OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Michael Fremer Posted: Nov 07, 2004 2 comments

The sleek, silver LST-3410A offers an attractive combination of performance, functionality, and features, including both ATSC and NTSC OTA tuners; a QAM tuner for unencrypted cable channels (not tested); a 160GB hard-disk recorder; and the easy-to-navigate, feature-packed TV Guide On Screen program grid.

Kevin Hunt Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
1-Bit o honey.

In a previous lifetime, the Sharp SD-PX2 was probably a too-cool 1940s Bakelite radio—boxy, plastic, and proud of it. The SD-PX2 DVD/receiver is a certifiable forward-thinker. Utilizing Sharp's 1-Bit digital amplifier technology, the streamline SD-PX2 packs a DVD player and receiver into a stand-up chassis that, at only 4.5 inches deep, wouldn't look out of place on a bedside stand.

N. Browning Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Hard-disk and DVD recording in one sleek box.

DVD recorders are quickly replacing VCRs as the component of choice to capture and archive TV shows—and rightly so. After all, the picture quality is generally better, and the discs take up a lot less shelf space than VHS tapes. Still, blank disks are relatively expensive, especially the rewritable varieties. In addition, rewritable discs aren't as compatible with conventional DVD players as the write-once discs.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
Is it finally time to say, "Au Revoir, VCR"?

So a bunch of us reporter types were sitting around CES 2003, and we kept hearing that recordable DVD finally stood poised to replace the VCR, since the prices had come down to the $600 range. Marketing people are paid to make these unrealistic claims with a brave smile, but the journalistic consensus was that recordable DVD would indeed replace VHS. . .when the price was closer to $200. We also hoped that format-compatibility issues would largely be resolved by that time.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
The latest FireBall aims to give us what we've been missing.

One of the benefits of talking about home theater all day every day is that I get to hear people ask questions like this: "I'd buy a DVD megachanger if there were a way to keep track of my hundreds of discs, but what choice do I have?" Apparently, the spies from Escient were eavesdropping. Their FireBall DVDM-100 DVD and Music Manager has been designed specifically to integrate with the latest generation of super DVD jukeboxes to help identify and organize all of the movies and music stored inside, with a little help from the Internet. You can find a specific DVD in a hurry, sort through all of your comedies, or visually search through all of the covers, right from the sofa.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
If you fear commitment, this is the HDTV source for you.

As HDTV broadens its horizons, the role of the standalone HDTV tuner has diminished but certainly not disappeared. Sure, this year, the FCC ordered TV manufacturers to begin incorporating internal ATSC tuners into new 36-inch-or-larger TVs that have an NTSC tuner, but what if you've built your home theater around a high-end projector or a flat panel with no internal tuners? Sure, the satellite and cable companies are offering more HDTV content by the minute and adding DVRs to their new HD set-top boxes, but that doesn't help the person who can't have a satellite dish, isn't getting much (if any) HDTV from their cable company, or doesn't want to pay a monthly fee to watch and record HDTV.

N. Browning Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
Dubbing and dumping those bulky VHS tapes just got a whole lot easier.

If you're anything like me, you have a pile of VHS tapes lying around, gathering dust. Perhaps they're neatly organized, or maybe they're thrown in some boxes in the garage. They might be precious home movies of the tykes growing up, or they could contain rare TV appearances by celebs of a bygone era. In my case, they're mostly treasured TV shows that I captured to enjoy over and over again. The only problem is that they take up way too much space, and they're on videotape, which makes it almost impossible to find the spots I want to watch.

Chris Lewis Posted: May 28, 2004 Published: Jun 01, 2004 0 comments
Marantz gets universal for less than four figures.

