<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.sw.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=200 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>We live in troubling times. Many people look at our society and see an increasing erosion of morality and civility, which leads them to yearn for the perfect suburbia as depicted in early television sitcoms such as <I>Father Knows Best</I> and <I>Leave It to Beaver</I>.
It's unlikely that you've got hours and hours of HD video sitting on your computer's hard drive - although you might if you're the proud owner of a HDV camcorder (from JVC or Sony) or you've invested in an HD PCTV card for your computer and have been recording over-the-air HDTV broadcasts for the past umpteen months. On the other hand, you're more likely to have a slew of high-res images courtesy of your megapixel digital still camera. However, as my wife is forever explaining to me, having lots of great pictures (and video) stored on your computer is nice; it would be nicer (much nicer), though, if they could actually be viewed by the family in some way that didn't involve jockeying for space and hunching over a small computer screen. As I've discovered over the years, you ignore your significant other at your peril.
At this year's CeBIT (Europe's answer to CES) in Hannover, Germany, Samsung is introducing the world's largest LCD flat panel display. Measuring 82 inches diagonally, the 1920x1080 panel was developed at Samsung's new seventh-generation production facility in Tangjeong, South Korea; amazingly, this facility can produce two 82-inch panels from a single substrate, which has been impossible up to now.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Mitsubishi once manufactured plasma monitors. (Okay, it wasn't that long ago or far away, it just seems like it!) But while the company seemingly abandoned the business in the late 1990s, it managed to keep its foot in the door by working out an agreement with NEC to sell plasma sets using NEC panels. The PD-5050 is the latest model to come along; even though NEC sold out to Pioneer early last year, Mitsubishi is still selling 50-inch and 61-inch plasma products from the same factory.
The Lite-On LVC-9006 DVD+VHS Recorder meets consumer need to record TV directly to DVD and to backup VHS to disc, all in a single chassis and compatible with a wide variety of blank media.
The duplication of VHS onto DVD is nothing new, but a single-component solution is clearly the way to go, and the aggressive pricing we've seen over the past year surely helps as well. While upon close inspection the Lite-On LVC-9006 does appear more streamlined than the Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD Recorder I reviewed in the December 2004 issue of Home Theater—the front-panel inputs (digital video, composite video, analog stereo) are now exposed, and the optical audio output is gone altogether—I cannot overlook the obvious, namely the addition of an excellent four-head Hi-Fi stereo VHS VCR. Yes, it might finally be time to retire your old VCR to Miami (or at least the kids' room), or take it put back behind the woodshed and put a bullet between its fast-forward and rewind buttons. Chief among the LVC-9006's strengths remains the "All-Write" technology which enables it to recognize and record onto most popular blank media types: DVD+/-R, rewritable DVD+/-RW, and even more affordable CD-R/RW. Choose whatever works best for you, if you know for example that a friend's DVD player doesn't support DVD+RW. It is that compatibility, combined with the Easy Guider menus (now seamlessly enhanced for its increased functionality) which virtually hold our hand every step of the way, that make Lite-On recorders such a particular pleasure to use.
It seems that Voom is not doomed just yet. The primarily high-definition satellite service has been the focus of a bizarre family struggle between Charles Dolan, founder of Voom owner Cablevision, and his son, Cablevision CEO James Dolan.
Unless you're a full-fledged (or even a budding) audio/videophile for whom performance is everything (and I'm not implying there's anything wrong with that), at one time or another you've faced the tough choice of sound and picture quality versus aesthetics, decor, and ergonomics (sometimes referred to as SAF or Spousal Acceptance Factor). Three introductions from Onkyo are intended to provide performance without ruining potential romance.