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.
Imagine the number of people in the world for whom the intricacies of a setting up and using a home theater system are just about as inscrutable and mysterious as the Federal tax code. Then add those individuals who either have limited space or desire to keep the system as minimal in form and function as possible. Throw in a few more folks who simply like to set (and forget) things on top of the television, and you've got the makings of a giant market for two-speaker (or one-box) "surround sound" systems.
Digitizing music changed all the rules - even though we took almost two decades, from the introduction of the CD to the rise of MP3, to explore its full potential. Freed from the limitations of hard-wired analog circuits, new software-driven digital music systems can be amazingly powerful and flexible, especially when combined with networked computers.
It's no news that Hollywood has gone digital in a big way in the production, post-production, and, to a lesser extent, theatrical presentation of films. In fact, the day may yet come when the term "film" itself will be nothing more than a generic, but not entirely accurate, description like Scotch tape.
Until recently, the home-theater speaker market seemed a calm, beautiful little pond—from nearly any vantage point, you could see all 200-plus speaker makers with their mostly predictable offerings. Products dropped in and out with minor ripples, and occasionally one stirs up a bigger wave. But seldom do things change so much that this placid pond can suddenly seem like a wide open sea of crashing waves, churning tides, and violent storms.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.jb.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=196 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><I>When the FCC voted to allow cable companies to drop some digital channels, it also struck a blow against creative competition.</I>
<I>Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Tyrese Gibson, Miranda Otto, Hugh Laurie. Directed by John Moore. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). 113 minutes. 2004. Dolby Digital 5.1 and 5.1 DTS (English), Dolby Surround (French). 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. PG-13. $29.98.</I>
<I>Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Oscar Shaw, Lillian Roth, Thelma Todd, Louis Calhern. Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1. Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Five films/6 discs. 6 hrs. 43 mins. 2004. Universal Studios Home Video 21250. G. $59.98.</I>
The editors of Home Theater magazine are proud to announce the winners of the 2005 RAVE Awards. The RAVE (Recognition of Audio and Video Excellence) Awards are open to all manufacturers whose components have been reviewed in Home Theater magazine over a 12-month period.
Earlier this week, it looked like the Voom HD satellite service was dead, but it now seems that reports of its demise were at least slightly exaggerated. On <A href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/news/030105voom/">Tuesday</A>, we reported that Cablevision, Voom's parent company, decided to pull the plug after founder Charles Dolan failed to meet a February 28 deadline for purchasing Voom's remaining assets. (The Voom satellite and FCC licenses to operate at its orbital location are being purchased by rival EchoStar, subject to regulatory approval.)