LATEST ADDITIONS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 28, 2005 2 comments

You could write a book about how loudspeakers work in real-world listening rooms. In fact, many experts have. And while they may differ on many of the details, I suspect they will all agree on one point: The room-loudspeaker interface remains most neglected link in the audio reproduction chain.

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Posted: Dec 26, 2005 0 comments

<B>2009 Hard Date Set For DTV Transition</B>
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Just in time for Christmas both branches of Congress agreed in late December to a February 18th, 2009 "hard date" for the DTV transition. This will not only end analog transmissions in the US, but will also free up analog spectrum for emergency first responders and also reap an enormous windfall of cash to the federal government when it auctions off the remaining analog spectrum by January of 2008.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 24, 2005 0 comments

Manufacturers of many types of goods, from mattresses to consumer electronics, sell different products through different distribution channels. One channel might be the big chains like Best Buy and Circuit City. Another might be higher-end, specialty retailers like Harvey's and Tweeter, Etc. Yet another might be custom installers. In fact, some brands, like Triad, are available exclusively through the custom installers. You can't buy them at retail.

Posted: Dec 24, 2005 0 comments

A few years and a publication ago, I reviewed Arcam's FMJ AV8 controller and was frankly bowled over. At $5k I thought the AV8's detailed and dynamic sound made more expensive controllers a much harder bargain than before, and I recommended and continue to recommend that controller to anyone shopping in that price range. Enter Moore's law.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 23, 2005 4 comments

Going ape over that last minute gift for the home theater enthusiast? Or looking to drop a hint on a gift for yourself? Check out Universal's recent release, <I>King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries</I>. Boxed in a faux-antique file briefcase that someone was paid entirely too much money to design and that you'll probably ditch anyway because it won't fit on your bookshelf, this set contains a production memoir, four limited edition prints (my signed Certificate of Authenticity is number 32,786!), and, most important, two DVDs filled with behind the scenes production material on the making of the film.

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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 0 comments

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) made good on its <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/news/111705hpbluray">threat</A>, announcing that it will support HD DVD as well as Blu-ray Disc as the next generation optical disc format. HP had previously supported Sony’s Blu-ray Disc format exclusively, but has apparently jumped ship over the Blu-ray Disc Association’s (BDA) refusal to adopt the iHD interactivity layer into Blu-ray’s standards.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 22, 2005 0 comments
So little, yet so big.

Flat-panel TVs—both plasma and LCD—are wall candy. I've never heard anyone say, "I'm going to buy a plasma TV because the picture looks so much better than what you get from a (fill in your favorite display technology acronym here) projection TV." Nope. People buy flat-panel TVs for one or more of three reasons: they're thin; they're cool; and, boy, do they make your friends RGB with envy. Half a millennium ago, I'm sure that people who could afford it covered their walls with the finest tapestries for exactly the same reasons. Is it any wonder then that panel after panel goes into homes with teeny, tiny, embarrassingly little home-theater-in-a-grocery-bag speakers next to them—or simply with no speakers at all? I blame the salespeople (or lack thereof). I blame the imperialistic, aggressive TV manufacturers who would have us all on bended knee in subservience to the great, glowing flat-panel on the wall. (Talk about must-see TV. . .) And I blame AM talk radio for convincing people that the idea of really good audio cohabitating with nice video is just another wacko liberal concept that will undermine this country. (Yeah, I have issues.)

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments

There’s no better way to make yourself seem foolish than by trying to predict the future, but if I limit myself to one year, how far off can I be?

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments
A "budget" Panasonic plasma HDTV?

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical. Or perhaps wary is a better description. Thirteen months ago, in these very pages, I reviewed a stellar Panasonic plasma, the TH-42PX25. It had the best black level and contrast ratio to date for a plasma. We even gave it our Best Flat-Panel Display RAVE Award for 2005. It was $6,000. A mere year later, its replacement model—the TH-42PX500U—has almost identical specs and is $3,500. My penchant for sushi notwithstanding, I was expecting something fishy.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments
Quality drivers in quality cabinets equals quality sound—at a nice price.

It's easy to find your eyes dazzled, and your mind befuddled, by the outpouring of new speakers over the last few years, particularly those of the nontraditional variety. In-walls, plasma-friendly speakers, and even flat-panel speakers are all the rage with the general public. This is hardly a bad thing—anything that can get people to recognize that the speaker realm extends far beyond the two-dollar paper drivers in their televisions serves a valuable purpose. Many of these people may also come to realize that, at this point, most of these recent unconventional designs embody some degree of compromise, and they hopefully won't fall victim to the dreaded anything-that-is-new-is-better philosophy. It is true that manufacturers are getting more out of unconventional designs than ever before. But, generally speaking, the best speaker sound still comes out of old-fashioned cone drivers and dome tweeters in cabinets with the proper interior and exterior qualities, along with the proper space for them to do their work.

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