Anyone who has ever shopped for A/V equipment knows the pain of having to choose between two (or more) pieces of gear. Although each one may be almost exactly what you wanted, neither is 100 percent perfect in terms of features and performance. A new web-based build-to-order product configuration tool from Integra and Integra Research aims to eliminate such buying dilemmas.
Like most people planning on "popping the question," I wanted everything to be perfect the night I asked my wife to marry me. We started the evening with coffee at the café in San Francisco where we met, followed by dinner where we had our first date, then Phantom of the Opera, and finally dessert at a restaurant overlooking the city.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.sw.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=200 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Most of the content on this Web site concerns how to get the most out of watching movies in a home theater. However, I readily admit that I spend most of my tube time watching television programming, both HD and SD. Now, don't get me wrong—I love watching a fine film from a high-quality DVD on a big screen with surround sound in cozy comfort. But I also love to watch TV, and a quality home theater system enhances this pastime as well.
With all the hoopla surrounding digital rights management (DRM), which strives to protect A/V content from being illegally copied in the digital domain, there's been little attention paid to copies made from analog outputs. That could soon change if the recent agreements between Macrovision and Microsoft are any indication.
After many years in plasma-manufacturing partnership, Fujitsu and Hitachi have agreed to change their relationship. Specifically, Hitachi will acquire Fujitsu's stock in Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited (FHP) as well as Fujitsu's plasma display panel (PDP) technology patents. Once both companies have provided financial assistance to eliminate FHP's excessive debt by the end of March, the stock transfer will proceed quickly, making FHP a consolidated subsidiary of Hitachi.
The most expensive and problematic component of any home theater system is the room. Changing speakers or electronics seems like child's play compared with trying to change the room in an attempt to tame its resonant frequency nodes (areas where certain frequencies are cancelled) and antinodes (areas of reinforcement). Correcting a room electronically is a far more practical solution to most rooms' problems.
When I reviewed two of the Harmony universal remotes, then offered by Intrigue Technologies, in the "Cross Currents" column of UAV's July/August 2004 issue, I was thrilled with their many important innovations. However, I was less than thrilled with their design and button layout, which prevented my unreserved recommendation.
Philips' latest touch-screen remote control, the RC9800i, is part of the company's Connected Planet concept that aims to provide easy access to and control of digital entertainment from home entertainment components, the PC, and the Internet. In addition to controlling legacy and networked audio/video devices, the RC9800i includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) connectivity that can be used for accessing PC multimedia files as well as Internet content.
At a time when the world is pondering the potential of 50 GB of storage on a high-definition Blu-ray disc (around 40 GB for the HD DVD format), marketing for a prerecorded 8 cm (approximately 3 inches) standard-definition Mini-DVD format is about to be unleashed. Although playable on standard DVD players, movies and other video content on Mini-DVDs are really meant to be viewed on special hand-held Mini-DVD players.
There's no question that a DVD will look great on a widescreen HDTV, especially if your player happens to be a progressive-scan model. But with razor-sharp high-definition movies regularly showing on cable, satellite, and even broadcast TV, DVD has started to lose a bit of its luster.