I was mighty impressed by BenQ's PE8700 DLP projector, reviewed in the June 2004 UAV. Now its replacement, the PE8700+, has been launched, and it's no letdown. True, the price has gone up a couple of big ones over the PE8700's closeout price of $6000. But in compensation, the new model gives you the new Texas Instruments 16:9 DMD, the HD2+.
Despite the encroachment of progressive-scan component and DVI outputs from DVD players, and HD video displays with their own built-in deinterlacing and scaling, there is still a market for standalone video processors. They provide flexible switching. Many will convert inputs of all flavors to a single output format. And most CRT projectors still need a separate processor to upconvert standard-definition sources.
For two decades now, Danish manufacturer Dynaudio has been known for making superb speakers in small cabinets. No, such designs can't produce the robust bass that larger speakers can muster—that's a simple factor of physics, not of design. But Dynaudio's track record should intrigue anyone interested in buying a compact speaker.
Hitachi's PJTX100 UltraVision front LCD projector replaces the short-lived Home 1, a low-cost, 964x544-pixel design that made a brief appearance earlier this year. I liked many things about the Home 1, but it suffered from very low light output—too low to be practical for most home-theater applications.
A cross between a torque-driven Datsun Z and a rev-happy Mazda RX was the first thing I thought of when I read the model designation of Yamaha's new flagship receiver: RX-Z9. I wasn't far off. This baby is a beast of a receiver with enough horse under the hood to drag you kicking and spitting into a 21st-century home theater beyond reproach. The list of standard features is as long as a dragster's tailpipes, but starting with the 170W to each of seven primary channels (and another 50W for two Presence channels), Yamaha's intentions are quite clear: This is all the receiver you need!
Two years ago, when I visited the B&W facilities in Worthing, England, I heard a demonstration of that company's then-new flagship, the Signature 800 ($16,000/pair). I salivated at the prospect of reviewing a home theater package anchored by these impressive speakers, but ultimately put off requesting them in favor of slightly more manageable and affordable designs.
V, Inc.'s Bravo D1 was the first inexpensive ($199) DVI-equipped DVD player on the market. The D2 is V, Inc.'s response to a little competition from some bigger names in the field, but nobody can beat the D2's price: $249. If you're still not hip to what DVI is, it's probably because you don't have a DVI input on your TV or projector. Simply put, the Digital Visual Interface (DVI) keeps the video signal in the digital domain all the way from the disc to your TV. And if you're the owner of a new plasma or LCD panel, or a DLP or LCD front or rear projector with a DVI input, you should be very excited indeed.
At first glance, Pioneer's new flagship universal DVD player bears a close physical resemblance to its predecessor, the DV-47Ai. And like the earlier model, the new DV-59AVi also includes two i.LINK (IEEE1394) Advanced Resolution Digital Audio Interfaces. These are designed to carry the digital DVD-Audio and SACD high-resolution audio datastreams to select Pioneer receivers—and, perhaps, to other IEEE1394-equipped products, though cross-manufacturer compatibility is not guaranteed.