Apple's computers have always been audio- and video-friendly, but the company has mostly left the home entertainment part of the equation up to third-party developers. Although an Apple hard-disk video recorder or music server has seemed like an obvious thing for Steve Jobs to trot out, year after year there's been nothing but new (and very welcome) takes on the iPod.
In the last 5 years, more than 50 companies have introduced home-network-ready receivers that connect your computer with your TV and audio system so you can stream music, TV shows, movies, and photos from the home office to your home theater. As place-shifting devices go, Apple TV - the slickest media receiver yet - is decidedly late to the game.
When Apple introduced its lower-priced line of iMacs in 1998, it made a big step toward its goal of getting Macintosh computers in the hands of a wider range of users. The line has undergone a number of changes since then, with new iMacs sporting everything from psychedelic candy-color cases to powerful built-in video editing capabilities.
Portable media players with touchscreens have been captivating users ever since Apple's introduction this summer of the iPhone. No need to wonder why: Imagine all your music, videos, and photos stored in a device slim enough for your pocket and available for playback at, literally, the touch of a finger.
The Internet has come alive with cheers of audiophiles and jeers of audiophobes since CNN.com reported unconfirmed rumors that download services such as iTunes and Amazon MP3 would soon begin offering music files with 24-bit resolution. Technically, this is a step up from the 16-bit resolution available in most downloads. But predictably, non-audiophiles are criticizing this move as little more than a naked marketing ploy.
Don't get us wrong - today's top TVs are great. But where do we go from here? What's going to get us video enthusiasts really excited? Broader color spectra arising from LED-based technologies? Frame rates moving up to 240 Hz?
It’s no secret that prolonged exposure to loud music can lead to tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears) and permanent hearing loss. Any number of famous rock musicians have acknowledged having hearing problems. Hitting closer to home, the Hearing Health Foundation reports that 50 million Americans live with hearing loss, a staggering statistic that includes one in five teens, whose hearing problems are largely attributed to listening to music through headphones—especially earbuds—at high volumes for an extended period.
Q. I have a question regarding the "Ask an Installer" column in the September issue. In his answer, the installer recommended putting in Cat-5e cable in a new home installation for sending video and audio to multiple rooms. Wouldn't it be better to install Cat-6 rather than Cat-5e, given its high-speed design for 1- and potentially 10-gigabit Ethernet?
Q. I installed a home theater in my living room (which is essentially a square room) using a ceiling-mounted front projector, motorized screen, and four freestanding Magnepan speakers in the four corners of the room. It's great for watching movies. Then, my wife decided daytime viewing would be better with a plasma in the room.