OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
Is it finally time to say, "Au Revoir, VCR"?

So a bunch of us reporter types were sitting around CES 2003, and we kept hearing that recordable DVD finally stood poised to replace the VCR, since the prices had come down to the $600 range. Marketing people are paid to make these unrealistic claims with a brave smile, but the journalistic consensus was that recordable DVD would indeed replace VHS. . .when the price was closer to $200. We also hoped that format-compatibility issues would largely be resolved by that time.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 15, 2006 0 comments
A set-top convergence device for the common man.

When you're in the market for a convergence product, an important part of the decision-making process is compiling a list of exactly what you want it to do for you. Some of the most popular entertainment applications include DVD/CD playback, TV recording/time-shifting, and an MP3 jukebox. A DVD burner and a video jukebox typically add a level of complexity—and cost. But, if you're looking for an easy-to-use device that won't break the bank, check out LiteOn's latest round of DVD recorders with built-in hard drives.

Chris Lewis Posted: May 28, 2004 Published: Jun 01, 2004 0 comments
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.

Al Griffin Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound quality for Bluetooth
Audiophile-friendly look
Pain-free setup
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It might not be high-rez or high end, but Mass Fidelity’s Bluetooth receiver is a great option for casual listening.

Bluetooth gets a bad rap in the hi-fi world, and for good reason: In contrast to other wireless audio technologies that let you stream uncompressed CD-quality audio from a PC or portable device, Bluetooth subjects the signal to lossy compression. If you’re an audiophile with a reputation to uphold, the story pretty much ends there.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 27, 2007 0 comments
Think of it as the Xbox 360.1

In the video-game business, the stakes are high. So, the Big Three have detailed road maps and five-year plans. A new console usually remains unchanged for at least a few Christmases, save for possible software updates and minor technical variations. However, this isn't the case with the Xbox 360. After only a record 17 months in its original incarnation, it has transformed into the Xbox 360 Elite, with two noteworthy hardware upgrades plus a fresh style.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 22, 2007 Published: Feb 22, 2007 0 comments
Games and movies collide, again, this time in high-def.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD player is targeted specifically at the owners of the Xbox 360 gaming console—or those on the fence about purchasing one. It's an affordable way to bring HD DVD into your existing multimedia system. This small disc spinner will not work by itself; rather, it will only operate in conjunction with one of the two available versions of the Xbox 360, or with a PC (sort of, as you'll see later). It's another box (which will of course take up more space), and it lacks the sleek approach of a single-chassis solution. But the easily replaceable USB cable that connects the HD DVD player to your Xbox does offer a bit of placement freedom. This in turn makes the drive's integrated USB hub potentially more versatile.

Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 27, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Integrates with cable or satellite set-top box with advanced One Guide
Improved Kinect camera for voice and gesture control
Blu-ray player works with voice and gesture control
Minus
Requires Xbox Gold membership to stream from some services
Some streaming services available on Xbox 360 not yet on Xbox One
Can stop playback to say “hi” to a new user that has stepped into the room

THE VERDICT
For gamers who want a streaming all-in-one entertainment device, this is the console to buy.

The Xbox One was released in November 2013, exactly eight years after the release of Microsoft's last game console, the Xbox 360. In those eight years, the Xbox 360 was updated and upgraded, including the addition of the Kinect camera for voice and gesture control. In the past couple of years, a number of streaming services were also added, making the Xbox 360 a viable whole-family entertainment device. Now, the Xbox One has “improved” on the 360’s features. The Kinect has been upgraded. TV integration and a Blu-ray player have been added. The result: the Xbox One may be poised to fulfill Microsoft’s hope to make it the only component you’ll need to add to your home theater.

Al Griffin Posted: May 27, 2014 7 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Involving gameplay and graphics
Powerful Smart TV features
Wide range of remote control options
Minus
Features may be overkill for some
No DVR control

THE VERDICT
Microsoft’s next-gen console is a home entertainment powerhouse. Games, movies, music—it’s got it all.

Microsoft wants to take over the living room. OK, maybe that premise isn’t exactly new. About 10 years ago, tech pundits used the same words when discussing the Windows Media Center PC, an all-in-one solution that combined computing and home entertainment in a big, ungainly box. You don’t hear much about Microsoft’s Media Center PC ambitions anymore. What you do hear about is the Xbox One, the latest version of the company’s successful game console. And yes, Microsoft still wants to take over the living room, except now they plan to do so through the Xbox One.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 15, 2006 0 comments
Praise the Lord, and pass the remote.

