Hard to believe it, but it's been over 2 years since we unboxed our first Blu-ray Disc player here at Sound & Vision. Despite a sometimes stunning 1080p high-def picture (I say "sometimes" because the picture quality of the initial Blu-ray releases was a mixed bag), those first players had numerous shortcomings.
As soon as you pull it from the carton, you know that the Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD player means business. Its 17-inch rack-size width and 20 pounds of heft beckon to a day when men were men and DVD players were both taller and heavier than a slice of white bread.
Photos by Tony Cordoza You can get a hint of what's up with Samsung's top-of-the-line DVD player from its model number. The "HD" in DVD-HD931 signifies that it has a special output for "upconverted" DVD video signals that closely match the capabilities of high-definition TVs.
While you might want to start with a budget model if you're looking for your first DVD recorder, there are good reasons to explore the higher end of the price range. Up there, you'll find models that make it easier to do time-shift recording and that provide storage and editing options not found on starter units.
I'd been eagerly looking forward to the arrival of a Blu-ray Disc player at Sound & Vision since - well, ever since the rival HD DVD format launched last April. But our first round of Blu-ray movie watching ended with executive editor Rob Sabin and I walking away disappointed and confused.
The DVD format advanced from a high concept to a hot commodity blindingly fast. Navigating the crowded aisles of their local video stores, DVD enthusiasts - who just yesterday felt like elite, high-tech trailblazers - today rub shoulders with increasingly large crowds of new converts. And as models of DVD players have multiplied in number, so have their features and capabilities.
Being a custom installer is no easy feat. More often than not, the job involves problem-solving and figuring out a way to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Fortunately, the manufacturers that support the world of custom installation have produced a lot of terrific products to make these possible.
First, the obvious: The Astell&Kern AK100 is beautiful, both visually and in tactile terms, much the same way as the first iPod you ever saw was. Who cares what it is or what it does? You just want to hold it. And own it.
Photos by Tony Cordoza My old man told me I'd get nowhere trying to be all things to all people, but Denon appears to have done pretty well by flouting this adage with its new DVD-2900. (I always knew Dad was full of it.) It plays optical discs in just about every current video or audio flavor.
I'm struggling with this: What do you call these things? Digital Media Streamers? Digital Media Receivers? How about media extenders, media streamers, or digital media adapters? Maybe Internet Streaming Devices? If you abbreviate that last one, it sounds a bit sinister. "Dude, I got an ISD." Annnnnnnd, you're on a list somewhere.
Now's this for a cutting-edge shopping list: bread, milk, a dozen eggs, strawberries, zucchini, orange juice, chicken, sirloin, DVD player, spaghetti, ice cream, puppy chow. Yep, buying a DVD player these days can be as uneventful as picking up a quart of milk. And with low prices like $49, it is ridiculously tempting to pop one of 'em in your cart.
Here are the three most important things you should know about Toshiba's much anticipated HD-XA1, the world's very first high-definition optical disc player: 1. It's not just a DVD player - it's a computer.
While it might take a village to raise a child, it takes an army and lots of time to build an estate! Custom Theater and Audio (CTA) in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where I work as lead system designer, was recently involved in all aspects of the A/V design and installation for Phil and Janet Pate's new home in North Myrtle Beach.