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OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Joel Brinkley Posted: Feb 15, 2003 0 comments

Anyone in the market for a digital television receiver in recent months might have found them hard to come by. Manufacturers stopped making older models early this year when they began working on newer ones with updated features and receiver chips. Because most digital receivers these days also double as DirecTV tuners, one factor motivating this retooling was DirecTV's decision last year to make DVI the official digital-connection format for the service, forcing manufacturers to provide new receivers with DVI outputs.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 22, 2005 0 comments
Feed your hungry eyes and ears on an attractively entertaining meal of lean on-wall speakers and tender, choice electronics.

Whether by nature or nurture, I'm a speaker guy. I'm more captivated by speakers than any of the associated electronics in a home theater system. As a result of this singular infatuation, I've always believed, as a general rule of thumb, that you should allocate at least half of the total cost of the audio portion of your system to the speakers. I don't know why the math seems to work out that way, but, in my mind, it just does. So what am I to make of a system in which the Primare electronics cost twice as much as the Sequence/REL speaker package?

Kevin Hunt Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
1-Bit o honey.

In a previous lifetime, the Sharp SD-PX2 was probably a too-cool 1940s Bakelite radio—boxy, plastic, and proud of it. The SD-PX2 DVD/receiver is a certifiable forward-thinker. Utilizing Sharp's 1-Bit digital amplifier technology, the streamline SD-PX2 packs a DVD player and receiver into a stand-up chassis that, at only 4.5 inches deep, wouldn't look out of place on a bedside stand.

Chris Lewis Posted: Jul 20, 2005 0 comments
The high end of high-end universals.

There are essentially two types of high-resolution audio: that which comes out of a high-end player and that which doesn't. Now, before I go on extolling the virtues of high-end players—and when I say high-end, I'm not talking about price alone—I should point out how impressed I am even by what inexpensive players can do with SACD and DVD-Audio. I've heard these formats sound good coming out of sub-$500 players, and that, to me, is one of the most telling indications that these formats are indeed living up to their promise of significantly higher-quality digital sound. But, as with CD, vinyl, or any other format that preceded SACD and DVD-Audio, they sound that much better through a top-shelf player. You can't say you've truly experienced a format until you've experienced it from a high-end system, and a true high-end system starts with a high-end player.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 23, 2007 Published: Mar 23, 2007 0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 11, 2002 Published: Jun 12, 2002 0 comments
�ReplayTV goes online.

At first glance, this appears to be yet another review of yet another PVR. Sure, this PVR looks a little cooler and seems a bit newer, but take a closer look at the back panel. There amongst all of the inputs you'd expect to see is an Ethernet connection. ReplayTV and new owner SONICblue have pushed the PVR to the next level: the Internet.

Bruce Fordyce Posted: Apr 28, 2000 Published: Apr 29, 2000 0 comments
Finally, you can store all your movies in one tidy, little box— Sony's DVP-CX850D 200-disc changer. Among DVD's grand promises are not just CD-quality sound and 500-line picture resolution but the ability to finally store all your movies in one small, tidy box. Such is the accomplishment of the Sony DVP-CX850D 200-disc DVD/CD changer. Imagine being able to hold 200 movies within a 7.5- by 17- by 19-inch package. The equivalent stack of VHS tapes makes for a 16-foot skyscraper that's neither practical nor elegant. For the average suburban home-movie enthusiast, the ability to store a complete studio of movie (and music) software in a rack-mountable changer goes a long way toward promoting marital (or cohabitant) bliss...or at least a defendable détente. If you're a big-time collector and have more than 200 disc titles, the DVP-CX850D can be daisy-chained to another appropriately equipped changer. Priced at $899, the DVP-CX850D is lavished with so many technical features that filtering it down to a 1,200-word review is an exercise in minimalism, but here goes.
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 19, 2002 Published: Dec 20, 2002 0 comments
Upping the ante.

Thanks to consumer interest, competition, and their fundamental coolness, high-resolution audio players are falling in price to a point where almost everyone can afford them. Sony's DVP-NS755V, for example, is only $250, and it features SACD capability and progressive scanning. A year ago, this player's predecessor excited us as an inexpensive progressive-scan DVD player. Now Sony ups the ante by adding SACD and keeping the price the same.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 15, 2006 0 comments
Your DVD collection flies first class.

Why pay $1,300 for a DVD player when you can get one for $100? You might as well ask, why fly first class when you can fly coach? Membership in the club of videophiles has its privileges. There will always be people who can afford to pay extra for tangible benefits, like top picture and sound quality, and intangible ones, like pride of ownership.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: May 01, 2005 Published: May 17, 2005 0 comments
Upconversion, and then some.

Ah, it seems like only yesterday that we reviewed the first DVD player that upconverted the video signal to 720p or 1080i. It was the defining feature in last year's first-generation players. Now, as second-generation models are announced, manufacturers are already asking upconversion to share the spotlight with other features like DVD recording, DVD/VHS combo drives, and high-resolution audio playback. Sony's first entry into the upconverting category is the DVP-NS975V, which adds SACD playback without adding much to the bottom line.

Posted: Jan 31, 2001 Published: Feb 01, 2001 0 comments
The Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD/DVD player proves you can increase a product's value and raise the price at the same time.

Sign up for a Vons-supermarket club card today, and you can purchase a name-brand DVD player for $170! It's true. We saw it with our own eyes.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 18, 2005 0 comments
More video-game hardware in less space.

My medication is obviously not working because I'm still talking to myself. Marveling at the redesigned PlayStation 2's jaw-droppingly slender form factor for about 10 minutes straight, I caught myself actually saying "Wow" out loud, even though I was alone. It's comparable in size to a paperback book, but it reminds me more of a portable DVD player, sans screen, in black. While some of the accessories designed for use with the original PS2 are not compatible with this new design (the vertical stand and the Multitap to allow four players instead of the standard two, although new versions of each are now available), I was happy to find that my step-up Monster Game products all still fit. The digital optical cable and component video adapter plugged into the obvious places, while the replacement AC cable now patches into the breakout AC adapter (the 8.5-volt power supply is now located outside the console, which is another secret to the PS2's profound weight loss). At just 2 pounds, it's half as heavy as its former incarnation and takes up one-quarter the space, leaving me with vast amounts of open air in my under-TV gear stack after a quick, new-for-old PS2 swap. I do wish it had a catchier moniker, rather than simply "the 70000 Series."

Benjamin Dover Posted: Mar 01, 2004 0 comments
You can have it all (almost).

If you're like me, you're sick and tired of format wars. When will these companies learn that having to choose between formats only leads to consumer frustration and, sometimes, outright rebellion? Perhaps this is why DVD-Audio and SACD have not taken off like their proponents might have wished. And perhaps this is why several companies have introduced universal players that will play both formats in addition to DVD-Video and good ol' CD.

Joel Brinkley Posted: Mar 10, 2003 0 comments

Sony and Zenith have enviable records in the world of DirecTV and digital television set-top boxes. Sony's first such product, the SAT-HD100, was among the best on the market, with topnotch performance and a host of enviable features. That receiver, along with one by Panasonic, were the two most sensitive I had ever seen. And while the Sony had some problems, among them a noisy fan and the lack of aspect-ratio control, last year I judged it the best of a troubled lot.

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