My medication is obviously not working because I'm still talking to myself. Marveling at the redesigned PlayStation 2's jaw-droppingly slender form factor for about 10 minutes straight, I caught myself actually saying "Wow" out loud, even though I was alone. It's comparable in size to a paperback book, but it reminds me more of a portable DVD player, sans screen, in black. While some of the accessories designed for use with the original PS2 are not compatible with this new design (the vertical stand and the Multitap to allow four players instead of the standard two, although new versions of each are now available), I was happy to find that my step-up Monster Game products all still fit. The digital optical cable and component video adapter plugged into the obvious places, while the replacement AC cable now patches into the breakout AC adapter (the 8.5-volt power supply is now located outside the console, which is another secret to the PS2's profound weight loss). At just 2 pounds, it's half as heavy as its former incarnation and takes up one-quarter the space, leaving me with vast amounts of open air in my under-TV gear stack after a quick, new-for-old PS2 swap. I do wish it had a catchier moniker, rather than simply "the 70000 Series."
If you're going to mess with the Kenwood HTB-S715DV, better put on your game face. This home-theater-in-a-box comes to play. The HTB-S715DV blends a 6.1-channel surround package with creature-comfort features for the gamer of the house. It's a modern-day multitasker, too. While you're grooving to "Nasty Girl," your favorite little game-boy or game-girl can play Pikmin 2 on the big screen while immersed, oblivious to the outside world, in the gaming sounds of the HTB-S715DV's Dolby Headphone technology.
It's a speaker system away from an HTIB, with more bang for the buck.
Back in the days before HTIBs, there was another kind of home-theater-in-a-box—better known as an A/V receiver. In this era of consolidation, we probably don't entirely grasp the impact that A/V receivers had when they debuted some 25 years ago. A preamplifier, processor, and amplifier all in one box (literally), with a radio tuner thrown in for good measure, was impressive stuff back in the early '80s. Receivers were the Swiss Army knives of home audio, and they, along with surround sound itself, are probably as responsible as anything for the audio explosion amongst the masses that we now know as home theater.
Here's a tip for home theater newbies: Don't shop for speakers using just your eyes. That advice holds true for any speaker, regardless of size or price; when it comes to what we euphemistically refer to as "lifestyle" speakers, though, please try to listen before you make a purchase, or you'll deserve what you get. Lifestyle-inflicted design compromises too often exact a toll on performance—skinny towers can sound undernourished, wall-mounted speakers can produce pancake-flat imaging, and pint-size satellites can come up short.
As a reviewer, my life is hard. I have to sit in air-conditioned rooms watching movies all day long. It's a tough job, but I labor through it just for you, our fearless reader. A bad day could be one where the product is cranky, doesn't calibrate well, or, even after a fair amount of tinkering, still only looks OK (or worse). Writing those reviews is "fun." Then there are the days when I get to sit down with a product like this one. This means day after day of coming to work, enjoying a few movies and TV, all on a display that, out of the box, looks fantastic.
If you know your history, then you already know that the Canadians and the English can do some good things when they get together. While we were taking care of our business down at Utah and Omaha, the Canadians and the Brits were giving the Germans a pretty good working-over of their own up the beach at Normandy. They even teamed up rather effectively against us during the American Revolution and War of 1812, managing to hang on to Canada despite our various efforts to take it and, in the process, preserving one of England's last real toeholds in the New World.
It's been a long, hard road for TiVo, the company that started the digital video recorder (DVR) revolution. Even though the name has become a household word (as both a noun and a verb), TiVo has struggled to stay afloat since it was founded in 1997. In fact, it has yet to show a profit.
This week at ShoWest 2005 in Las Vegas—the premier gathering for commercial-cinema owners and operators—HD entrepreneur Mark Cuban and partner Todd Wagner announced at they are taking a big step toward the digital future with the purchase of six Sony SRX-R110 digital-cinema projectors for their Landmark Theatres, the nation's largest "art-house" theater chain, currently with 209 screens in 22 markets. The SRX-R110 provides 4K (4096x2160) resolution and 10,000 ANSI lumens of light output using SXRD (Silicon Crystal [X-tal] Reflective Display) technology, Sony's version of LCoS. The projectors will be installed in six Landmark Theatres—two each in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco—with the eventual goal of converting all Landmark locations to 4K SXRD projection.
Spring is traditionally the season when major consumer electronics manufacturers hold their annual line shows, showing new products that will be introduced during the year. With a late winter snowstorm raging in the northeast, Sony held their 2005 get-together in warm, sunny Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 8.