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OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 14, 2006 0 comments
One tuner to free them all.

Back when our ancestors lived in caves, when storytelling was the main form of entertainment around the evening fire, the biggest alpha male would designate the storyteller and club to death anyone who interrupted. This social arrangement has survived well into the age of the remote control.

Posted: Jul 09, 2006 0 comments

HD DVD is finally here, and although there are a few ergonomic bumps on this yellow brick road of HD, the emerald city of next-gen sound and vision is unequivocally glorious. Simply put, HD DVD delivers on its promise of the best picture and sound that I've yet experienced outside the movie theater.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 15, 2006 0 comments
Go with the intergalactic flow.

Crime in New York gets more and more bizarre. The other day, someone broke into my apartment and redesigned my speakers. I'm not sure if our local burglars are capable of this. No, the KEF KHT 3005 is clearly the product of an extraterrestrial mind. Who else would reimagine a loudspeaker as a glossy-black egg? Indeed, who else would reimagine a subwoofer as a giant, staring eye?

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.

Gary Merson Posted: May 26, 2006 0 comments
HD DVD has (finally) arrived.

A new prerecorded video format is big news. It doesn’t come along every day. It’s been nine years since DVD was release, and it was 19 before that since LaserDisc. Enter HD DVD. Its higher transfer rate (35.5 mbps versus broadcast’s 19.4 mbps maximum) and advanced codecs (VC-1 and H.264) create a potential for audio and video quality to far exceeds broadcast HD, as well as containing a host of new features and capabilities. The first two models are the HD-A1 ($499) and HD-XA1 ($799). Both have the same performance; the step-up HD-XA model adds a better enclosure, a motorized door, RS-232, and a backlit remote.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 30, 2006 0 comments

It's here, but only just. On April 18th Toshiba launched the HD DVD format with the release of the $499 HD-A1 player. On the same day Warner released The Last Samurai and The Phantom of the Opera on HD DVD, and those two titles were joined by Universal's Serenity. Warner's Million Dollar Baby, also scheduled for the launch, was delayed initially but is in stores now. These were joined on April 25th by additional titles, including what is the easily best film released on the format so far, Apollo 13.

Michael Trei Posted: Mar 10, 2006 0 comments
Flexibility and value from a Scottish benchmark.

Imagine what it would be like if shopping for a new car involved the same number of decisions we must make when buying a home theater system. First, we would pick an engine, then we'd need a chassis to mount it in, and, to top it off, we would hire a coach builder to design a body to our specifications. This is, in fact, the way people bought luxury cars prior to World War II, before the car companies came to recognize that advancing technology required them to think of the design as an integrated whole rather than as a hodgepodge grouping of discrete components.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 28, 2006 0 comments
Spent almost everything on your HDTV? You can still afford a friend for it.

The war between competing next-generation, high-definition-quality DVD formats is still unfolding, a saga with more twists than an entire season of Lost. As I write this, manufacturers are still not offering specific product announcements or firm release dates. The problem is, HDTV is a reality right now. While the current over-the-air, cable, and satellite content is compelling and continuing to grow, I for one put the enjoyment of packaged media above all others, and I hate the thought that my HDTV's capabilities are often going to waste. What then to feed it?

Rebecca Day Posted: Feb 14, 2006 Published: Feb 15, 2006 0 comments
A complete system you won't want to hide in the basement.

My basement audio/video system is so last century. It's a mix-and-match collection of gear that's been retired as I've put together my real home theater system upstairs. The TV, a 30-inch analog CRT, circa 1988, doesn't even have a flat picture tube to its credit. The receiver maxes out at four-channel Dolby Pro Logic, and the speaker system is a mishmash of center and surround speakers (unmatched), with unshielded front speakers that deliver a killer image with stereo music but an unwelcome rainbow of colors when placed next to a video display. The DVD player is the only current-millennium piece in the stack, but not by much.

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.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 28, 2005 0 comments
Oh, mama, can this really be the end?

This universal disc player may mark the end of an era. Bear in mind that I did say may.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 19, 2005 0 comments
The Xbox 360 Is All Around Us

We offer facts, figures, and first impressions of Bill Gates and company's latest (and quite major) step toward providing Microsoft with a foothold in the world's living rooms. We look at games and accessories here, too, with a full review in the March 2006 Home Theater Magazine.

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?

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.

Robert Scott Posted: May 01, 2005 Published: May 17, 2005 0 comments
This combo unit lets you copy VHS tapes to DVD (and vice versa) and watch either format from a single device.

Panasonic is among the many manufacturers that now make combo VHS/DVD recorders; one of their current models is the DMR-E75V. This unit includes a VHS hi-fi VCR and a DVD drive that records on DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs (but not on DVD-RW), and it plays these formats, as well as DVD-Video, CD, CD-R/-RW (recorded with either normal CD or MP3 audio), and videoCD. It can even play DVD-Audio discs, but it only outputs two channels. I found out that playing DVD-Audio involves some sort of downmixing, but I was unable to get any more specific details of the process.

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