Even before Apple's iPod changed the way we listen to music on the go, audio hard-disk recorders - also called music servers - were altering how we store and listen to music at home. When ReQuest Multimedia christened the category with its ARQ1 some five years ago, the promise of putting away all your CDs and having any song accessible by the push of a button seemed too good to be true.
Digital Eden's promise is that all of your music, photo, and video files would be available to you from any room in the house. Your TV would be a giant iPod-like screen, letting you scroll through your collection to find whatever strikes your mood.
About 73% of the country is watching cable TV these days. And as HDTV has caught on with this crowd, so have digital cable boxes that include TiVo-like hard-disk recorders for high-def programming. But these boxes, built almost exclusively by either Scientific-Atlanta or Motorola, have drawbacks: limited capacity, a less-than-elegant user interface, and, of course, a monthly lease.
"Home theater in a box" - to me, that phrase conjures up cheap, all-in-one packages with a combo DVD player/receiver, tiny speakers, and an underpowered amp crammed into a "bass module." But it can also be stretched to mean a high-quality system whose components are designed to work together in a turn-key fashion, which saves you from racking your brains about which receiver goes best with what
You've made three El Mariachi and three Spy Kids films, and now I hear you're making Sin City 2 and Sin City 3. What is it about trilogies that you find so attractive? I was glad when I did Once Upon a Time in Mexico because it made El Mariachi and Desperado feel more complete to me.
VIDEO PERFORMANCEColor temperature (Ideal color temperature and contrast before calibration/User color temperature and Ideal contrast after calibration) Low window (30-IRE): 7,534/6,477 K High window (80-IRE): 7,385/6,556 K Brightness (100-IRE window before/after calibration): 51.4/48.5 ftL
As I unpacked the box, I kept asking myself, "Yes, but where are all the speakers?" Your friends will ask, too, when they see the SurroundWorks 200 from Cambridge SoundWorks - and might wonder if you've decamped from the 21st century and returned to the days of mono.
When someone says he's an accountant, a stockbroker, or a trash collector (excuse me, "Sanitation Engineer"), you know what he does for a living. But when I say I'm a custom electronics installer, I usually get a blank stare in return.
Jarring juxtapositions of technology and design might work for the sets in a Tim Burton movie, but they usually don't for someone's home. Many custom installers find that adding high-tech gear to an older house with a well-defined architectural style can be daunting because the technology can clash with or overpower the traditional design.
Five years ago, if you'd asked a home theater nut if you could play Metal Gear Solid on his 50-inch screen, he probably would have beaten you about the head and neck with a copy of the Die Hard trilogy and banished you from the room.
We've added three products to The List for October. Printer specialist HP put a color scientist in charge of creating the company's first rear-projection TV, a 65-inch 1080p monster no less, and just about slam-dunked it. Escient gets a nod for making its highly evolved FireBall music-server technology available for half the cost of prior models.
Nothing beats using home movies to evaluate TVs. You choose what to shoot so you can stress a specific aspect of screen performance. Since you're the cameraman, you know precisely what each scene is supposed to look like.
The days of going to an electronics store, choosing from a lineup of components, and carrying your selection out to the trunk of your car might be fading fast. We now want our entertainment with us all the time, wherever we go, but few of us have the time to wade through the overwhelming proliferation of gear being created to address that desire.