Many of us yearn to own a glistening flagship receiver: the prestige . . . the state-of-the-art performance . . . the vast array of features . . . the satisfaction of knowing that you own the very best. But flagships can be prohibitively expensive, as well as awkwardly large and extremely heavy. Ask any admiral. And then there's the complexity issue.
The list of North American channels offering Dolby Digital 5.1 sound has just grown by four. In a press release dated July 19, <A HREF="http://www.dolby.com">Dolby Laboratories</A> announced that City HD, Encore HD, TNT in HD, and The WB will all offer programming in Dolby Digital 5.1. This brings the total number of networks featuring the surround format to the mid-20s (and the number of individual channels to somewhere in the 80s—Dolby is not being terribly specific about the precise numbers).
Over the last few years, we've heard a lot about the "electronic house," an application that will seamlessly integrate personal computers and home entertainment systems throughout an entire household. If customers have been slow to adopt this concept, it may be because the existing options have tended to be complicated to use and install—not to mention expensive. <A HREF="http://www.skipjam.com/">SkipJam</A> may have a solution for all three objections.
Peter Putman reviews the <A HREF="/videoprojectors/604panasonic">Panasonic PT-AE500U front LCD projector</A>, noting that this product "comes with a great deal of buzz about its color and image quality—at least from those who saw a preview of it at last year's CEDIA expo." PP tests to see if the buzz was on target.
Of course, the world assumes that if you want a flat-panel TV that you'll want to hang it on the wall. Not according to Jeff White, President of Boltz USA. "Contrary to sexy television commercials featuring young 20-somethings fussing over which wall to hang their new, sleek, flat panel TV, we've heard from many customers who would much rather display their new toy on an attractive stand." (Personally, since as I young 20-something I suffered by watching TV on a miniscule 13-inch TV with rabbit ears and not even a Beta-tape VCR to keep it company, I feel that 20-somethings ought to be barred by law from owning a flat-panel TV until their 30th birthday. Think of it, as my mother used to say, as "character building"... But I digress.)
Canton, the 31-year-old German loudspeaker company known for stylish, high-performance products, has joined the ever growing chorus of manufacturers offering slender, wall-mountable models specifically designed to complement flat-panel TVs. Canton's new CD300 Series loudspeakers combine technology derived from the company's high-end Karat line of loudspeakers with the sleeker, brushed aluminum look (a.k.a. "lifestyle design") of the CD100 series.
Back in the day (well, around 1999, to be exact), Sony's introduction of the VPL-VW10HT front LCD projector was big news. It was the first widescreen front LCD projector with true HD resolution—three 1.35-inch, 16:9 panels with 1366x768 pixels. It was a breakthrough product, one that Sony at first priced perhaps too low at just under $7000.
<I>Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagalle, Embeth Davidtz. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS. 196 minutes. 1993. Universal Home Video 23866. R. $26.98.</I>
A plasma TV has become one of the most desirable items on the planet, and owning one confers a certain amount of social status. Case in point: a friend of mine recently visited the palatial Long Island house of a certain hip-hop star, who had hung more than twenty of the things on his (presumably gold-plated) walls.