OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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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.

Robert Scott Posted: May 17, 2005 0 comments
This universal disc changer makes beautiful music.

As most of the world scurries down the MP3 hole, gobbling up low-quality music files for the sake of convenience, I prefer the loftier heights of DVD-Audio and SACD. Not only are these formats of a higher quality than CD (not to mention a much higher quality than MP3), they offer multichannel mixes that make full use of 5.1-channel home theater audio systems. And, with a universal disc player, I can buy the music I want to hear, regardless of the format on which it is released.

Joel Brinkley Posted: May 15, 2005 Published: May 16, 2005 0 comments

Stand-alone DTV tuners may become an extinct species in the not-too-distant future, when the government's mandate to include one in almost every television takes effect in the months ahead. But for now, several million people own high-definition monitors that cannot receive free, over-the-air digital broadcasts without an outboard box. Some of these monitors are still for sale. As an example, Fujitsu still sells plasma monitors.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Apr 17, 2005 0 comments
No more excuses; it's time to go digital.

Since the arrival of the DVD recorder several years ago, reviewer types have speculated about just what would have to take place for the DVD recorder to gain mass acceptance and replace the VCR in people's homes. Obviously, price needed to drop way below the original four-figure mark, but what else? Ease of use? Naturally, but how easy is easy? Features? Maybe. VCRs aren't exactly feature-laden themselves, but that doesn't stop everyone from owning one.

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."

Chris Lewis Posted: Mar 18, 2005 0 comments
It's a speaker system away from an HTIB, with more bang for the buck.

Back in the days before HTIBs, there was another kind of home-theater-in-a-box—better known as an A/V receiver. In this era of consolidation, we probably don't entirely grasp the impact that A/V receivers had when they debuted some 25 years ago. A preamplifier, processor, and amplifier all in one box (literally), with a radio tuner thrown in for good measure, was impressive stuff back in the early '80s. Receivers were the Swiss Army knives of home audio, and they, along with surround sound itself, are probably as responsible as anything for the audio explosion amongst the masses that we now know as home theater.

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
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.

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.

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