Last time I checked, there were five different recordable-DVD disc types - a potential compatibility catastrophe. Wouldn't it be great if someone invented a player that could play all kinds of DVDs? Even better, what if it was also a recorder?
Ever since I got my DVD player and video hard-disk recorder, I've been itching to throw my VCR in the garbage. I haven't done it, though, since I have no other way to play my many VHS tapes - or even VHS-C tapes without using a camcorder.
First impressions can be a dangerous thing, especially for an A/V equipment reviewer. Allowing yourself to become predisposed to thinking that one company’s component will be this and another company’s component will be that can cloud a review and allow for the praising of some unworthy products while subjecting others to unfair criticism.
As new formats go, Blu-ray Disc got off to a shaky start. First, there were repeated production delays with Sony's PlayStation 3, an overhauled version of the company's popular game console that features a Blu-ray Disc drive for high-definition movie playback.
Back in the Stone Age of Digital Audio (circa 1990), discerning audiophiles paid big bucks for elegant-looking CD players. Today the emphasis is on performance rather than looks. Most DVD players are visually boring, and their lack of heft hardly inspires confidence. Sometimes I yearn for the days when a player's quality could literally be weighed.
The latest DVD recorders have so many advanced features that they can be daunting to use. Just pick up the instruction manual, and you'll likely find yourself slogging through pages of editing commands as well as countless rules for recording on different disc formats.
Photos by Tony Cordoza Not so long ago, the VCR reigned supreme. Much like the proverbial chicken in every pot, there was a VCR in every house. If you wanted to time-shift the soap opera that your job inconveniently caused you to miss, you programmed your VCR. If you wanted to watch a movie, you turned to your trusty VCR.
Some people immediately get that the iPad can become the controller for an automation system, allowing them to control not only their audio/video gear but also their lights, HVAC, security, and irrigation systems.
Yamaha's remarkably trim DVD-S1500 manages to go beyond most other "universal" players. Of course it plays DVD movies plus DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD music discs, most varie-ties of recordable DVDs, and CDs with standard audio, MP3 files, or JPEG-format still images. But it also plays DVDs in the European PAL format on a U.S.-standard TV.
The Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player had been out just a couple of days when my phone began ringing with some interesting reports from the field. It didn't take long to realize that this would be no ordinary product launch.
One of the biggest news items to emerge from last year's Consumer Electronics Show was LG's announcement of a dual-format deck that could play both Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs. We subsequently got our hands on that player, the BH100 Super Multi Blue, and we found it an intriguing but frustratingly incomplete solution.