When progressive-scan DVD players first emerged almost two years ago, the already excellent picture quality we'd come to expect from standard players suddenly got a whole lot better. That's because the new models could convert video signals to a progressive-scan format for display on a TV or monitor with progressive-scan capabilities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While there are multiple ways to get TV programming — broadcast, cable, satellite, telco (Verizon FiOS/AT&T U-verse), or over the Internet — I’ve received mine via cable for as long as I’ve been a member of the TV-consuming public.
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.
When Logitech's Revue showed up at my door, I had already spent some time with it on a few different press events. But, after having it nestled under my HDTV for a few days, I really started to get a feel to how it actually figures into the media-consumption process. Having already applied the first over-the-air update, it's safe to say that the Revue does exactly as promised, at least from a technical perspective. Before it can truly revolutionize the way we watch, however, it's going to need some help.
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.
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.