In late January, the US Department of Justice began a preliminary inquiry into the Blu-ray group, a breakaway from the <A HREF="http://www.dvdforum.org">DVD Forum</A>. Composed of Sony Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Philips Electronics NV, seven other manufacturers—and recently joined by Dell and Hewlett Packard—the Blu-ray group is suspected of interfering with the Forum's progress in establishing a standard for high-definition/high density DVD technology.
The completion of two more films will close the books on a long-running partnership between Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Company. On Thursday, January 29 Pixar announced that it had abruptly ended discussions with Disney and would not renew its distribution agreement when it expires in 2005.
From couch potato to desktop tuber: If you can't get enough TV even while toiling away at your computer, <A HREF="http://www.ati.com">ATI Technologies Inc</A>. has a family of video graphics cards just for you. In late January, the Markham, Ontario company announced new additions to its "All-in-Wonder" line of graphics cards. Among them are the All-in-Wonder 9600XT, All-in-Wonder 9600, and All-in-Wonder 9200. The All-in-Wonder 9600XT delivers more multimedia features via a graphics engine clocked at 525 MHz, with 128 MB of memory running at 650 MHz. Priced at $299 (US) this new multimedia solution includes an "FM-on-Demand" feature to receive and record favorite FM radio stations. It also offers dual VGA monitor support, integrated DVD authoring and burning, and comes bundled with MPEG-4-enabled Multimedia Center 8.8 software.
Sonnefeld photos by Michelle Hood Barry Sonnenfeld is the master of droll. You can see it in his work, from John Travolta's suave, minivan-driving gangster in GetShorty to Tommy Lee Jones's slow-burning G-man in Men in Black to Patrick Warburton's oblivious superhero in The Tick.
The TSS-750 speaker system adds a new chapter to the entry-level guidebook.
Ah, the life of an audio reviewer is a glamorous one indeed. Lugging around speakers and subwoofers. Continually connecting systems, checking levels, tweaking placement, checking levels again, yada yada yada. Spending hours sitting in a room listening to movie and music tracks that you've watched and listened to so many times, your brain is suffering from burn-in. Yep, with all of this glamour, it might come as a surprise for you to learn that even we audio reviewers fall into the dreaded rut now and then.
As the age of digital television dawns, one link in the signal chain remains stubbornly analog: the video connection from the DVD player to the display. However, that is about to change. Many displays are starting to appear with a Digital Visual Interface (DVI) input. Now all we need is a DVD player with a DVI output to keep the signal entirely in the digital domain from source to screen—at least with fully digital displays.
Take a close look at the new Tannoy Sensys DC speakers. Notice anything unusual? Anything at all? I suppose that little gray pod sitting atop each speaker will catch your eye first. It's home to a SuperTweeter that's designed to extend the speaker's response out to a range that only dogs and bats can hear, claimed to be all the way up to 51 kilohertz. Look again and scrutinize the 7-inch woofer with bull's eye circles in its center; that's another, albeit standard, tweeter. Tannoy dubbed their "tweeter inside a woofer" design as Dual Concentric, a hallmark of the company's upper-end speakers that dates back to (gulp) 1948. Dual Concentric is a really big deal because it generates minimal off-axis phase shifts over its nearly full-range frequency response: High and low frequencies originate from the same point. The Dual Concentric breakthrough led to a range of legendary speakers in the pro audio and high-end markets for more than half a century.
It baffles me that the digital video recorder hasn't caught on with mainstream consumers. Everyone I know who's spent 10 minutes with one of these gems is instantly addicted. It has a VCR's functionality, a digital cable box's user-friendliness, and a computer's brain. As far as I can tell, only two things are preventing the DVR from making it big: price and permanent storage.