I collect old magazines. And (surprise!), most of them have something to do with audio or video. When I recently came across a copy of the June 1962 issue of the now defunct <I>High Fidelity</I> magazine, it seemed like a good time to have a look back at audio's past. Particularly since we sit on the cusp of the <A HREF="http://www.homeentertainment-expo.com/">2007 Home Entertainment Show</A> (May 11-13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Station in New York City)
Previously, on this blog (see below), I discussed the upgrades that HDMI 1.3 offered for video. Most of them, in my opinion, were nice to have as a hedge against future improvements in sources and displays, but did not offer any real benefits with present and foreseeable video formats, both standard and high definition. As far as video is concerned, then, I saw no reason to toss out your present gear or hold off a purchase until there's a wide range of sources, switchers, and displays with HDMI 1.3. That will likely be a long wait.
HDMI 1.0 was introduced to the market in 2002. As a means of carrying both digital audio and video between the source and the display, it offered several advantages over competing technologies, the most prominent being IEEE 1393, commonly known as FireWire. HDMI carried both audio and video, and also offered alluring security advantages that appealed, in particular, to Hollywood.
We may be gear heads here at UAV, but the not-so-secret secret about the consumer electronics business is that it's about music and movies. In other words, it's Show Biz. Without that connection, our equipment racks would be filled with expensive boat anchors.
I predicted years ago that we would be downloading music over the Internet long before <I>high quality</I> downloads were possible. That's the state we're in at present. Downloads that offer genuine CD-quality sound (forget about downloads up to SACD or DVD-Audio standards) are still more a promise than a reality.
We've all complained about some of the marginal films coming out on HD DVD and Blu-ray. The situation <I>is</I> improving, though not fast enough for most of us. But as I look through my growing HD DVD and Blu-ray collection, I do see more great titles than I imagined.
I have no statistics to back it up, but the week before the Super Bowl must be pretty hectic in your friendly neighborhood video store. Oh, sure, the end of year holidays are big, and tax refund season brings out the mad money that Uncle Sam has been keeping safe for you all year. But it's the annual rush to watch the Big Game on a Big Screen television that starts sports fans hearts aflutter.
<I> In this guest blog, contributor Steven Stone looks at the Algolith Flea, a $995 outboard video noise reduction box. In the blog entry following this one, I take a look at the $2995 Mosquito, Algolith's most sophisticated video noise reduction device.
Algolith's Mosquito is an outboard video noise reduction device that Algolith describes as an "analog and digital compression artifact reducer." At $3000, it may be the most expensive device of its kind offered to consumers. It may also be the most sophisticated. If you judge your audio-video components by weight, it won't make much of an impact. But weight has little to do with the performance of this sort of product.
It’s hard to believe but I now live in a two Bose household. My first Bose was a car stereo that came as part of a package deal in the Mazda 3 that I bought nearly two years ago. I had to take it to get the whole shebang. It wasn’t really a bad deal. Dissing Bose may be a spectator sport among heavy-duty audiophiles, but apart from a little bass heaviness (not exactly rare in car stereos), it’s a more than respectable piece of work. It I had wanted to buy a car for the stereo, I would have gone with an Acura TL.
The BeoVision 9 television, which just started shipping, is B&O's current flagship 50-inch plasma. The 50" set, at around $20,000, may seem pricey for a 1366x768 design (it uses Panasonic glass), and it is. But it does include a built-in center speaker with an Acoustic Lens tweeter and 5" woofer. It also features an on-board version of B&O's BeoMedia (available separately in the BeoSystem 3), which includes all of the features of a sophisticated pre-pro and more. These include full 7.1-channel decoding (expandable up to 10 channels), speaker switching and speaker assignment options that may be the most flexible on the market, and easy access to sources as diverse as CD, radio, cable TV, satellite TV, DVD, photos, digital cameras, and the Internet. And oh, yes, the entire cabinet has a motorized swivel. Very cool.
The BeoLab 3, shown here with acoustic engineer Peter Chapman, is a tiny sphere with a small woofer-midrange, a single Acoustic Lens tweeter, and a two on-board ICEpower amps, all in a tiny, spherical cabinet with an internal volume of 1.5 liters. It sounded remarkably close in balance to the big BeoLab 5 (the deepest bass and ultimate volume capability excluded, of course).