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OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound quality for Bluetooth
Audiophile-friendly look
Pain-free setup
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It might not be high-rez or high end, but Mass Fidelity’s Bluetooth receiver is a great option for casual listening.

Bluetooth gets a bad rap in the hi-fi world, and for good reason: In contrast to other wireless audio technologies that let you stream uncompressed CD-quality audio from a PC or portable device, Bluetooth subjects the signal to lossy compression. If you’re an audiophile with a reputation to uphold, the story pretty much ends there.

Michael Antonoff Posted: Nov 04, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price $100

At A Glance
Plus: Watch broadcast TV while commuting • Steady reception in motion • Works without Wi-Fi or a mobile data plan
Minus: Limited channels • Reception spotty in buildings and locking in stations can be frustrating

The Verdict
Lets you watch TV while on the on the go but programming options are limited and reception is not a sure shot.

Though the picture quality of over-the-air TV can surpass cable, you’re likely to get no reception at all in a moving vehicle. That’s because broadcast DTV was conceived for stationary screens—not today’s legion of mobile devices.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 30, 2012 6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $10/month DVR fee (Joey or second Hopper $7/month) At A Glance: 2 TB of storage • Records up to six prime-time HD channels simultaneously • Remote control locator

I have a great deal of empathy for the cable, satellite, Internet, and cell-phone service providers. After all, this is a tough economy, and competition for subscribers is fierce. At the same time, technology keeps evolving, with startups lurking on the fringes, waiting for a chance to be the next big thing. I mean, really, my heart bleeds for the grossly underpaid civic-minded people running these companies. All they’re trying to do is feed their families and put gas in their cars by offering the ultimate in customer service and satisfaction for ridiculously low subscription prices. You know, at the negligible rates they charge, I’m surprised they’re able to make any profits at all.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $400 At A Glance: Effective, free alternative to cable or satellite • Vudu streaming • Runs hot!

In this day of dozens of HDTV channels delivered via hardwired cable or satellite transmission, it’s hard to remember that watching TV wasn’t always quite so easy. Way back when, every television had an antenna connected to it. If you were distant from the transmission tower, you might have had a big mast antenna on your roof, as did your next-door neighbor, and his next-door neighbor, and so on, until the suburban skyline came to be defined by these skeletal sculptures reaching into the bright dawn of a soaring postwar America. If you lived a little closer to the tower, you probably just used the telescopic rabbit ears poking up from the back or top of every set, and the ritual of changing channels (to another of the seven or eight available) involved walking across the room, manually clicking the TV’s rotary tuning knob, and then reorienting the antenna arms to minimize the distortion. Even then, it didn’t always work. Depending on conditions, it wasn’t uncommon to get snowy artifacts from a weak signal, or ghosting caused by multipath reception as the signal bounced off nearby buildings or other large objects.

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 19, 2011 0 comments

Peanut butter and chocolate. Wine and cheese. Lennon and McCartney. Some things are great on their own, but when they meet their perfect counterpart, the result can be pure magic.

Shane Buettner Posted: May 24, 2011 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $9,950 At A Glance: Breathtaking picture and sound with all 5-inch silver discs • State-of-the-art audio performance with USB audio • No 3D

The Last Great Silver Disc Player?

The era of 5-inch silver disc players began in the 1980s, and it isn’t over yet. But even quality-driven, Blu-ray- and CD-playing dinosaurs like me are compelled to admit that there are fewer days ahead for the disc player than there are behind it. The Ayre Acoustics DX-5 Universal A/V Engine ($9,950) builds a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. The DX-5 is a universal disc player. It plays CD, SACD, DVD-Video/Audio, and Blu-ray Discs. But it’s also a cutting-edge digital-to-analog converter for digital audio files from a variety of sources, up to 24-bit/192-kilohertz. Its supertrick analog audio outputs are stereo only, so the only people who need apply are extreme videophiles and two-channel audiophiles who want a reference-quality universal Blu-ray player and state-of-the-art playback of digital audio files. The DX-5 is loaded with crucial and daring proprietary technology, and it’s the best-sounding, most versatile digital source component I’ve had in my system. The price tag? Who cares. Don’t you want to know more?

