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SV Staff Posted: Jan 05, 2002 0 comments

Panasonic With portable music players, the question is, how small can you get? About 1 5/8 x 1 3/4 x 5/8 inch, according to Panasonic, whose SV-SD80 digital audio player, shown larger-than-life below, weighs less than an ounce. It uses postage-stamp-size Secure Digital (SD) memory cards and can play music encoded in the MP3, WMA, and AAC formats.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 05, 2002 0 comments

At least some things in life are predictable. And one of them is the progression of value-added features in consumer electronics.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 05, 2002 0 comments

Other than cable companies' refusal to carry digital television signals, the biggest obstacle to growing the DTV market has been reception problems.

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Posted: Jan 05, 2002 0 comments

Despite competitive pressure from direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services, cable providers have managed to push subscription rates up faster than the pace of inflation, according to a report issued by the Federal Communications Commission at the beginning of January.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 05, 2002 0 comments

Most home-theater fans are aware that flat-screen televisions and monitors are the hottest products on the market. How hot? Try an almost 400% surge in sales for 2002, compared to the previous year.

Chris Lewis Posted: Jan 03, 2002 Published: Jan 04, 2002 0 comments
The basics of bass management.

Bass: It is undoubtedly the most misunderstood aspect of a home theater system's performance and, in some ways, the least appreciated—especially among the higher-end ranks. Bass' bad rap (no pun intended) derives from a number of sources, but its fundamental undoing is its poor implementation in the vast majority of audio systems—from the genius who cruises around with 10 $50 monotone subwoofers in the trunk of his car to the home theater owner who hasn't put forth the considerable time and effort it takes to properly calibrate low-frequency output. Poor-quality subs, of which there is no shortage, are as much to blame in this situation as user error. The bottom line is that quality bass performance is critical to any audio, music, or home theater system, and its journey begins long before the signals ever reach our speakers.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Jan 03, 2002 Published: Jan 04, 2002 0 comments
The receiver drum beats on.

In case you hadn't noticed, the receiver market is proceeding at a breakneck pace. It almost seems as though new models are hitting the store shelves every month. Hardly a year goes by in which each receiver manufacturer doesn't introduce new models, if not entirely new lines. Part of this phenomenon is based on the rapid expansion of processing options and other technologies, and part of it is simply business as usual in the receiver game. Receiver buyers, in general, have always seemed to focus on features, options, and having the latest technology at their fingertips—no matter what. As we know, receiver manufacturers are more than happy to oblige.

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Kevin Miller Posted: Jan 03, 2002 Published: Jan 04, 2002 0 comments
Welcome to a new era of DLP performance.

In terms of video performance, DLP-projection technology for home theater applications has just taken a major leap forward. Sharp's new XV-Z9000U is the first DLP projector based on Texas Instruments' new native 16:9, 1,280-by-720-resolution chip. This projector promises to radically change the front-projector market, as it offers unprecedented picture quality in its product category at a very reasonable price. At a list price of $10,995, the XV-Z9000U comes close to delivering the same picture quality as 7- and 8-inch CRT-based front projectors that range in price from $15,000 to $30,000. The XV-Z9000U is one of those rare products in the home theater industry that elevates its category to a performance level that many of us previously thought was unachievable.

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William Finch Posted: Jan 03, 2002 Published: Jan 04, 2002 0 comments
The PL-61cx's 61-inch screen size and impressive features package put this panel in a class by itself.

Plasma, that sexy, newfangled display technology, is growing by leaps and bounds. Not long ago, 42-inch-diagonal, 16:9 panels were the only game in town. Then came the 50-inch HD-ready models from a small handful of manufacturers. Now, we're seeing a few behemoth models in the 60- and 61-inch categories from a few bold manufacturers like Marantz, Zenith, LG, and NEC. Runco has also jumped into the fray with the PlasmaWall PL-61cx, a 61-inch panel and the subject of today's review.

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Mike Wood Posted: Dec 29, 2001 Published: Dec 30, 2001 0 comments
The Piano HE-3100 DLP projector is such a bargain, you can add fries and a Coke.

Let's face it. Cheeseburgers, at least to low-income-bracket electronics reviewers, are one of three perfect foods (pizza and beer being the other two). So, I greatly anticipated tasting southwest-U.S.-based fast-food chain Carl's Jr.'s Six-Dollar Burger . . . for $3.95. Supposedly, we can now have the same-quality burger normally found at Chili's or T.G.I. Friday's or wherever, but for less money. It was with much the same anticipation that I looked upon PLUS Corporation's announcement that they would market a $3,000 DLP projector, dubbed the Piano. Since most home-theater-based DLP projectors, like the ones in our recent Face Off (October 2001), cost around $10,000, $3,000 seemed like a pretty tasty deal.

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