Picking the right home theater system can be a lot like picking the right horse at the track - especially if you're looking for a complete system in a single package. Manufacturers are flooding the market today with low-end home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems that cheap out on the thrills and chills.
It's safe to say home theater fans have never gotten more for their money than what Onkyo offers with the upgraded TX-SR502. Priced at only $300, the TX-SR502 features 6.1-channel surround performance, respectable 75 watts per channel output power, surround processing that includes Dolby ProLogic IIx and DTS-96/24, and a choice of two finishes - black or silver.
Netflix ups rates: DVD rental firm Netflix Inc. will boost its monthly fees by 10.2%, effective mid-June. The news caused a 16.9% drop in the value of Netflix stock, which closed Friday April 16 at $30.75/share. The Los Gatos, CA–based operation reported a loss for the first fiscal quarter ended March 31 due to expensive TV advertising.
Certain to be a hot topic at this week's convention of the <A HREF="http://www.nab.org">National Association of Broadcasters</A> (NAB) is a plan by federal regulators to shut off analog television transmission by 2009. The plan would return the analog spectrum to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for auction to wireless companies.
Fred Manteghian gets his paws on the <A HREF="/speakersystems/204dynaudio">Dynaudio Contour S5.4, SC, S1.4 suround speaker system</A> and carefully places each of them within his room. FM notes "At first I thought the Contours were at somewhat of a price disadvantage being manufactured across the Atlantic." But then he listened.
DVD: Love Actually—Universal
A review quote on the Love Actually DVD box touts this as "the most delightful film of the year," and that is precisely the world that comes to mind as you watch it: delightful. Yes, it's a very British word to describe a very British film, but it also perfectly encapsulates the film's pacing and performances. Rather than focusing on the trials and tribulations of one couple, Love Actually tells many stories about many couples. It's the anti–Love Story and the screenplay instructor's nightmare, but it's wonderfully engaging (albeit unnecessarily hard on overweight people).
Hang on to your socks; Focal-JMlab's new Sub Utopia Be subwoofer could quite possibly blow them right off your feet. This sub delivers a true 20 hertz with 120 decibels of sound pressure, the company reports. The 16-inch sandwich composite cone offers more than 10 times the rigidity of other materials, while the alloy basket supports a multi-ferrite magnet assembly that includes 18 magnets, measures 3 inches thick, and weighs more than 17.6 pounds. The Kapton voice coil is ventilated to limit the dynamic compression from the heat that the 1,000-watt BASH amplifier generates. For $6,000, this sub will rattle your bones.
(800) 663-9352 www.audioplusservices.com
Denmark is home to Dynaudio, one of the world's finest speaker manufacturers. After beginning modestly as a maker of speaker drivers, Dynaudio rapidly gained accolades from OEMs and the international do-it-yourself speaker-building conspiracy. But don't let their industrial background mislead you. Dynaudio's Contour and Confidence speaker lines are among the most classically striking speakers in the market today: business and beauty bundled together, in a high-end showroom near you.
The mutual embrace of A/V and PC got considerably tighter at this year's CES, most visibly with the proliferation of devices that let you experience all kinds of music and video entertainment on your TV and stereo. And almost every one of these products could connect to some kind of wired or wireless network - yet another sign of how deeply the PC mindset has taken hold in the home.