B&K Reference 7260 Six-Channel Amplifier

The B&K Reference 7260 six-channel amplifier proves to be a solid all-around performer.

Like many people, I often dream of what it would be like to have unlimited funds to buy the very best. You know, a Mercedes S500 and a Ferrari F50, along with a Hummer for those off-road adventures (not to mention a ski lodge in Aspen and, of course, a 250-foot yacht in the Bahamas). These are nice to fantasize about; however, when the reality of our lives takes over, most of us would probably buy a more-sensible vehicle like a Honda. While much of the glamour and notoriety in magazines tends to revolve around the most exotic stuff, there are companies that can give you most of that performance for a fraction of the price.

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Everest: A Must See DVD

N<I>arrated by Liam Neeson. Directed by David Brashears, Greg MacGillivray, and Stephen Judson. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full frame). 45 minutes. 1998. Dolby Digital 5.1. Miramax Collector's Series 16539. NR. $24.98.</I>

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Home Theater Fans Can Shorten Their Most Wanted DVD Lists

Adventure fans are still waiting for the <I>Star Wars</I> and Indiana Jones films, but <A HREF="http://www.universalstudios.com">Universal Studios Home Video</A> has promised to release Speilberg's <I>Jurassic Park</I> and <I>The Lost World: Jurassic Park</I> on DVD as Collector's Editions on October 10, 2000. Both titles will be available with Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 audio (in place of some of the added features) and anamorphic widescreen for $26.98 retail each.

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New Plasma Displays Boast Higher Contrast Ratios

For home theater fans, plasma display panels (PDPs) are among the most promising technologies. The space-saving flat panels eliminate the need for projectors and screens or huge boxy rear projection sets, but their acceptance by critical viewers has been hampered by a low (400:1) contrast ratio which renders black as more like charcoal gray.

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Coming in July: Affordable Hi-Rez Displays from NetTV

Video displays just keep getting better and cheaper. <A HREF="http://www.net-tv.net/">NetTV</A> has announced four new advanced progressive scan digital displays, including the DTV36XW, their first "true high definition" CRT. The 36" diagonal unit features a flat screen and conventional component inputs for 480i broadcasts as well as high-resolution component inputs for 480p, 720p and 1080i high definition broadcast signals. A 15-pin RGB input supports computer resolutions up to 1024x768 pixels.

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Hollywood Entertainment Pulls Plug on Reel.com

After bleeding money for two years, <A HREF="http://www.hollywoodvideo.com/">Hollywood Entertainment Corporation</A> has announced that it is pulling the plug on <A HREF="http://www.reel.com/">Reel.com</A>, its high-profile online video sales operation, whose losses have been in the range of $4 million to $5 million monthly. The announcement came June 13, in which Hollywood Entertainment stated that it has laid off all 150 employees of Reel.com and arranged a deal with <A HREF="http://www.buy.com/">Buy.com</A> to fulfill orders. The Reel.com site is still active, with a pop-up advisory telling customers the bad news.

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Surrounded With Surround Choices

Surround formats are coming on the market fast and furious, which means yet more buttons on equipment. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.del.denon.com">Denon Electronics</A> announced the introduction of its new $3,800 flagship AVR-5800 A/V Surround Receiver, which the company claims is the world's first audio component to offer DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 and DTS Neo:6 surround sound decoding. The receiver also boasts THX Surround EX decoding, 24-bit/192kHz D/A conversion, FireWire capability and seven channels, each capable of 170 watts output power.

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HDTVs Getting Cheaper By the Minute

A "new breed of Digital High-Definition Television Receivers" is about to be unleashed by <A HREF="http://www.thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson Electronics</A>, manufacturer and marketer of RCA and Proscan. According to the company, four new HDTV models are now in pilot production in Thomson's facilities, including the "world's largest direct-view widescreen HDTV" intended to dramatically reduce consumer prices for HDTV products.

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Titan A.E: First High-Def Film Delivered Digitally

Information and entertainment technologists have long predicted that reels of films will eventually disappear, replaced by digital datastreams delivered straight to theaters. On June 6, the first such event took place---from Los Angeles to a theater in the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

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Making the World Safe for 525p

In news that is sure to strike fear in the hearts of videophiles everywhere, <A HREF="http://www.macrovision.com">Macrovision</A> announced last week the implementation of its copy protection technology for higher resolution DVD playback on players with 525p progressive scan outputs. The company says that 525p copy protection has now been licensed to Genesis Microchip, JVC, Matsushita, Oak Technology, and Pioneer.

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