What Black Dots? I enjoy your segments with Leo Laporte on The Tech Guy radio show and podcast, but I really must disagree with your comments on plasma versus LCD. I agree that plasma blacks are blacker and that colors are more vivid. But I just cannot stand the matrix of black dots on plasma screens. I also dislike the reflective screenthe distraction of reflections more than offsets any loss through a non-reflecting screen.
You Can't Get Better Than Perfect A reader of your column posed the question whether he should buy a Pioneer Kuro now that they have been greatly discounted. I want the best too, but this raises another question. Do the new Panasonic G10, V10, or Z1 plasma TVs surpass the Pioneers' picture performance, and at what price? The dilemma is thisif one waits too long and the Panasonics disappoint, the Pioneers may be sold out forever.
Blu-ray Shy I would like your thoughts on Toshiba's XDE DVD players. As one who is hesitant to adopt Blu-ray fully, I have had a PS3 from the beginning, just no standalone player. I'm thinking of replacing my worn out upconverting DVD player with an XDE model, although Toshiba is quick to point out that it does not output or produce native HD content. Seeing how fiber-optic Internet speeds of 100Mbps are within reach, should one really look at Blu-ray with all the trappings that come with it?
RPTV & PC I'm planning to buy a 60- or 70-inch HDTV in a few months. The room where it will live is not totally darkened like a home theater. Besides watching TV and DVDs, we also want to hook it up to a PC. With this requirement, is LCD TV the way to go?
PS3 PCM I was getting ready to buy a new A/V receiver to take advantage of the new audio formats Blu-ray has to offer, but I found out my PS3 will not pass Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD bitstreamsinstead, it decodes them to PCM internally. Will the PCM signal be as good in quality? Or do I need to buy a new Blu-ray player and receiver? Or should I buy a Blu-ray player with 7.1 analog outputs and hook that up to my existing Denon receiver's multichannel inputs? It does not have HDMI inputs.
The Perennial Question Would it be better with a thin budget to buy an AVR rather than separates? I was thinking about getting Denon's flagship AVR-5308CI receiver, but there are separates from Integra, Anthem, Marantz, and Denon that all seem to have similar features but are somewhat lower in price. What would be a good solution?
Ambilight Ambivalence A buddy of mine had an older Philips plasma TV with Ambilight. The first time I saw it, I though it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen and decided I had to have a set of my own with Ambilight. However, the Philips sets seem to get pretty mixed reviews on Amazon. The availability and selection also seems to be a little scarce. Are the Philips plasmas and LCDs really to be avoided? And if so, is there an alternative you can suggest?
To Buy or Not to Buy I have been saving to buy a new 50-inch Pioneer plasma this summer. Now Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business completely. Should I still buy? I'm worried about the possible warranty issues and getting repairs in the future.
Fireplace Folly I have a flat screen on a mantelpiece shelf leaning against the chimney of our fireplace. I've been hesitant to use the fireplace because the flat screen lies against the chimney. Will lighting a fire affect the TV?
Welcome to our new feature, "Ask Home Theater." Each week, I'll answer several reader questions here, and you'll have an opportunity to chime in with your comments and additions. I hope to build a real community with lively discussion, so don't be shy! Send your questions to me at email@example.com, and please add your two cents to any answer I give. I look forward to hearing from you!