Sony estimates that there are 10 million or so HDTV owners who are chomping at the bit to get access to digital cable high definition content. For those folks, and for people who'd simply like to record local, terrestrial HD broadcasts, Sony is introducing two new HD digital video recorders, the DHG-HDD250 and DHG-HDD500.
Further dashing the hopes of all those who long for a return to the days when a really big big-screen TV occupied more space in your living room than a pair of side-by-side refrigerators (and just about as stylish), Sharp recently unveiled a prototype 65-inch diagonal LCD HDTV - giving them, for the moment, possession of the official "World's Largest LCD Color TV" plaque. Prior to Sharp's announcement, the people who get paid to pontificate on such things ("panel pundits") had proclaimed a probable production-size limitation in the mid-forty inches for LCD TV diagonals. (Stunned by seeing proof that such a large screen size was possible, many of these panel pundits quickly switched to politics or weather forecasting, neither of which require much accuracy or accountability.)
So you've got HD satellite receivers from VOOM, DIRECTV, and Dish Network plus an HD cable box from your local cable provider, not to mention the biggest, baddest terrestrial antenna sprouting from your roof so you can pick up every local, terrestrial HD broadcast, but you still can't get enough HD content to watch. Now what?
I was mighty impressed by BenQ's PE8700 DLP projector, reviewed in the June 2004 UAV. Now its replacement, the PE8700+, has been launched, and it's no letdown. True, the price has gone up a couple of big ones over the PE8700's closeout price of $6000. But in compensation, the new model gives you the new Texas Instruments 16:9 DMD, the HD2+.
Despite the encroachment of progressive-scan component and DVI outputs from DVD players, and HD video displays with their own built-in deinterlacing and scaling, there is still a market for standalone video processors. They provide flexible switching. Many will convert inputs of all flavors to a single output format. And most CRT projectors still need a separate processor to upconvert standard-definition sources.
For two decades now, Danish manufacturer Dynaudio has been known for making superb speakers in small cabinets. No, such designs can't produce the robust bass that larger speakers can muster—that's a simple factor of physics, not of design. But Dynaudio's track record should intrigue anyone interested in buying a compact speaker.
Hitachi's PJTX100 UltraVision front LCD projector replaces the short-lived Home 1, a low-cost, 964x544-pixel design that made a brief appearance earlier this year. I liked many things about the Home 1, but it suffered from very low light output—too low to be practical for most home-theater applications.
A cross between a torque-driven Datsun Z and a rev-happy Mazda RX was the first thing I thought of when I read the model designation of Yamaha's new flagship receiver: RX-Z9. I wasn't far off. This baby is a beast of a receiver with enough horse under the hood to drag you kicking and spitting into a 21st-century home theater beyond reproach. The list of standard features is as long as a dragster's tailpipes, but starting with the 170W to each of seven primary channels (and another 50W for two Presence channels), Yamaha's intentions are quite clear: This is all the receiver you need!