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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
Pioneer's latest isn't just a plasma, it's an HDTV.

For a display to be called an HDTV, it has to have a built-in ATSC tuner. Many of the RPTVs in last month's Face Off were so equipped, but Pioneer's Elite PRO-1110HD is the first plasma we've reviewed that has one. It seems so simple, especially when you consider that this plasma (like others) has an external box for all of its inputs. How hard could it be to stick a tuner in there? Shoehorns are cheap. In fact, Pioneer has included ATSC tuners in all four of their new plasma sets.

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.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
Little speakers with big aspirations.

It must be something of a conundrum for speaker designers: Today's buyers are demanding more and more from smaller and smaller speakers. The designers' incredible shrinking speakers work their mojo with ever-more-innovative cabinet designs, and their high-tech drivers push the performance envelope. At least that's what they tell me. No doubt some of their more-extreme claims are jive techno babble, but that's OK—the sonic truth will inevitably be laid bare when the pedal hits the metal on the Fast and the Furious DVD. The pint-size speakers better deliver the goods. . .or else.

Chris Lewis Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
Another contender emerges among entry-level separates.

In case you hadn't noticed, the bell has rung, and the blows are flying in the $3,000-to-$5,000 range for electronics systems (i.e., preamplification, processing, and amplification). It's easy to characterize this as a melee between receivers and separates, which is a key component of what we're seeing at this price level. Receivers are sounding better and getting more expensive; separates are getting more user-friendly, offering more features, and dropping in price.

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Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments

Sony is angling for a big slice of the home theater market with its new product lineup. At a late February retailers' showcase held in New York, the manufacturing giant trotted out no fewer than 12 new integrated HDTV sets and two new high-definition digital video recorders.

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Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments

Format wars got you down? Steven Stone settles in with the <A HREF="/dvdplayers/104lexicon">Lexicon RT-10 universal disc player</A> to see if you can have it all in one box. As SS notes, the RT-10 performs well with "All discs great and small."

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments

HD-DVD is ahead by a nose in its race against Blu-ray. On Wednesday, February 25, the 20-member steering committee of the DVD Forum voted to approve technology developed by Toshiba and NEC for use in the coming generation of high density/high definition DVD recorders.

Steven Stone Posted: Feb 29, 2004 0 comments

One of the many reasons for home theaters' vexing complexity stems from the 5-inch discs that contain the vast majority of program material. Few players are made to handle the new, mutually incompatible formats of DVD-Audio and SACD along with DVD-Video and conventional CD. You can't expect an unsophisticated user to know what discs will and won't work in a particular player. The solution is simple: Short of a PB&J sandwich, a home-theater disc player should be able to handle anything loaded into its tray. A universal player is a necessary and fundamental building block of an ergonomically friendly home theater.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 29, 2004 0 comments

<B><I>Raiders of the Lost Ark</I></B>
<I>Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliot. 115 minutes. 1981. PG.</I>
<I>Picture</I> ***
<I>Sound</I> ** 1/2
<I>Film</I> *** 1/2