NEW PRODUCTS

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Peter Pachal Posted: Oct 04, 2006 0 comments

PADDED UP You've got a souped-up multiroom system - don't settle for a low-tech keypad. Elan's Olè suspends a touch-sensitive button membrane above a backlit slide graphic to give the illusion of a touchpad without the crazy expense of one.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2006 0 comments

0604_new_elan_xm_200Can't get enough satellite radio? The Elan XM-R3 XM radio tuner ($1,550) was made just for you. The rack-mountable unit has a trio of XM tuners onboard so you can stream separate XM channels to three different rooms in your house simultaneously.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Oct 04, 2006 0 comments

FIRST-CLASS SEAT Leather seats, power reclining, 5-inch-thick cushions - the home theater seats custom-made by Elite HTS bestow luxury viewing on the serious enthusiast. Details like scratch-resistant cup holders and a "wall-hugging" reclining mechanism that needs just 4 inches of clearance behind make all the difference.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2006 0 comments

For the past few years, the trend in speaker design has been to make models that blend into the environment - from super-flat on-wall speakers to paintable in-walls that disappear entirely. But the Energy RC-Mini speakers ($200 to $250 each) scream that loudspeakers can be beautiful!

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 07, 2007 0 comments

HARBORING MUSIC These days, an iPod dock and $3.98 might get you a grande latte at Starbucks, but Escient has a dock model that qualifies as a premium blend. The FP-1 doesn't just stream your iPod music - it completely integrates it into the company's FireBall Music Manager, combining those songs with any tunes you have on servers or PCs.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 06, 2007 0 comments

SCALE IT UP After laying down some serious coin for a 1080p HDTV, you're going to want to make sure you feed that puppy nothing but the good stuff. That means con-verting all your video signals to that grandest of HD formats, which just happens to be the solitary mission of Gefen's Home Theater Scaler.

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Peter Pachal Posted: May 04, 2006 0 comments

COOL FACTOR It's nice to see other portable media players keeping up with the iPod, and Toshiba's gigabeat S Series has comparable video chops: a crisp 21/2-inch screen with 320 x 240-pixel resolution.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jun 06, 2006 0 comments

ALL IN ONE Of course it has seven amplifier channels at 85 watts for each speaker - that's a given. The reason you get a flagship receiver like the Harman Kardon AVR 745 is the bells and whistles: automatic speaker setup, outputs for two subwoofers, and a USB port for digital music streamed from your PC.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Dec 04, 2006 0 comments

SERVICE CENTER Harman Kardon's first media server takes your discs and makes them better. Any CD you feed it will be ripped to the convenient 160-GB hard disk. Any DVD you feed it will be upconverted to 720p HD format through the HDMI output. But streaming is this box's main mission: four rooms, four streams - mix 'em however you want.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 07, 2006 0 comments

For the most part, DVD players have migrated to the two ends of the price spectrum: no-frills players that cost less than a pepper steak, and mega-high-end machines with a list of processors so long it's like browsing the Tokyo phone book. But Harman Kardon is hanging onto the middle ground with the DVD 47 ($399).

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments

Keep It Real It's kind of a bizarre resolution for a plasma TV - 1,024 x 1,080 pixels - but Hitachi just might know what it's doing here. Those 1 million pixels are driven by a technology called ALiS (Alternate Lighting of Surfaces) to get the most detail out of 1080i signals (the most common HD format) and bestow a smoother, more filmlike picture.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2007 0 comments

YOU'RE SO MONEY A few short years ago, a 50-inch plasma TV was a toy of the super-rich, reserved for those who could drop as much coin on a set as their kids' college tuition. At $2,500, Hitachi's P50H401 HD plasma heralds a new era, where bigscreens are within reach of ... well, at least someone you know.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Oct 04, 2006 0 comments

ALL ABOARD Now that your PC is full of photos, music, and videos (all legally downloaded, of course), they need a place to be appreciated. HP's MediaSmart LCD TV lets them bust out on its 37-inch display, streaming all your PC goodies through your home network or a Wi-Fi connection.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Apr 03, 2006 0 comments

It's the side view of a speaker with no sides - and no back either! Jamo's dipolar Reference R 909 ($15,000 a pair) has two 15-inch woofers, a 5.5-inch midrange, and a 1-inch tweeter. But it doesn't have a traditional cabinet.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jul 06, 2006 0 comments

ROUND SOUND Don't think of the radial as an iPod speaker dock - it's more befitting to call it an iPod stage, encircling the player with curved 60-watt speakers to bust out your tunes, but keeping the iPod front and center to remind everyone who's really the star of the show.

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