David Vaughn Posted: Sep 08, 2010 0 comments
Price: $299 At A Glance: New user interface • Multiple streaming services from Netflix, Amazon, and Blockbuster • Enhanced Internet-driven search capabilities

Has TiVo Reinvented TV Again?

What started as Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay’s idea in 1997 became a reality in 1999 when TiVo burst on the scene and changed the way people watch TV. While time-shifting programs had been around for years via VCR, you couldn’t pause live TV, watch one program while recording another, or view a comprehensive program guide at the push of a button. The cable and satellite companies took their sweet time entering the DVR market, and TiVo’s only other competitor—ReplayTV—was absorbed by DIRECTV. TiVo became so popular, its brand name became a verb.

Shane Buettner Posted: May 11, 2009 0 comments
Price: $799 At A Glance: Superb user experience • Widgets! • Big storage with ability to scale higher • Works only with CableCARD • Not compatible with PPV or On-Demand • Can’t order pizza

Pimping Your HD Cable Ride

DISH Network and DIRECTV have poached a lot of cable customers using the allure of their premium HD DVRs. Bigger storage, more robust features, a slick user interface, no cable company to deal with—it’s an easy sell most of the time. But what if you can’t or won’t do the dish and still want an enlightened HD DVR experience from digital cable? Digeo’s answer is the Moxi HD DVR. At its core, the Moxi is a high-end HD DVR that has a 500-gigabyte hard drive with a 75-hour HD capacity and the ability to add a ton of additional storage. On paper, the Moxi would be a compelling device even if this was all there was to it. But its DVR functionality is only the beginning. The Moxi is also a media hub that aggregates content from your home network and the Internet without bringing a full-blown media PC into your living room. Yep. Those newfangled widgets are inside. Let’s take a look.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 28, 2008 0 comments
A cease fire or a bridge too far?

Months ago, when Samsung announced its BD-UP5000 dual format player, there appeared to be no end in sight to an ugly format war that threatened the future of high definition on a disc.

David Vaughn Posted: Dec 24, 2007 0 comments
There are all types of fanatics in the world; religious fanatics, sports fanatics, Windows fanatics, Apple fanatics, the list goes on and on. But one type of fanatic that I never really understood is the TiVo fanatic. You've probably have met someone who's asked, "Do you have TiVo yet?" or stated that the "TiVo has completely changed my life!"
Posted: Dec 24, 2007 0 comments

Hardly a week goes by that a big sale on HD DVD players from some mega-retailer or another doesn't make some screaming headlines. But it's been Toshiba's entry level, 1080i players that have lead that charge, with the HD-A2 getting famous overnight thanks to Wal-Mart's $99 sale, and the HD-A3 frequently seen at retail for around $199. But for my money, the real bargain in Toshiba's line could very well be the HD-A30.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 08, 2007 0 comments
With the current stalemate between Blu-ray and HD DVD, and most studios exclusive to either one format or the other, the only options for the HD enthusiast would seem to be to sit on the fence, take sides, or pull out the old checkbook and buy two players.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 08, 2007 0 comments

The format war rages on. With the current stalemate between Blu-ray and HD DVD, and most studios exclusive to either one format or the other, the only options for the HD enthusiast would seem to be to sit on the fence, take sides, or pull out the old checkbook and buy two players.

Posted: Dec 02, 2007 0 comments

  • $399
  • Audio Decoding: DD, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, DTS
  • Ins and Outs: HDMI
  • Feature Highlights: 3rd gen HD DVD player with 1080p/24 output, DD+ and TrueHD decoding/transcoding (output as PCM over HDMI), upconverting HDMI and component outputs for standard-def DVDs
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 12, 2007 0 comments
The $499 HD-A35 is the top of the line in Toshiba's third generation of HD DVD players, although the HD-XA2 remains available. Apart from Onkyo, which sells a player made by Toshiba, and Vantage, an as yet little known Chinese manufacturer, no other company markets HD DVD players.

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