This past winter, my wife and I spent three wonderful weeks touring Italy. Although traveling abroad always provides interesting experiences, we stumbled across some peculiarities that really showed we weren't in America anymore. For one, the cost of a cappuccino is directly related to where you drink it. Stand at the counter, and it might be $1.50.
If you're one of the three people in the world - and that includes me - who don't yet have an iPod, here's yet another reason to go out and get one. Griffen Technology, Inc., a company that makes all sorts of very cool computer-related accessories, has announced that they're now shipping the SmartDeck Intelligent Cassette Adapter for iPod.
Hard-core movie watchers may never get up off the couch (or comfy recliner) now that D-BOX Technologies, Inc. has introduced the Quest X3ME. (D-BOX says you're supposed to pronounce "X3ME" as "extreme". To me it looks more like "ex cubed me", which sounds like what someone with a bad cold says after they sneeze on you, but it's their product so we'll let them say it any way they want.)
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.
After more years writing about sound technology than I care to count, I've had two revelations of note: A full 5.1-channel speaker system is too much for some people, while, for many of those same folks, traditional stereo just isn't enough. With content—movies and games—growing ever more sophisticated, we need adequate gear on which to enjoy it. However, not everyone has the space, the budget, or even the basic technical know-how to wire five speakers and a subwoofer.
Most audio/video buffs would agree that the most frustrating thing about having a home theater is the loss of coffee-table space. Magazines have been replaced by numerous remotes to control receivers, televisions, DVRs, DVD players, even air conditioners. On occasion, one of these remotes might be able to control multiple components, but it's rare that a single remote will be compatible with every component in your system. Hence the market for universal remotes. We've all seen them, either on the racks at electronics stores for $30 or reviewed here, retailing in the neighborhood of $700. However, many of us are hesitant to spend more on a remote than on a DVD player. But don't panic. Those $30 remotes may be just the thing you and your coffee table are looking for. Some of them are easy enough to use that any non-buffs in your household won't have to go back to school for their electrical-engineering degrees.
More TV than you can shake a really, really big stick at.
You know what? This is a big TV—deceptively big. The cabinet that surrounds the screen is so thin that, at first glance, the display doesn't appear that large. In our studio, it's sitting next to a 55-inch display that I'm reviewing for an upcoming issue, and it is positively dwarfed by the 70-inch JVC. Compared with a 50-inch plasma, which would be a fair comparison from a price standpoint, the HD-70G886 has nearly twice the overall screen area, and it has almost three times the area of a 42-inch display. Kinda makes you want to second-guess that plasma purchase, doesn't it?
This is an interesting time for display manufacturers. On the one hand, the HD and flat-panel revolutions have energized the market. People are truly excited to buy TVs again. On the other hand, competition is fierce. It seems like a new TV manufacturer pops up every day to capitalize on the flat-panel frenzy.