OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Steve Baldwin Posted: Jul 02, 2001 Published: Jul 03, 2001 0 comments
Comparing the Incomparable? The Philips SACD 1000 ushers SACD into the world of multichannel audio. Does this bring the high-resolution format closer to DVD-Audio or drive them farther apart?

Apples and oranges are both great, but generally you like one or the other better. Sure, they're both fruits, and they're both sort of round, but there are lots of things you'd do with one and not the other. Ever mix vodka with apple juice? I haven't either, although the mere thought brings a shudder. Ever tried orange sauce with pork chops? Not likely.

Chris Lewis Posted: Jul 02, 2001 Published: Jul 03, 2001 0 comments
The Highs and Lows of Super Audio: Sony's SCD-CE775 five-disc SACD player offers high resolution for a low price.

We know all too well that there are lots of new formats out there. We also know firsthand that this means a lot of spending and a whole lot of studying to try to keep pace. If everything falls into place as it should, there will come a day a couple of years from now when you'll slide into that easy chair, throw some high-definition television on the screen or some high-resolution audio into the speakers, and smile from ear to ear, wondering how you ever lived without either. No one ever said change was easy; however, from what I've seen and (more importantly) heard over the past couple of years, I have no doubt that this change will be worth it.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 28, 2001 Published: Jun 29, 2001 0 comments
Move over, Volvo. There's a new Swedish import to love.

I used to be one of those snide individuals who took joy in deriding people who drove Volvos. In my admittedly limited experience, a swiftly moving Volvo was invariably piloted by an aggressive female hell-bent on a mission to get Junior to his soccer game or Missy to her Brownie troop meeting on time. In the minds of these monomaniacal matriarchs, the brakes included on the vehicle were exclusively for emergencies. Then, through a curious train of events, I became the owner of a used Volvo 740GL. Despite some of its nagging proclivities—like spending more time parked in the mechanic's garage than in mine—I became quite enamored of that car. Its boxy shape and heavily overbuilt feel made it a deeply comforting and enjoyable automobile in which to travel. I'm not talking the plush and cushy kind of comfort here. This was more the secure and stable kind of comfort.

Mike Wood Posted: Mar 31, 2001 Published: Apr 01, 2001 0 comments
High-end, high-definition satellite thrills.

The press has lamented the lack of HDTV programming for far too long. In reality, there's a reasonable amount of HDTV broadcasts right now—enough to warrant the purchase of an HDTV, anyway. You just have to know where to look for it. In certain areas, you can get most of CBS's prime-time lineup, as well as various shows and movies from NBC and ABC. Almost anywhere in the country, there are at least two cable networks, Showtime and HBO, and one pay-per-view channel that broadcast HDTV signals. Granted, there isn't as much high-def programming as there is NTSC programming and you can't get it from cable, but who needs cable when you can have satellite?

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 28, 2001 Published: Mar 01, 2001 0 comments
A mean machine isn't a lean machine.

I hate going shopping by myself. I don't know whether it's the result of nature or nurture (after mapping the human genome, maybe they'll discover a treatment for the cheapskate gene), but I am often afflicted with serious outbreaks of miserable, miserly thriftiness. At its worst, it can make an innocent trip to the grocery store a torturous hell—as I rub brain cells raw attempting to mathematically determine, among other things, which roll of toilet paper provides the best deal per square foot. Considering my penchant for the finer-but-cheaper things in life, I should be absolutely thrilled by the vertiginous free-fall of prices on entry-level DVD players over the last few years. It wasn't that long ago that the least expensive DVD player would set you back $1,000 or more. Today, it took me fewer than 10 minutes to track down a DVD player selling for less than $120 at a national retailer. While the available information on this machine was pretty sparse, I'd be shocked if it weighed more than five or six pounds. Giving it the weighty benefit of a very generous doubt, six pounds brings the cost of the player in at just under $20 per pound. That's a lot to pay for a roll of Charmin, but it's dirt-cheap for a DVD player. Interestingly, I've noticed that low-end DVD players and cheap toilet paper share a close correlation: The lower the price, the thinner and lighter each one gets. At some point, the performance of both really begins to suffer.

Mike Wood Posted: Feb 28, 2001 Published: Mar 01, 2001 0 comments
Toshiba's SD-9200 and Onkyo's DV-S939 are part of a new breed of what might as well be called "super" DVD players. Like a handful of others, they're high-quality DVD players that offer a progressive-scan video output and can decode the high-resolution audio signal from DVD-Audio recordings. With the category becoming almost appliancelike, these players are a welcome addition to any writer's queue of review products.
Posted: Jan 31, 2001 Published: Feb 01, 2001 0 comments
The Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD/DVD player proves you can increase a product's value and raise the price at the same time.

