Very few manufacturers can call themselves "traditional," but until now, no description has better fit Pioneer, with their dedication to high-performance CRT-based rear-projection displays. However, that's about to change: Pioneer is scheduled to convert their rear-projection CRT assembly facilities to the production of plasma displays in April 2004, finally leaving CRT behind. While there should be enough Pioneer Elite CRT RPTVs in the pipeline to last through the end of the year, you might consider this review an homage to Pioneer's CRT era. It's also a caution: If you've had your eye on an RPTV from Pioneer, the cupboard may be full now, but it won't be restocked. Ever.
While there's certainly no shortage of people clamoring for dedicated home theaters they can fine-tune for optimum performance, there's also a growing number interested in creating flexible entertainment systems that can deliver sound, video, and even Internet-based content throughout the house.
When I first started writing about TV - instead of just watching it - I had the privilege of attending an eye-opening demonstration of high-end projectors. The corporate host had set up a series of these light cannons in a room and proceeded to show the same scene from Shakespeare in Love on each one.
Flatness is what it's all about today when you go shopping for home theater gear - and I'm not talking frequency response. Now that plasma and other flat-screen TVs rule, depth - the kind measured in inches - has become the kiss of death for anything that might share the light from the screen, like speakers.
They say that "reality TV" programs where people marry someone they just met or jockey for advantage in competitions by playing naked have injected new life into television. But for me, it's high-definition TV that has made tube-watching fun again.
Every time a new technology emerges, it seems like pundits can't wait to declare everything that preceded it obsolete. A classic example is the U.S. Postal Service. How many times have you heard that faxes and e-mails are going to replace the good old mailman? But six days a week - through rain, sleet, snow, and dead of night - the mailman still completes his appointed rounds.
Most home theater fans acknowledge that masking of front projector screens can vastly improve image quality. Most screens, unfortunately, come with black masks fixed for either 4:3 or 16:9 images. Some screens with manual masking allow adjustment of the masks by hand—a useful, but cumbersome way to get the most from films shot in a variety of aspect ratios.