1. I'm happy with DVD. Why should I care about high-definition discs?
While both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc offer a number of improvements over DVD, the most obvious one is picture quality. DVD was a huge leap in both convenience and performance over VHS, but its 480i resolution is well below the 720p, 1080i, and 1080p images both high-def disc formats can produce.
Is convergence dead? Not the concept - the term. With the Consumer Electronics Show awash in TVs, components, and speakers full of computer technology, maybe it's time to just dump "convergence" and embrace ever-shrinking, ever-more-powerful chip sets as our home-entertainment destiny.
When I reviewed the first Super Audio CD (SACD) player, Sony's ultra-expensive SCD-1, in these pages almost two years ago, I envisioned the format as designed for audiophile "purists" who turned up their noses at CD and even (for reasons still very debatable) DVD playback.
Jeremy Levee of Houston, Texas, wrote to say that he enjoyed my "Step by Step" column on how to mount a flat-panel TV. But he realized that a TV on the wall is just artwork until you've fed it the proper cabling and asked if I might shed some light on wiring behind walls. Jeremy, your wish is my command!
The best TV ever? There have been rumblings ever since Pioneer's 50-inch Elite Kuro plasma set first came out that it might deserve that honor. And there was little to dissuade S&V's Rob Sabin, Al Griffin, and Michael Trei of that notion when they checked it out in a head-to-head comparison with Samsung's LED-backlit 52-inch LCD TV (which also won an Editors' Choice Award).
Sam Runco is known as both a tinkerer and a talker. A motivational speaker before he became an inventor, Runco relied heavily on both skills when launching the video company that bears his name. His efforts in the 20 years since have paid off, though, in a series of front projectors and rear-projection and flat-panel TVs that have consistently set new standards for high-end home theater.
Some things you know right away in your rock & roll bones. When I first met Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins in 1991, we bonded over the contents of a suitcase he carried with him wherever he went: an ever-growing mountain of live Jimi Hendrix cassettes (some authorized, some not). As the Pumpkins’ trippily punishing debut album, Gish, had just begun melting the ears of the alt-rock cognoscenti, Corgan was already cocksure of where he was going in the world.
One minute, I'm standing in the lobby of a Manhattan hotel - a total nobody, utterly ignored by the throngs rushing about. The next minute, people are stopping on the street to take pictures of me, an instant celebrity, as I step into a "storm black" Aston Martin DBS.
By now, you've heard about the sudden death of actress Natasha Richardson. I wrote about her and husband Liam Neeson's home theater for the January '09 issue ("A Class Act"), and wanted to share a few thoughts about her:
Originally, a big selling point for Blu-ray was that it would arrive as a complete system - that is, the first units would both record and play high-definition DVDs. Nervous Hollywood studios seem to have put the kibosh on that, at least for the moment, as no such combo devices were announced as standalone models.