Slowly but surely, more readers are asking questions about high-resolution, multichannel audio. They want to know what kind of progress the SACD and DVD-Audio formats are making. In most ways, I think they're right where we thought they'd be at this point, if not ahead in some respects. Sure, the naysayers are out in force, but it's entirely predictable that they would be. A technology's early days are the safest time for naysayers, as this is when all new technologies inevitably struggle. It wasn't so long ago that the DVD-Video detractors were out in force, and I think we all know how that turned out. Am I saying high-resolution/multichannel audio will ultimately have the impact of DVD-Video? Hardly, at least not in these videocentric times. Am I saying that SACD and DVD-Audio will change the world? Obviously not. But I am saying that it doesn't make much sense to dismiss a technology, or technologies, before they've had a chance to show what they can really do.

Chris Chiarella Posted: May 01, 2004 0 comments
Where's the DVR? Come to think of it, where isn't the DVR?

Amazing but true, many TiVo and ReplayTV owners out there just see the devices as neat, little living-room boxes that record their television programs, and they simply don't care about the technology inside. Thanks to steady improvements in digital-video-recorder technology, consumers don't have to care if they don't want to. Not to be like that weirdo in the mask and spoil the magic trick, but there's a simple hard disk drive inside—in many cases, the same exact brand and model you have inside your PC. However, while computer-based "video capture" applications seem to have plateaued in terms of features and convenience (at least for now), the more user-friendly dedicated DVR hardware has undergone some interesting transformations, in and out of the home theater.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 01, 2004 0 comments
The DVD-V3800 combines popular technologies from yesterday and today.

Samsung was the first to market with a backwards-compatible, single-box DVD/VHS combi player a few years ago. It's still a hot product as consumers continue to wrestle with the whole VHS-versus-DVD quandary. Most manufacturers keep upping the ante in small ways, adding this output or that performance enhancement on the digital half—there's only so much room for improvement on a standard VHS recorder, after all—without really rocking the multimedia boat. Finally going a step further, Samsung has incorporated a multi-format flash-memory card reader into the top-of-the-line model in their recent wave of value decks.

Benjamin Dover Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
You can have it all (almost).

If you're like me, you're sick and tired of format wars. When will these companies learn that having to choose between formats only leads to consumer frustration and, sometimes, outright rebellion? Perhaps this is why DVD-Audio and SACD have not taken off like their proponents might have wished. And perhaps this is why several companies have introduced universal players that will play both formats in addition to DVD-Video and good ol' CD.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 01, 2004 0 comments
Pioneer and TiVo go on the record.

It baffles me that the digital video recorder hasn't caught on with mainstream consumers. Everyone I know who's spent 10 minutes with one of these gems is instantly addicted. It has a VCR's functionality, a digital cable box's user-friendliness, and a computer's brain. As far as I can tell, only two things are preventing the DVR from making it big: price and permanent storage.

Joel Brinkley Posted: Jan 04, 2004 0 comments

Five years ago, Panasonic produced the very first DTV receiver set-top box. All of the company's succeeding generations of these products have been among the best. The latest incarnation, the surprisingly small and inexpensive TU-DST52, is no exception.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
A Combi for Everyone

It's finally happened. No longer does the desire for high-resolution audio mean that you must decide between two formats or max out your credit card on one of the high-end combi units. With the DV-563A, Pioneer has released a DVD player that not only offers progressive scanning and multichannel SACD and DVD-Audio playback, but it costs only slightly more than an entry-level DVD player. The difference in price is so slight that anyone looking for a DVD player would be insane not to look at the DV-563A. Keep reading because, believe it or not, the review's not over.

Peter Putman Posted: Oct 27, 2003 0 comments

As the US stumbles forth into the age of digital television, Zenith is pretty much sitting in the catbird seat. That's not because Zenith and its parent company, LG Electronics, make a slew of HDTV-ready monitors, integrated HDTVs, plasma displays, and LCD TVs (they do); nor is it because they're one of two major manufacturers of ATSC set-top receivers (they are). It's because Zenith holds the patents on the 8VSB modulation system employed for terrestrial digital television. As each new Zenith receiver and integrated HDTV comes to market, the company is pretty much in the lead with the latest 8VSB demodulator chipsets.

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