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.
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.
• Movie/music server with two additional music-only zones • Uncompressed storage for all movies and music • Sigma Designs VXP processing • System holds up to four 500-gigabyte hard drives for storage of 225 DVDs or 2,475 CD
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.
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.
Most new Blu-ray players are capable of streaming both movies and music, so why would you ever consider buying a dedicated music-streaming device? I mean, if you learned nothing else from your mother, you’re probably at least squared away on the concept of not buying the cow if you’re already getting the milk for free.
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.
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.