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Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 04, 2013 0 comments
Movie maven Chris Chiarella recommends five killer apps for iPad-toting movie lovers.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 15, 2006 0 comments
You know you need some accessories.

The vast capabilities of the Sony PlayStation Portable are realized not only with the latest games and movies, but with the targeted devices and software that pop in, snap on, and lord over the content and hardware. The following items are HT Gamer tested and approved.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 14, 2013 0 comments
The small screen serves up some big drama in these three TV-on-Blu-ray releases, from Liberace to slave revolt to big-city vigilante justice.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE Vamp Verza, $598; Metallo case, $101

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant two-piece add-on to enhance smartphone audio
More power, superior DACs
Sleek, serious metal construction
Minus
Makes phone heavy and bulky for your pocket
Metallo case a pricey add-on

THE VERDICT
V-Moda offers a stylish solution to turn your smartphone into the sonic titan you always dreamed it could be.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (a.k.a.GS3) was arguably last year’s second best-selling mobile phone, behind the iPhone 5, and the popularity of this non-Apple device—reportedly over 30 million units in consumers’ hands—in a sea of Android competitors speaks volumes. Smartphones do a lot, often serving as many folks’ primary media player, but they face the quandaries of all modern portable gear: Performance must contend with the realities of physical size and weight, as well as battery life. One such casualty is the diminutive digital-to-analog converter inside the phone, which turns the digital audio signals into analog audio that we can hear over headphones or the built-in speaker. As a GS3 user for the past 11 months, I have no major gripes about the onboard DAC (in this case built into the Qualcomm WCD9310 chip), but it is fair to say that it wasn’t selected only for audio quality, but perhaps partly because it’s tiny and it won’t overwhelm the phone’s battery.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 11, 2005 0 comments
The Lite-On LVC-9006 DVD+VHS Recorder meets consumer need to record TV directly to DVD and to backup VHS to disc, all in a single chassis and compatible with a wide variety of blank media.

The duplication of VHS onto DVD is nothing new, but a single-component solution is clearly the way to go, and the aggressive pricing we've seen over the past year surely helps as well. While upon close inspection the Lite-On LVC-9006 does appear more streamlined than the Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD Recorder I reviewed in the December 2004 issue of Home Theater—the front-panel inputs (digital video, composite video, analog stereo) are now exposed, and the optical audio output is gone altogether—I cannot overlook the obvious, namely the addition of an excellent four-head Hi-Fi stereo VHS VCR. Yes, it might finally be time to retire your old VCR to Miami (or at least the kids' room), or take it put back behind the woodshed and put a bullet between its fast-forward and rewind buttons. Chief among the LVC-9006's strengths remains the "All-Write" technology which enables it to recognize and record onto most popular blank media types: DVD+/-R, rewritable DVD+/-RW, and even more affordable CD-R/RW. Choose whatever works best for you, if you know for example that a friend's DVD player doesn't support DVD+RW. It is that compatibility, combined with the Easy Guider menus (now seamlessly enhanced for its increased functionality) which virtually hold our hand every step of the way, that make Lite-On recorders such a particular pleasure to use.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 18, 2006 Published: Apr 19, 2006 0 comments
READY or not, here comes another PC for the HT.

PCs and home theaters have long posed the old square-peg/round-hole quandary to consumers, as the fundamental incongruities have slowed the adoption of potentially sophisticated, versatile computer gear into the living room. Expanded functionality brings with it an increased level of complexity that more proactive, simplified operating systems like Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition have only begun to address. Of course, the hardware itself needs to be powerful enough to provide a glitch-free user experience, as well.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 02, 2008 0 comments
Fill it up with movies, not pins.

Regular readers of Home Theater might know that I also write the “Top 100 DVDs of All Time” article each year, which means that I have at least 8.3-dozen discs at home. And those discs tend to pile up. But how else is a cinephile supposed to build an impressive video library? Kaleidescape is too rich for my blood, DVD jukeboxes are too difficult to manage, and downloading movies to my computer isn’t really a living-room experience. So there’s the Apple TV, which recently began high-def movie rentals, not purchases, from major studios directly to the box. The Xbox 360 also allows paid download-to-own TV shows, some in high def, although all movies are rental only. And then there’s VUDU. The VUDU box is essentially a movie machine, a library on a hard disk drive inside a box. It’s an entertainment portal that sits quietly next to the TV until called into action.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 26, 2014 1 comments
An eclectic batch of classics—old and new—is the basis of four very different Ultimate Collector’s Editions from Warner. Festooning eminently rewatchable favorites with a thoughtful array of mementos, the 91-year-old studio is fueling our passions with individually numbered limited-edition sets perfect for the most devout film fanatic in your life—even if it’s you.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 14, 2012 0 comments
The Criterion Collection has been reissuing some real gems lately, from a hard-to-find recent thriller to a French classic to a delicious black comedy.
Chris Chiarella Posted: May 01, 2004 0 comments
Where's the DVR? Come to think of it, where isn't the DVR?

Amazing but true, many TiVo and ReplayTV owners out there just see the devices as neat, little living-room boxes that record their television programs, and they simply don't care about the technology inside. Thanks to steady improvements in digital-video-recorder technology, consumers don't have to care if they don't want to. Not to be like that weirdo in the mask and spoil the magic trick, but there's a simple hard disk drive inside—in many cases, the same exact brand and model you have inside your PC. However, while computer-based "video capture" applications seem to have plateaued in terms of features and convenience (at least for now), the more user-friendly dedicated DVR hardware has undergone some interesting transformations, in and out of the home theater.

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