In the book of 1,000 and One Nights, Aladdin discovers a magic lamp that when rubbed releases a powerful, wish-granting genie. DirecTV is hoping that its new Genie whole-home DVR will grant your TV-viewing wishes — no bottle rubbing required.
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.
New technologies for time-shifting TV have been multiplying in recent years, making the VCR seem as old-fashioned as the Victrola. Most people know about TiVo and ReplayTV - hard-disk video recorders that seek out and store programs based on your viewing habits. But now there's also PC software like Snapstream's BeyondTV 3 that lets you capture shows on your computer hard drive.
Like swimmers in some Darwinian gene pool, DVD recorders are quickly mutating to fill every possible niche. Yet as they evolve, you can count on finding a core set of features in most decks - a TV tuner, a VCR-style timer, and a handful of recording "modes" that let you trade picture quality for playback time.
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar: You want to buy a DVD-Video player to impress your friends with your techo-hipness (and besides, you're tired of watching fuzzy VHS rentals). You have a digital surround receiver, so the player doesn't need a Dolby Digital or DTS decoder.
Elite is Pioneer’s premier home audio line, much like Lexus is to Toyota. That means you can expect better build quality, a longer warranty, step-up features, and premium performance. New to Elite this year are two network audio players, the N-30 and N-50, that stream audio (including high-rez files up to 192-kHz/24-bit) from a computer, play Internet radio, and use Apple’s AirPlay for easy wireless networking with iOS devices. When it comes to basic features, the two are essentially the same. But there are several key performance differences between the players that make it easy to argue the case for the N-50’s $200 price premium.
Logitech's Revue Google TV box is quickly approaching, but that hasn't stopped the recent influx of boxes designed to get the Internet (or at least parts of it) onto an HDTV. The latest effort from Western Digital sounds like an impressive one. Inside, WD has packed a full terabyte of storage, to which you can add media from networked PCs and Macs or via its pair of USB ports.
Photos by Tony Cordoza Just when you thought you had mastered the intricacies of video connectivity-having sorted out composite video, S-video, and the two flavors of component video (interlaced and progressive-scan)-V Inc.'s Bravo D1 comes along to make life complicated again.
For a lot of reasons, a DVD recorder equipped with a hard-disk drive makes a lot of sense. Sharp's stylish DV-HR300, which contains a drive with an 80-gigabyte (GB) capacity, is a good example of the advantages of such an arrangement.