Everyone wants a piece of Apple's pie - or at least a piece of the iPod. With over ten million units sold (and more to come), the little digital music wonder is a clear favorite among music lovers. Manufacturers other than Apple have taken note of the iPod's popularity and are stumbling over each other in a rush to score big on the iPod craze by bringing out some sharp iPod accessories.
For the past five years, DVD has been the bright beam of sunshine spreading across the home-entertainment landscape, not only heating up movie sales and rentals but also, with its first-rate images and sound, helping to spark the whole home theater trend.
With LCD TVs nipping at their heels, plasma sets have quickly abandoned their industrial heritage and evolved to become a user-friendly centerpiece for your home theater. Basically, they've grown bigger - screen sizes will soon hit 70 inches - and accrued tons of cool features.
The exhilaration surrounding established digital audio and video formats tends to plateau over time, until some pseudo-genius somewhere figures out a way to make the technology fit into our pockets, and then pulses quicken anew. The portable MP3 player has become the must-have gadget for the masses. Portable DVD has become even sexier, with larger screens and enhanced feature sets, but a new crop of slimmed-down audio- and video-to-go devices is poised to change everything...again.
Most human beings have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Therefore the number 10 is a big deal to us. We use a base-10 number system, bestow honors in top-10 lists, and think in multiples of 10. So it's inevitable that makers of surround receivers have fixated on the number 100, or 10 times 10. For some of them it's the minimum power-output number allowed on any spec sheet, whether the amplifiers measure anywhere near that level of performance or not. Anything beyond that is likely to be in multiples of five (the fingers of one hand): 105 watts, 110 watts, 125 watts, etc. The more you become aware of this compulsion to express everything as a function of our physical form, the more comic it gets—humans are so self-absorbed. Or am I just projecting?
If not for all the wires, Sony's wireless DAV-LF1 DVD Platinum Dream System would be absolutely dreamy. Even with today's technology, a home theater can't do wireless like a cell phone or a home network or laptop stoked with Wi-Fi. The best it can do is wireless surround speakers—that is, no wires between the surround speakers and the A/V receiver. But, as with the DAV-LF1, these speakers are routinely wired to each other and require a nearby electrical outlet for a wireless receiver. If this were the meat department, home of the semi-boneless ham, we'd call it semi-wireless.