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OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jan 18, 2005 Published: Jan 19, 2005 0 comments
DVD recording for smarties.

I have a confession to make: I never took umbrage with having to set the clock on a VCR. I set my own. I set my mother's. I was even known to sneak into my friends' homes and set theirs while they slept, taking joy in the knowledge that their VCR could finally live up to its true functionality potential once I had put the blinking 12:00 out of its misery.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 14, 2004 Published: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments
Another step toward family bliss.

While the wife and I haven't quite reached a peace accord on the matter of our abundant remote controls, one source of marital friction has recently been downgraded to a non-issue: When once we clashed over dwindling recording space on our DVR, Humax has now given us 250 gigabytes, the most in any TiVo, which is frankly more capacity than we know what to do with. The T2500 TiVo Series2 digital video recorder is the Korean company's first consumer electronics product marketed in the United States, under their Humax USA brand. Although Humax is a major global manufacturer of satellite set-top boxes, this single-tuner recorder is not a DirecTV receiver, so you must provide it with a signal from either cable or a satellite box.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Dec 14, 2004 Published: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments
The sound goes round and round and comes out here.

The 2004 Home Entertainment East Show was chock full of cool, new high-tech goodies, but I found myself returning again and again to the Arcam/Gallo Acoustics room. This was all the more surprising because I'm pretty familiar with Arcam's uncommonly elegant electronics and Gallo's radically round speakers, but they were demoing the Drumline DVD at realistically loud levels, and the choreographed thunder of competing marching bands was huge, dynamically alive, and tons of fun. A week after the show, I was still reminiscing about the sound. I made some phone calls, worked out some scheduling and shipping details, and now I'm sitting here exploring the system's capabilities in my very own home theater. Let me tell ya, the spectacular sound I heard at the show wasn't a hallucination; the Arcam/Gallo combination is good. . .really good.

Michael Fremer Posted: Nov 07, 2004 2 comments

The sleek, silver LST-3410A offers an attractive combination of performance, functionality, and features, including both ATSC and NTSC OTA tuners; a QAM tuner for unencrypted cable channels (not tested); a 160GB hard-disk recorder; and the easy-to-navigate, feature-packed TV Guide On Screen program grid.

Peter Putman Posted: Nov 07, 2004 0 comments

As the transition from analog to digital TV chugs along, there have been some significant advances in the design and performance of set-top receivers. The earliest models, from 1997 to 1998, including RCA's DTC-100 and Panasonic's TU-DST50W, were fairly large, heavy boxes painted an imposing dark gray that had a limited amount of functionality and weren't all that sensitive to terrestrial 8VSB digital TV broadcasts.

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.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
The benefits are apparent.

Several years ago, I attended a David Copperfield show in Las Vegas and was invited onstage to be a part of one of his magic tricks. Sadly, it wasn't anything exciting, like being levitated or sawed in half. He just guessed my phone number after I wrote it down on a piece of paper and quickly burned up the paper. (No, he never did call.) Still, it was fascinating to try and figure out how he did that trick and the other more-impressive ones I witnessed that evening.

Chris Lewis Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
Toshiba gets in on the universal-for-everyone game.

If you sift through the Home Theater archives over the last few years, I think you'll find that I've been as optimistic as anyone about the future of universal disc players. That's saying something, too, because optimism isn't exactly my natural state. Still, even as sure as I was that universal players had a bright future, I wouldn't have dared predict that, a couple of years after the debut of the first model, there would be so many others to swell the ranks. It's not just the proliferation of players over that time period that's noteworthy, but also that they exist in healthy numbers at all price points, from the four-figured high-end realm through the around-$1,000 middle range and right down to the priced-so-that-almost-anyone-can-afford-them territory that we're exploring here.

Robert Scott Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
High-resolution, multichannel music is now within reach of the masses.

Time was, you had to choose between SACD and DVD-Audio if you wanted to hear high-resolution, multichannel music. And the players weren't cheap. Those days are gone, and a format war has been averted, thanks to universal players that don't care what kind of optical disc you feed them. Some of these players are even cheap—only in price, at least in the case of the Pioneer DV-578A, which gives you a lot of bang for $199.

N. Browning Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Hard-disk and DVD recording in one sleek box.

DVD recorders are quickly replacing VCRs as the component of choice to capture and archive TV shows—and rightly so. After all, the picture quality is generally better, and the discs take up a lot less shelf space than VHS tapes. Still, blank disks are relatively expensive, especially the rewritable varieties. In addition, rewritable discs aren't as compatible with conventional DVD players as the write-once discs.

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 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: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
The latest FireBall aims to give us what we've been missing.

One of the benefits of talking about home theater all day every day is that I get to hear people ask questions like this: "I'd buy a DVD megachanger if there were a way to keep track of my hundreds of discs, but what choice do I have?" Apparently, the spies from Escient were eavesdropping. Their FireBall DVDM-100 DVD and Music Manager has been designed specifically to integrate with the latest generation of super DVD jukeboxes to help identify and organize all of the movies and music stored inside, with a little help from the Internet. You can find a specific DVD in a hurry, sort through all of your comedies, or visually search through all of the covers, right from the sofa.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
If you fear commitment, this is the HDTV source for you.

As HDTV broadens its horizons, the role of the standalone HDTV tuner has diminished but certainly not disappeared. Sure, this year, the FCC ordered TV manufacturers to begin incorporating internal ATSC tuners into new 36-inch-or-larger TVs that have an NTSC tuner, but what if you've built your home theater around a high-end projector or a flat panel with no internal tuners? Sure, the satellite and cable companies are offering more HDTV content by the minute and adding DVRs to their new HD set-top boxes, but that doesn't help the person who can't have a satellite dish, isn't getting much (if any) HDTV from their cable company, or doesn't want to pay a monthly fee to watch and record HDTV.

N. Browning Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
Dubbing and dumping those bulky VHS tapes just got a whole lot easier.

If you're anything like me, you have a pile of VHS tapes lying around, gathering dust. Perhaps they're neatly organized, or maybe they're thrown in some boxes in the garage. They might be precious home movies of the tykes growing up, or they could contain rare TV appearances by celebs of a bygone era. In my case, they're mostly treasured TV shows that I captured to enjoy over and over again. The only problem is that they take up way too much space, and they're on videotape, which makes it almost impossible to find the spots I want to watch.

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