Most high-end speaker companies arrived late to the home-theater party. Dedicated to 2-channel music playback, they eventually split into three groups. One group would banish you to the Mines of Moria if you even uttered the words "home theater" in their presence. Another recognized the bottom-line impact of multichannel and reluctantly designed a few home theater pieces—perhaps a simple center and a subwoofer—for their dealers to sell along with their 2-channel models. A third developed a little more enthusiasm for home theater and built serious centers, subs, and surrounds to match the sophistication of their traditional designs.
When Sony announced the development of a new home video projector last spring, the buzz began. Would it be the fabled Grating Light Valve technology, which the company is known to be working on? Would it be LCD, DLP, or LCoS? Would it be something completely new?
Marantz gets universal for less than four figures.
Slowly but surely, more readers are asking questions about high-resolution, multichannel audio. They want to know what kind of progress the SACD and DVD-Audio formats are making. In most ways, I think they're right where we thought they'd be at this point, if not ahead in some respects. Sure, the naysayers are out in force, but it's entirely predictable that they would be. A technology's early days are the safest time for naysayers, as this is when all new technologies inevitably struggle. It wasn't so long ago that the DVD-Video detractors were out in force, and I think we all know how that turned out. Am I saying high-resolution/multichannel audio will ultimately have the impact of DVD-Video? Hardly, at least not in these videocentric times. Am I saying that SACD and DVD-Audio will change the world? Obviously not. But I am saying that it doesn't make much sense to dismiss a technology, or technologies, before they've had a chance to show what they can really do.
Why buy an enhanced-def plasma when you can get a high-def projector?
By more than $1,000, this projector is less expensive than the average price of the RPTVs in our February 2004 HDTV Face Off. Granted, you need to buy a screen (there goes that $1,000), but you'd then have the same resolution as half of the TVs in the Face Off and be able to put that image on a screen that could be up to twice as large diagonally. Boy, I love projectors.
The Consumer Electronics Show is sort of the Super Bowl of our industry, as manufacturers of just about everything that accepts AC, DC, or batteries descend upon Las Vegas each winter to parade what's new and what's coming soon. Given the presence of all the wonderful new products that blur the lines between consumer electronics and computers at this year's show, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me as convergence editor. Here's a quick look at some of the most interesting arrivals.
Every day, in audio/video superstores across this great land, the same scenario plays out with frightening regularity. Someone, lusting after high-definition TV, spends thousands of dollars on the set of his dreams. And then, having been turned on to surround sound by hearing his buddy's home theater, he asks the salesman to recommend a speaker system.
For a lot of reasons, a DVD recorder equipped with a hard-disk drive makes a lot of sense. Sharp's stylish DV-HR300, which contains a drive with an 80-gigabyte (GB) capacity, is a good example of the advantages of such an arrangement.
High-tech wonders like the DVD and Dolby Digital get much of the credit, but the home theater revolution owes just as much to a more mundane development: compact, affordable subwoofer/ satellite speaker systems.