MPAA lawsuits: Online movie pirates could soon be receiving subpoenas if they don't cease and desist, according to a November 4 announcement from the Motion Picture Association of America (<A HREF="http://www.mpaa.com">MPAA</A>).
The only thing better than an inexpensive player that will play virtually any disc you ask it to is an inexpensive player that will play virtually any six discs you ask it to. With the DV-CP802, Onkyo has lowered the price bar and upped the ante in the category of disc changers, including some nice higher-end perks in an entry-level machine.
High-resolution, multichannel music is now within reach of the masses.
Time was, you had to choose between SACD and DVD-Audio if you wanted to hear high-resolution, multichannel music. And the players weren't cheap. Those days are gone, and a format war has been averted, thanks to universal players that don't care what kind of optical disc you feed them. Some of these players are even cheap—only in price, at least in the case of the Pioneer DV-578A, which gives you a lot of bang for $199.
Toshiba gets in on the universal-for-everyone game.
If you sift through the Home Theater archives over the last few years, I think you'll find that I've been as optimistic as anyone about the future of universal disc players. That's saying something, too, because optimism isn't exactly my natural state. Still, even as sure as I was that universal players had a bright future, I wouldn't have dared predict that, a couple of years after the debut of the first model, there would be so many others to swell the ranks. It's not just the proliferation of players over that time period that's noteworthy, but also that they exist in healthy numbers at all price points, from the four-figured high-end realm through the around-$1,000 middle range and right down to the priced-so-that-almost-anyone-can-afford-them territory that we're exploring here.
Savvy readers might be familiar with Alienware. Their built-to-order gaming PCs are as famous as their functional and distinctive cases that prevent dust and birds from nesting between the circuit boards. Taking those two strengths into the living room, Alienware has introduced a Media Center Edition PC like no other, the DHS-321 Digital Home System. This box, which approximates the look of a consumer electronics component in black-anodized, brushed aluminum, runs the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 operating system.
Several years ago, I attended a David Copperfield show in Las Vegas and was invited onstage to be a part of one of his magic tricks. Sadly, it wasn't anything exciting, like being levitated or sawed in half. He just guessed my phone number after I wrote it down on a piece of paper and quickly burned up the paper. (No, he never did call.) Still, it was fascinating to try and figure out how he did that trick and the other more-impressive ones I witnessed that evening.
There's more than one way to skin a cat—as mine will quickly discover if he claws my armchair again—and surround sound needs skinning. I've lost count of the number of potential home theater buffs who have asked for my advice and then balked at the idea of running cables for surround speakers. Mount a flat panel to the wall or a projector to the ceiling? No problem. Run speaker cables to the back of the room? The thought makes them flinch—I can see it in their eyes even before they start equivocating—and the dark forces of stereo claim another soul.
Outsourcing can be a good thing when it comes to home entertainment.
With a handful of exceptions, truly flexible multiroom entertainment is beyond the reach of most A/V receivers. Sure, lots of manufacturers rapturously talk about their second-zone outputs like they're some sign of the Second Coming. In most cases, however, a receiver's second-zone outputs aren't much better than giving a blind man the keys to your car. Maybe you'll eventually get where you want to go, but not without a lot of anxiety.
Peter Tribeman, Atlantic Technology's CEO and founder, is a serious movie buff. So, when Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind advanced the state of the special-effects art in 1977, Tribeman, a native Bostonian, had to fly to New York City to savor the film's full magnificence—in 70mm, six-track surround—at the legendary Zeigfeld Theater. That's commitment. Not wanting to make the trek alone, he invited Dotty, a woman he had just met at a party, on his quest—"but it wasn't a date." They thoroughly enjoyed the film, immediately flew back to Boston, and married a few years later. Tribeman's wedding present to his bride was a signed Encounters poster: "To Peter and Dotty, on the occasion of their ultimate close encounter. Best Regards, Steven Spielberg." Not bad.