling was enabled. I'll be field testing a pair of Aurvana X-Fi headphones on the way home, to see how they hold up in a real flight environment, rather than pretend one. Expect a full review very soon.
Also on show was the Xdock HD. Like previous Xdocks, this device allows you to dock your iPod and stream music and video to external devices, but the big difference is that this version is high definition compliant, complete with HDMI and component video outputs. The Xdock HD will take all iPod video formats and upscale them to 1080i for viewing on a high definition TV. Obviously the iPod will charge while docked, and can be controlled via the Xdock HD remote control.
With more homes sporting high definition TVs, anyone who likes to watch their iPod video on a larger screen should welcome this latest Xdock. At present there is very little information on the Xdock HD, which means no indication of price, but judging by the prototype I saw, it will probably hit shelves later this year.