I keep hearing that thin is in. While my goal of joining the slender set has always been a struggle between food and evil, I'm at least beginning to surround myself with the trappings of that lifestyle. Gone is my bulky 36-inch direct-view CRT, replaced by a Belgian-waffle-thin plasma. Now comes this quintet of speakers from the original manufacturer of thin-is-in speakers, Magnepan. This was not my first experience with planar-magnetic speakers—a long-gone pair of Maggies was my first true audiophile love. But love is no substitute for food. Could these new Maggies sustain me?
Looking for a good test DVD for Definitive Technology's BP7002 system, I settled on the swashbuckling Master and Commander. The commander, Jack Aubrey, portrayed by Russell Crowe, set sail in 1805 in this adaptation of Patrick O'Brian's historically accurate novel, but the special effects and sound quality are definitely 21st century.
Of the several good test DVDs available for optimizing the audio and video performance of a home theater system, the best known are <I>Digital Video Essentials</I> and the <I>Avia Guide to Home Theater</I>. Either will guide a consumer, step by step if necessary, to get the most from his or her equipment, particularly the video. In fact, most serious videophiles probably own both DVDs, along with a copy of DVE's predecessor, <I>Video Essentials</I>.
Now that everyone's jumping aboard the DVD and high-definition bandwagons, it's time to start thinking about the necessary cables for your system. At the top of your short list are component video cables, no doubt. AViC has what you need with their CV3002 RCA-to-RCA component video cable. The company says that upgrading to this cable will give you brighter colors and more-vivid detail from your DVD player or HDTV receiver. The color-coded connectors make installation trouble-free, and the 3.3-gigahertz bandwidth capacity supports all ATSC signals with room to spare. Two meters are available now for $130.
(215) 825-5310 www.aviccables.com
DVD: Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons—Warner Brothers
Extras: 2 Dallas' premiere in 1978 helped to usher in a new television genre: the prime-time soap opera. It had been tried before, but the amazing success of Dallas spawned an instant wave of imitators. Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest, and Dynasty all soon hit the airwaves in an attempt to cash in on the craze. The attentive viewer will notice something similar about these shows: All of the characters are filthy rich. Yes, it seems that America loves to watch shows about miserable wealthy people. They say that money can't buy happiness, but I bet you'll have some trouble convincing Aaron Spelling of that fact.
For the second time, the Motion Picture Association of America (<A HREF="http://www.mpaa.org">MPAA</A>) has sued chipmakers for selling chips to makers of DVD players capable of violating industry-wide copy-protection rules.
Thomas J. Norton evaluates the <A HREF="/accessories/704avia">Avia Pro multi-disc test suite</A>, remarking, "it wouldn't surprise me to see more than one enthusiast invest in the package—especially after seeing just how much it offers."