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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 21, 2014 0 comments
Fasten your seat belts for the fastest thrill ride of 2013! Ron Howard’s best film since A Beautiful Mind chronicles Formula One during the mid-’70s—the deadliest era for one of the world’s deadliest sports—and dramatizes the true story of champions James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), whose rivalry mirrored Frazier/Ali and Borg/McEnroe. Peter Morgan’s screenplay evenhandedly illuminates the destructive and empowering aspects of their competition. Hemsworth and Brühl channel two genius drivers with divergent personalities: Hunt, the cavalier, reckless playboy versus serious, disciplined Lauda, whose obsession with besting Hunt culminates in a crescendo of flames that nearly kills him.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 29, 2012 0 comments
A 65mm/8K marvel dazzles the senses, then we check out a new take on the well-worn romantic comedy genre, and an enduring faux rockumentary. (No, not Spinal Tap.)
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 28, 2006 0 comments
Spent almost everything on your HDTV? You can still afford a friend for it.

The war between competing next-generation, high-definition-quality DVD formats is still unfolding, a saga with more twists than an entire season of Lost. As I write this, manufacturers are still not offering specific product announcements or firm release dates. The problem is, HDTV is a reality right now. While the current over-the-air, cable, and satellite content is compelling and continuing to grow, I for one put the enjoyment of packaged media above all others, and I hate the thought that my HDTV's capabilities are often going to waste. What then to feed it?

Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 01, 2004 0 comments
The DVD-V3800 combines popular technologies from yesterday and today.

Samsung was the first to market with a backwards-compatible, single-box DVD/VHS combi player a few years ago. It's still a hot product as consumers continue to wrestle with the whole VHS-versus-DVD quandary. Most manufacturers keep upping the ante in small ways, adding this output or that performance enhancement on the digital half—there's only so much room for improvement on a standard VHS recorder, after all—without really rocking the multimedia boat. Finally going a step further, Samsung has incorporated a multi-format flash-memory card reader into the top-of-the-line model in their recent wave of value decks.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 07, 2008 2 comments
By a bizarre coincidence, three attractive women each holding a Samsung portable device (an MP3 player, a PMP, and an an ultra-mobile PC) wandered into The Venetian Hotel, so the Korean manufacturer roped them into the demo of their new live-TV-anywhere-on-just-about-any-gizmo technology, which will launch here in the U.S. in 2008.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
A portable media player on steroids, and its secret relationship with an HTIB.

I'll admit it. I'm a fan of satellite radio. The sound quality, the variety of programming, the lack of commercials, and even the bonuses like artist and song-title info on display are all enticing to me. And yet, a compelling satellite radio product hasn't landed on my desk in some time—or perhaps one did but was lost among all the press releases, UPS receipts, and slightly used napkins. As if to make up for the lull, Samsung hooked me up with two disparate new products that work great together, converging the freedom of a portable digital audio player with the convenience and versatility of a complete home theater in a box.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 09, 2002 Published: May 10, 2002 0 comments
This Samsung flat-panel multimedia monitor raises the bar on the high end.

Many of my coworkers in New York City tend to sum up flat-panel LCD monitors as "cool," a concise but shallow understatement. Flat panels are the envy of big-ass CRTs (and their owners) everywhere, a sexy combination of performance and space economy in an inspiring "Where's the rest of me?" form. They are also getting better and less expensive by the minute.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 20, 2006 0 comments
Start clearing room on your desktop.

Video editor Geoffrey Morrison is a car guy. Me, I drive a Camry. It's 10 years old, and it does everything I need it to do. But I certainly appreciate the difference when I sit behind the wheel of, say, a BMW. That's kind of how I felt when I test drove Samsung's latest SyncMaster LCD monitor, the 244T.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 04, 2008 0 comments
Move your TV programs from computer to home theater at the speed of walking.

One of my favorite (to make fun of) bits of business-speak is the phrase “leveraging our core competency.” Not content to say, “We’re doing what we do best,” guys in suits spout this lofty verbiage to inspire confidence as they draw upon their unique strength and experience. As the creators of flash memory cards, SanDisk’s core competency has long been those tiny, solid-state wafers in ever-expanding capacities, manufactured in form factors to fit just about every digital device imaginable. They pushed their products in interesting new directions, with dedicated living-room devices that read from and even record to various cards (the SanDisk V-Mate, May 2007 HT). That’s in addition to their broad and popular line of portable MP3 players, with and without video. But with Apple ruling the roost in video-software downloads, and consumers clamoring to watch their digital videos in the comfort of the home theater, what’s next?


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