Sometimes an idea is so appealing—world-shaping concepts like communism, capitalism, free love, or spandex clothing—that it blinds believers to shortcomings that are otherwise glaringly obvious to those on the jaded, dispassionate periphery. We may look down our noses and scoff, yet it's hard to dismiss the power of simple belief.

HT Staff Posted: Jul 11, 2002 Published: Jul 12, 2002 0 comments
Play compressed audio files on your DVD player.

Not content merely to conquer the world, the DVD player is rapidly becoming the Swiss army knife of consumer electronics. The list of formats it supports is already swollen: DVD-Video, Dolby Digital, Dolby Surround, DTS, the videoCD format that's so popular in Asia, and (of course) the CD, not to mention CD-Rs and CD-RWs. Gourmet formats like DVD-Audio, SACD, and even the obscure 24/96 stereo Digital Audio Disc are finding their way into affordable DVD players, as is a decidedly nongourmet format: MP3 compressed audio is coming to a DVD player near you.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
They want to take you higher.

The component that put NAD on the map in the mid 1970s—the 3020 integrated stereo amplifier—didn't look like a giant killer. Finished in an indeterminate shade of grayish-brown and devoid of gee-whiz features, the 3020 nevertheless became one of the best-selling audiophile amplifiers of all time—and not just because it sounded better than anything going for two or three times its humble MSRP. The 3020 had that special something that made it, well, lovable. Over the decades, the engineers squeezed a bit of the 3020's magic into every NAD product, but they've pulled out all the stops with the new Masters Series components. They had to, as the ultimate NADs are competing with the likes of Anthem, Arcam, B&K, and Rotel. They're playing with the big boys now.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 28, 2005 0 comments
Well that sure is 1080p.

I must admit I, and I assume you, had never heard of this company before this review. The boss (Maureen Jenson) had been talking with them and had a review sample sent to our studio. I didn't find that part out until later. As far as I knew, this product quietly and unceremoniously just showed up. Its plain, unlabeled brown box was so nondescript that it lay unnoticed for several days. Had we not been clearing space to make room for the six RPTVs from the Face Off we had just finished (see our February 2005 issue), who knows how long it may have sat there. I opened the box to check out what it was, and my eye caught what your eye surely caught when you read the headline above: 1080p. As I investigated further, this DVD player only got cooler.

Chris Chiarella Posted: May 21, 2007 Published: Apr 21, 2007 0 comments
Putting the fun back into next-generation consoles.

Nintendo's follow-up to their popular GameCube—number three in the Big Three consoles of the previous generation—is the Wii (pronounced "we"), which represents a very different approach from SCEA's and Microsoft's next-gen gaming offerings. The humble Wii de-emphasizes the absolute latest and greatest in graphics and game audio, supporting a maximum video resolution of only 480p, in EDTV mode. Instead, it offers innovation in game design and control. And you can buy two of these Wii consoles for the price of the stripped-down PlayStation 3 model.

John Sciacca Posted: Jun 03, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $220

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Terrific interface
Fast and simple setup
Stream shows to anywhere via Internet
Minus
No direct HDMI output
Must add your own hard drive
Long buffer time for channel surfing
No “resume play” function for recordings

THE VERDICT
Tablo offers cord cutters an affordable option to enjoy DVR features and view TV from anywhere in the world.

Cord cutting is a trend that continues to gain momentum. And why not? With low-cost/free services like Netflix and YouTube accounting for more than 50 percent of Web traffic in the U.S., it’s obvious that people are happy to get their content from any place that doesn’t require a monthly pound of flesh. Even TV networks have started accepting the streaming mentality by offering shows online, typically a day (or more) after they have aired live but still giving viewers an alternative to the traditional cable or satellite pay-to-view option.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
Because more is better.

The only thing better than an inexpensive player that will play virtually any disc you ask it to is an inexpensive player that will play virtually any six discs you ask it to. With the DV-CP802, Onkyo has lowered the price bar and upped the ante in the category of disc changers, including some nice higher-end perks in an entry-level machine.

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