THE BIG PICTURE

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 04, 2010 7 comments

Now that we've entered the "tweens" of the 21st century, we finally leave the "aughts" behind. It was an eventful decade for home theater, and I could wax rhapsodic about how far we've progressed in the last 10 years, but I'd rather focus on what's to come, especially since CES starts this week. What home-theater harbingers might we see in Las Vegas?

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 18, 2009 7 comments

Last night, I attended a special preview screening of <I>Avatar</I>, one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year. Presented a few hours before the movie opened to the general public, the screening was hosted by 20th Century Fox, which gave 50 tickets in the front-most section of the theater to Panasonic for its contribution of equipment during production. Fortunately, I was near the front of that line, so I was able to sit in the last row of that section&#151;still a bit too close, but very immersive. I'm going to give you my impressions while minimizing any spoilers, though I found no surprises in this movie other than the incredible 3D imagery, which is certainly no secret.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 15, 2009 14 comments

<I>All photos by Scott Wilkinson</I>

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 03, 2009 8 comments

<I>After years of waiting, I plan to purchase my home-theater dream system. I would like a screen in the 80-inch-and-larger range. I'd been looking exclusively at projectors, in particular something like the JVC DLA-RS25.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 25, 2009 7 comments

I've always been a bit bummed that plasma TVs hold such a small market share compared with LCDs. And it doesn't help when companies like Vizio and Pioneer drop out of the plasma business altogether. Yet when I visit my local CostCo, I can see why—the LCDs on display are definitely brighter than the plasmas, which is why they fly off the shelves while the plasmas languish.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 09, 2009 8 comments

Now in its fourth year since the format was launched, Blu-ray remains a bit enigmatic. Of course, most early adopters and movie enthusiasts eagerly embrace it, and rightly so&#151;Blu-ray provides the best picture and sound quality you can get from a home-theater source. But its success in the mass market is less clear, at least so far. To assess this and other issues related to the state of Blu-ray, the <A href="http://www.dvdinformation.com/">Digital Entertainment Group (DEG)</A>, an industry-funded, non-profit organization that promotes various types of home entertainment, hosted a day-long conference last week at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, calling it Blu-Con 2.0.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 16, 2009 3 comments

With all the hoopla surrounding President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, the other 2009 Nobel Prizes have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle. In particular, I want to acknowledge the winners of the Physics Prize, which was awarded to three scientists for their work in fiber optics and digital imaging. But whereas the Peace Prize seems to have been awarded based on potential, the Physics Prize honors work done four decades ago that has had a fundamental impact on our lives today.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 20, 2009 0 comments

<I>I have heard you and Leo Laporte discuss the merits of 1080p versus 1080i signals. You both agreed that both methods are almost indistinguishable from each other, but neither of you seemed clear as to why they were so close. Well, I believe I may have the reason, but please correct me if I am wrong. The essential feature is their respective frame/field rates. 1080p is 30 true frames or complete pictures per second, whereas 1080i is 60 fields per second, but because it is interlaced, it also results in a true 30 frames per second. Thus, both formats generate the exact same number of true frames or pictures per second, which is why their ultimate picture qualities are identical.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 07, 2009 2 comments

As many of you know, the CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) Expo is this week, so I'm on my way to Atlanta, Georgia, which, by all accounts, will be hot and muggy the whole time&#151;yuck! Oh well, the show must go on. I'll be blogging throughout the convention, but before I start, I thought I'd preview a few of the trends I expect to see there...

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 24, 2009 2 comments

If you've been reading about home theater for any length of time, you've probably heard of Stewart Filmscreen, the company that represents the lion's share of the consumer and commercial projection-screen market. Recently, Stewart conducted its first-ever factory tour for about 20 members of the press, which was an eye-opening&#151;and, at certain moments, eye-watering&#151;experience.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 06, 2009 7 comments

<I>I purchased an SPL meter to level the speakers in my 5.1 surround system. I read an article in </I>Home Theater<I> magazine about how to use this device, but I'm still not sure how to do it. For example, I'm not sure where to put the dial&#151;do I start at 80 or 120?

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 21, 2009 1 comments

As anyone who watches TV, listens to radio, or surfs the Web knows by now, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the Moon and humanity's first footfall on a celestial body other than the Earth. I remember watching with rapt attention as the grainy, fuzzy, black-and-white video was accompanied by the authoritative voice of Walter Cronkite, who was so overcome with emotion at that moment, he paused, removed his glasses, and chuckled in amazement. (BTW, anyone who believes the moon landings were staged must watch the <I>Mythbusters</I> episode about it. Busted!)

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 08, 2009 9 comments

A friend of mine is a correspondent for KCET, the Los Angeles PBS station. A few days ago, he told me that he had been assigned to cover the Michael Jackson memorial held yesterday at Staples Center and that he was not looking forward to it at all. Aside from the logistical nightmare of getting through the traffic jams and police barricades, he didn't get what all the fuss is about. "Sure, Jackson was a good entertainer," he said, "but was he really important enough for all this?" He also wondered why so many people can become so active over Jackson's death&#151;showing up at the gates of Neverland Ranch and the Jackson family home, signing up for tickets to the memorial&#151;but not over much more important issues such as health care.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 25, 2009 8 comments

I just got back from seeing Disney/Pixar's <I>Up</I> in digital 3D. The movie itself is beautiful, both visually and conceptually. The story is charming yet poignant with lots of laughs, the voice actors&#151;led by Ed Asner as the gruff Carl Fredricksen&#151;are superb, and the animation is stunning. Interestingly, many of the animated items, even most of the dogs, are essentially photorealistic, but the humans are deliberate caricatures. I suspect Pixar goes this route because it's so difficult to animate truly realistic-looking people thanks to the exquisite human sensitivity to facial detail and body language. I have no problem with that, but I was disappointed in the 3D presentation for several reasons.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 12, 2009 2 comments

As I write this, I'm sitting at Gate 7 in the JetBlue terminal at JFK International Airport, awaiting my flight home after attending the first-ever CEA Line Shows, held June 10 and 11 across the street from the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan. I made the long trip to New York because I wanted to support the concept embodied by the event and encourage it to grow next year.

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