After returning from our honeymoon, my parents took my wife and me to dinner at one of San Francisco's swanky restaurants. To commemorate the event, I brought a prized bottle of wine - a 1982 Sterling Private Reserve cabernet. Instead of being offended that I had my own bottle, the sommelier asked if he might have a taste. But the restaurant still added a $20 corkage fee to our bill.
The latest videogame based specifically on the most recent Arnold
Schwarzenegger (who apparently recorded only a portion of his in-game
dialogue) action sequel, Terminator 3: Redemption, is the first I've
ever seen (and heard) to offer such a distinct hierarchy of audio formats
across each of the three major consoles. (I'm a Home Theater guy,
sadly this is one of the first details I look for on the package.)
You've got your big-screen HDTV, super-sharp progressive-scan DVD player, and the rest of your A/V gear set up to squeeze the nth degree of performance from your system. But look around. Is something missing? Not from your equipment but the room itself.
Each step in the evolution of the optical disc has been astounding. With its 750-megabyte storage capacity, the Compact Disc revolutionized the way music was recorded and played back. The DVD's 4.7 gigabyte capacity—twice that for a dual-layered disc—made possible the archiving of high-quality feature films on a durable, affordable medium. DVD is the first format that made building a film library a reality for ordinary movie fans. It's not a vast overstatement to say that DVD revived the film industry, creating unanticipated revenue streams.
Barco Once you start thinking a 70-inch TV might not be big enough, it's time to consider a front projector. The CineVersum 70 from Barco, a Belgian company, creates 16:9 widescreen images up to 90 inches diagonal. The projector's DLP (Digital Light Processing) chip renders them at 1,280 x 720 pixels - just right for the 720p (progressive-scan) HDTV format.
We have heard the soundtrack of the High Definition future on DVD, and it's compatible with the jillion1 or so digital surround sound receivers currently delighting home theater owners around the globe - or so says Dolby Laboratories and DTS. In separate recent announcements, each company proudly touted the fact that their audio technologies have been selected as a mandatory part of both the High-Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD DVD) and the Blu-ray Disc high-definition video disc formats. The two rival disc formats are locked in a good-versus-evil, battle-to-the-death struggle to convince studios, manufacturers, consumers, and anyone else who will listen that their format makes the most sense (and cents) for the future of packaged optical media. Although most people immediately think video when they hear about High Definition on disc, the announcement of mandatory audio standards is an excellent reminder to all concerned that audio quality is just as important as video clarity.
While we can't vouch for the scientific nature of a recent survey conducted by Quixel Research at Best Buy stores in three different USA locations, the results do fill our hearts with gladness that the average consumer-type person (or at least the average Best Buy visitor) can tell quality when he or she sees it. At least that's how we interpret the results. Sponsored by "several major CE and component manufacturers", Quixel's survey team had "TV purchase intenders" compare Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, front projectors, and MicroDisplay rear-pro sets side-by-side. After careful evaluation in the retail store environment, the consumers then told the Quixel Research scribes what they wanted in a new TV and how much they were willing to pay for it. Quixel claims that the study "is the first of its kind to compare all the products side by side in a retail environment across the USA."