Sign up for a Vons-supermarket club card today, and you can purchase a name-brand DVD player for $170! It's true. We saw it with our own eyes.

Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 27, 2000 Published: Dec 28, 2000 0 comments
Progressive isn't just a buzzword anymore.

The march of technology has always been a double-edged sword. On one edge, progress brings new and, on most occasions, better products that give us a higher-quality viewing and listening experience with more options, increased ease of use, etc. On the other edge, new technology has a way of making its predecessors (that we often paid a lot of money for) old-fashioned at best—and, at worst, obsolete. Technology manufacturers do seem to be getting more empathetic about this. Computers are considerably more upgradeable than they were a few short years ago. Even in the consumer electronics world, we're seeing more and more attention being paid to futureproofing the current crop of upgradeable preamplifier/processors and televisions—two product groups that are probably the most susceptible to change these days. As tough as deciding what to buy in any technology-based market is determining when is the best time to buy it.

Mike Wood Posted: Dec 27, 2000 Published: Dec 28, 2000 0 comments
Recordable DVD . . . Need We Say More? Probably.

Here it is. The moment you've been waiting for. Recordable DVD! That's right. That last remaining excuse for you not to buy a DVD player has finally been expunged, at least to some extent. While they made announcements at last January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, manufacturers are just now following through on their release plans for recordable DVD players. As usual, the excuse was copyright issues, that never-ending thorn in home theater's side. Panasonic finally sent us a sample of the DMR-E10 DVD-RAM player, which should be available for the holiday season and, if nothing else, is just one of the coolest products to come along since DVD first came out.

Bruce Fordyce Posted: Apr 28, 2000 Published: Apr 29, 2000 0 comments
Finally, you can store all your movies in one tidy, little box— Sony's DVP-CX850D 200-disc changer. Among DVD's grand promises are not just CD-quality sound and 500-line picture resolution but the ability to finally store all your movies in one small, tidy box. Such is the accomplishment of the Sony DVP-CX850D 200-disc DVD/CD changer. Imagine being able to hold 200 movies within a 7.5- by 17- by 19-inch package. The equivalent stack of VHS tapes makes for a 16-foot skyscraper that's neither practical nor elegant. For the average suburban home-movie enthusiast, the ability to store a complete studio of movie (and music) software in a rack-mountable changer goes a long way toward promoting marital (or cohabitant) bliss...or at least a defendable détente. If you're a big-time collector and have more than 200 disc titles, the DVP-CX850D can be daisy-chained to another appropriately equipped changer. Priced at $899, the DVP-CX850D is lavished with so many technical features that filtering it down to a 1,200-word review is an exercise in minimalism, but here goes.
Mike Wood Posted: Feb 28, 2000 Published: Feb 29, 2000 0 comments
Mike Wood Conducts a Five-Way Face Off of Step-Up DVD Players. Christmas may be over, but tax day is only a few months away. You know what that means? Refunds! Assuming you file your tax return correctly (or cheat), you should be getting some money back, and we know just the way to spend it: Buy a new DVD player! This format has skyrocketed by leaps and bounds. By this, I don't mean the typical "Well gee, DVD has started off better than CD's or VHS's launch," even though it has. I'm talking the "according to one source, DVD sales are up at least 300 percent over last year" kind of skyrocketing. Three-hundred percent! Everyone else is obviously doing it, so why aren't you? If you haven't witnessed the startling visual and audio clarity available with the shiny little discs, you need to jump on the bandwagon.
Mike McGann Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Real high-definition audio that everyone can appreciate.

Consumer-electronics writers are a curious group. We'll look at a product on paper and decide whether it's going to be any good long before we actually get our hands on the gear. That's not a very shocking admission. Think about it: You see Kevin Costner is making another baseball movie, and you have to figure it will be decent. It's sort of the same process for writers. Being cynical, most of us writer types looked at Sony's SACD format on paper and agreed it would probably sound good, as long as it's surrounded by good-enough gear to bring out the difference over traditional CDs and maybe even the long-awaited DVD-Audio. Some even argued that the product is of questionable value, since it's only aimed at the high-end, tube-amp crowd. Why muddy the water? Why mess things up for the upcoming (and more-mainstream) DVD-Audio? Isn't Sony just being arrogant?

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