Polk's LSi Series in an out-of-sight, out -of-mind variety.
I've come to look at home theater's many worlds much like various animals of the same species—common bonds clearly exist, but, at the same time, differences abound. Home theater works the same way. You've got high end and entry level, hobbyist and mass market, retail and custom install, and so on. They're all similar but distinctly different—particularly custom-install components. Anyone familiar with custom A/V systems will tell you that, if you'll allow me a bad pun, they're a very different animal.
I have a confession to make: I never took umbrage with having to set the clock on a VCR. I set my own. I set my mother's. I was even known to sneak into my friends' homes and set theirs while they slept, taking joy in the knowledge that their VCR could finally live up to its true functionality potential once I had put the blinking 12:00 out of its misery.
Years ago, I crossed swords with the editor-in-chief of a magazine that covered tech only in passing. His deputy editor took me aside, and a reflective look came into his eyes as he explained why his distinguished boss hated my work: "There's a kind of hardheaded practicality to him, and the whizbang stuff you write just leaves him cold. High-end cars he understands, but not high-end audio, and he wants you to convince him that this stuff is really worth paying good money for." Ever since then, I've tried to recognize that hardheaded practicality when I run across it—especially in readers.
I've always been a sucker for simplicity. Whether it's the functional beauty of a Mies van der Rohe building or a diesel-engine Mercedes-Benz with a manual-shift transmission, the "less is more" concept has always made sense to me. Unnecessary complexity often does little more than dilute a design's original functionality. This way of thinking has also been used in high-end hi-fi design, with some designers on the tweakier fringe embracing concepts like ultra-simple single-ended tube amplifiers and single-driver loudspeakers. Simple designs like these often have a straightforward clarity to their sound; each time you introduce new elements in order to make something play louder, higher, or deeper, you risk losing some of that clarity in the process.
I've just ignored Morel's Nova system for more than a month. Occasionally a man of letters gets busy. An editor called: Have you got time for another assignment? Sure. A few more called: Can you get this, this, and this done in two weeks? Take the money and run, I always say. My column was due. My other column was due. I was putting the finishing touches on two books at the same time—please buy them both, they're very good—attacking printouts with a red pen to get myself away from the computer.
DVD: Tanner '88—Criterion and Tanner on Tanner—Sundance Channel Home Entertainment
If last year's contentious presidential race wasn't enough to demonstrate how ridiculous politics can be, Tanner 88 and Tanner on Tanner should drive the point home.
"Rain, rain go away" was my mantra on the trek down to the annual audio-video Mecca; the forecasters were warning that the winter desert was set to deliver wet weather for the Consumer Electronic Show. I never thought my prayers would be answered so obliquely—Las Vegas enjoyed more than a few moments of <I>snow</I> on Friday of the convention. You could tell those who had never seen flurries of the chilly white stuff before: they wandered comically in circles with w-i-d-e eyes and slack jaws.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the organization that runs the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), 140,000 people attended this year’s annual confab in Las Vegas, NV. In past years, attendance has typically hovered around 100,000. But with the shrinkage of the normally even larger computer show, COMDEX, in 2003, followed by its cancellation this past November, the Intels, IBMs, Apples, Hewlett Packards, and other assorted bits-and-bytes vendors, and their customers, descended on CES with a vengeance.