When the Windows Media Center (WMC) PC was introduced in 2002, the idea was to create a computer that also recorded TV programs and had a remote control that let you play them - as well as DVDs, slideshows, or ripped CDs - without sitting right in front of it.
PioneerEvery listening room has its own shape, size, and furniture - all of which affect sound. With the supplied microphone, Pioneer's thrifty VSX-815 receiver will automatically adjust its five-band equalizer to customize sound to best match your digs.
Here's a question to wrap your mind around: What's the best home-entertainment deal going? If you answered, "a Windows Media Center PC," you're way off track. If you thought, "a $49 progressive-scan DVD player," you're closer, but still no cigar. But if you blurted out, "an LCD front projector," you're absolutely right.
Here's a message if you spend time squinting at a small TV: big screens are better for watching movies and most everything else. And I don't mean those puny 50-inch sets most folks consider "big screen." I'm talking about pictures that make you feel like you're actually in a movie theater - pictures 100 inches or larger!
According to market research and analysis firm <A href="http://www.in-stat.com">In-Stat</A>, the future of DVD looks bright despite the emergence of new digital delivery services, such as video-on-demand (VOD) and online downloading. The company's latest market-research report predicts that the worldwide value of all published DVD products will increase with a compound annual growth rate of 18.2%, from about $33 billion during 2004 to $76.5 billion by 2009.
Earlier this month, a new distribution system for the delivery of digital-cinema content across continents was tested between the US and Singapore. The system, called Cross-Continent Digital Content Transmission, or CCTx, is the result of collaboration between the Singapore government, an industry association called Singapore infocomm Technology Federation Digital Media Chapter (SiTF DMC), and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California. Other partners involved in the pilot program included Thomson Technicolor (consulting); GlobeCast, StarHub, and 1-Net (international and local circuit and data storage); and Christie, Dell, Texas Instruments, and XDC (technology).
DVD: Cellular—New Line
Abducted Jessica Martin's frantic wire-connecting on a smashed-up landline phone finally connects her with cell-phoned surfer-dude Ryan (Chris Evans) in Cellular, an action thriller that has just enough cool touches to make it effective. After Jessica (Kim Basinger) is threatened by three men looking for her husband, she is forced to protect her child, give up his locale, and beg this skeptical stranger to believe her and help her. Ryan eventually does and is determined to aid and not lose their tenuous phone link. Part Speed, part Phone Booth, this ride is filled with crashes and chases and is a high-octane trip that's a taut 95 minutes.
Meridian, noon, the sun's highest point in the day, a reference for mariners, the pinnacle of light. I almost hated putting the gorgeous Meridian G68ADV surround processor and G98DH DVD player to work in my Salamander Synergy cabinet. For a week, before Ken Forsythe of Meridian America arrived to help me set them up, the two units sat atop my bar in a position of prominence. With fine, architecturally interesting lines and finished on all sides (only the rear panel speaks strictly to function), these star Meridian designs were far more handsome in person than in print. Still, this $8999 processor and $5999 DVD player were here to perform. And what a virtuoso performance.