You might think your TV is the most important part of your home theater system. But the real heart of any home-entertainment setup is the A/V or digital surround receiver - the one element that ties all the others together and lets you select and adjust what you watch or listen to.
Until some enterprising soul invents a software-defined virtual speaker, designers of real speakers will keep trying to make them less obtrusive. That's certainly the idea behind Boston Acoustics' P400, star of the company's Plasma Series.
While many manufacturers are flying journalists to exotic locales for their annual line shows this spring, Fujitsu decided to try something different. Using a service called <A href="http://www.webex.com">WebEx</A>, the company invited journalists to log onto a specific WebEx Web page at a specific time on Friday, February 18, to see a slide show controlled in real time by National Training Director David Fink. In addition, participants joined a conference phone call to provide real-time voice communication during the presentation.
DVD: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—Warner Brothers
Directing this movie had to be tough. On the one hand, legions of Potter fans don't want a filmmaker to swing too wide of J.K. Rowling's beloved source material. Yet critics and audiences were becoming restless with Chris Columbus' literal interpretations of the first two books. It turns out that director Alfonso Cuaron was an excellent choice to take over the reins. His visual flair gave Hogwarts a much-needed fleshing out; he kept much of the original story intact while stepping up its pacing; and he got some of the best performances yet from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Harry and Hermione. Younger viewers may find this film scarier than the first two, but it's all in keeping with Rowling's move toward darker themes.
Editor's Note: This year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture feature the work of two acclaimed directors operating at the top of their game, Martin Scorsese's <I>The Aviator</I> and Clint Eastwood's <I>Million Dollar Baby</I>. So it seemed liked a good time to revisit reviews from <I>UAV</I> contributor Joe Leydon of earlier films from these same artists: Scorsese's <I>GoodFellas</I> and Eastwood's <A HREF="/moviereviews/205unforgiven"><I>Unforgiven</I></A>. The reviews cover the two-disc Special Edition of <I>Unforgiven</I> and the single-disc release of <I>GoodFellas</I>. A 2-disc Special Edition of <I>GoodFellas</I> is now available for $26.99.
Editor's Note: This year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture feature the work of two acclaimed directors operating at the top of their game, Martin Scorsese's <I>The Aviator</I> and Clint Eastwood's <I>Million Dollar Baby</I>. So it seemed liked a good time to revisit reviews from <I>UAV</I> contributor Joe Leydon of earlier films from these same artists: Scorsese's <I>GoodFellas</I> and Eastwood's <I>Unforgiven</I>. The reviews cover the two-disc Special Edition of <I>Unforgiven</I> and the single-disc release of <I><A HREF="/moviereviews/205goodfellas">GoodFellas</A></I>. A 2-disc Special Edition of <I>GoodFellas</I> is now available for $26.99.
Many people now access the Internet at speeds as high as 1 to 3Mbps over their phone lines using DSL or their cable-TV service using a cable modem. But DSL speeds drop dramatically if the home is more than a certain distance from the nearest phone company switching station, and cable-modem bandwidth can be reduced if there are lots of subscribers in the same neighborhood.
Focal-JMlab has been manufacturing speaker drivers and systems from its home base in Saint-Etienne, France, since 1980. They first became known to audiophiles in the US for their range of Focal drive units, particularly their inverted-dome tweeters. The latter were used by a number of makers of speaker systems. One of them, Wilson Audio Specialties, has likely been Focal's most loyal customer over the years, having used various Focal drivers in most of its models since the original Wilson Audio Tiny Tot, aka the WATT, was produced in the mid-1980s.
Media servers - components designed to provide instant access to a large number of audio, and in some cases video, files stored in a central location - are hot. If you've never had a chance to use one, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. If, on the other hand, you've been fortunate enough to experience the ability to listen to any track of your music collection (or different tracks simultaneously in a multi-zone system), then you know what a joy it can be. It sounds silly, but using a system with such easy access to music can be incredibly addictive. It's even nicer to have instantaneous access to your entire DVD collection (with appropriate copyright respect, of course).