Normally, <I>UAV</I> wouldn't pay much attention to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, May 17-20, 2005. But at this year's show, there were some announcements that perked up my ears a bit: new game consoles from the Big Three (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo), at least some of which will have high-def capabilities, making them much more interesting to home theater buffs.
For a long time, flat-panel TVs were linked with the future in the popular imagination. And when they finally became a reality, they were still out of reach for most people, costing ten grand or more. But these days it's a different world. For less than $3,000, you can bring home a 42-inch plasma HDTV.
Over 10 million of them have been sold, and it seems like everybody has one. Some are pink, some are green, some are blue, some are black, but most are white. Owners caress them, lovingly running their fingers back and forth across "my precious." Some can hold 10,000 of your favorite songs, and they'll follow you wherever you go.
Tony Hawk became the world's most famous skateboarder by "going big" and performing maneuvers no one else had even thought of. But when it came to his new home, the avowed "electronics nut" decided that less is more. Hawk in front of his home theater system.
This universal disc changer makes beautiful music.
As most of the world scurries down the MP3 hole, gobbling up low-quality music files for the sake of convenience, I prefer the loftier heights of DVD-Audio and SACD. Not only are these formats of a higher quality than CD (not to mention a much higher quality than MP3), they offer multichannel mixes that make full use of 5.1-channel home theater audio systems. And, with a universal disc player, I can buy the music I want to hear, regardless of the format on which it is released.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.jb.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=196 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>These are days of uncertainty and foment in the world of digital television. Everything seems to be in flux—except the sales figures for digital TVs. They are on an inexorable climb north. But consider some of the other debates festering under the glitter that manufacturers like to throw into the air.
Stand-alone DTV tuners may become an extinct species in the not-too-distant future, when the government's mandate to include one in almost every television takes effect in the months ahead. But for now, several million people own high-definition monitors that cannot receive free, over-the-air digital broadcasts without an outboard box. Some of these monitors are still for sale. As an example, Fujitsu still sells plasma monitors.
At the Media-Tech Expo in Las Vegas last week, Toshiba announced the development of a triple-layer HD DVD-ROM (read-only) disc with a data capacity of 45GB, which is enough to hold 12 hours of high-definition content on a single disc. The new disc joins the existing HD DVD lineup that includes 15GB (single-layer, single-sided) and 30GB (dual-layer, single-sided) versions.
It was a night like any other Hollywood premier: lavish parties, hundreds of fans crowding police barricades surrounding the theater, stars sauntering down the red carpet, paparazzi yelling at them: "Turn to the right! No, <I>my</I> right!" But few premiers feature Imperial Storm Troopers, Wookies, and Darth Vader himself working the crowd.
New TV technologies crop up almost as often as new reality-TV shows, but among all the Celebrity Fear Factors, Obnoxious Bosses, and Strange Loves, there's only one American Idol - the kind of show that can save a network and bury the competition.