We have a gaggle of national holidays, but only a few aren't moved around to fall on a Monday so we can all enjoy a three-day weekend. The fixed dates of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years come to mind. No matter how much some might want to change them, New Years always falls on January 1, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Black Friday following it, and Christmas is a religious holiday (don't remind the wrong crowd of that) whose date was set in stone centuries before the U.S. of A. was the U.S. of A.
Time for a dip in the summer movie pool. My splashing around has so far been limited to Star Trek and Up, but both, in their own ways, are the best of the summer lot so far (as of early June). Yea, I know, it's not even summer yet. But don't tell Hollywood. In any case, I can hardly wait for the Blu-rays of both of these films, sure to be coming to your local video store in the fall.
In the past, I've never actually tried using an ordinary wall as a screen for a video projector. Never really had to. Conventional wisdom states that a good screen is an equal partner with the projector in producing a great image. Or nearly equal, that is, if you're a projector manufacturer and not a screen maker!
The video world woke up last Friday to the news reports that Pioneer Electronics, long a leader in consumer video display technology, was getting out of the video display business. At first, the reports did not come from Pioneer itself, but rather from news agencies (first in Japan, later overseas) that put two and two together and concluded that they really did equal four.
You know who you are. You're an experienced <I>Ultimate AV</I> reader with friends who just bought a new flat panel HDTV for the holidays. They've had it delivered and set up by Crazy Zeke's TV and Refrigerator Superstore.
A small but vocal segment of the video business, and of video enthusiasts, believes that HD on a disc—that is, Blu-ray—is merely a stopgap. Soon, they are certain, we will all get our HD movie fix via Internet downloads.
In a recent e-mail, an old friend and audio reviewer asked about Blu-ray players. I tried to steer him away (successfully, I hope) from what he thought was a good deal on an new, unused first generation Sony Blu-ray player. The seller had apparently almost convinced him that this was some sort of undiscovered gem, akin (though in a different application) to the early, tank-like SACD players held in high regard by some audiophiles.
Last week we had fireworks and speeches in Denver, as 84,000 screaming fans jammed Invesco Field to celebrate the upcoming CEDIA Expo. It was the biggest kickoff CEDIA has had since Bose sued them for use of the term "Lifestyle."
Living as I do in a suburb of LA, it's hard to avoid movie news. The local rag, the <I>Los Angeles Times</I>, is awash in it. Its theater listings take up an entire section of the paper, which on Friday and Sunday can feature huge, double-page ads for major releases. So if a movie opens to big notices and reviews, good or bad, it's hard to avoid hearing about it around here.
A recent article on the <I>Electronic House</I> website offered three reasons to avoid jumping onto the Blu-ray bandwagon—at least for now. One of the arguments—that Blu-ray quality is still inconsistent—read as follows:
I recently spent a weekend cleaning up my home office, the retreat where I write much of my deathless prose. I hadn't rummaged through some of my files for several years, but had to make room for the piles of new stuff that have managed to build up to the point where I couldn't find things. This sorting process invariably takes longer than you plan, as you find things that require instant action (as they did two years ago) and others that demand to be re-read and enjoyed again.