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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 08, 2004 0 comments
With an elegance too-rarely found in the portable MP3 realm, the Creative MuVo Slim ($200) packs 256 megabytes of digital music into a unit barely larger than a credit card and weighing just over an ounce, unobtrusive even in a shirt pocket. There's a built-in FM tuner that can even record music off-air (also a voice recorder with built-in microphone) and a five-band custom equalizer in addition to Jazz, Rock, Pop and Classical presets. MuVo Slim is a mass storage device so it does not require drivers, just the familiar drag-and-drop between PC and player with a USB 1.1/2.0 connection that also recharges the removable, replaceable lithium ion battery, good for well over ten hours.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 15, 2005 0 comments
Sliced bread, move over.

The exhilaration surrounding established digital audio and video formats tends to plateau over time, until some pseudo-genius somewhere figures out a way to make the technology fit into our pockets, and then pulses quicken anew. The portable MP3 player has become the must-have gadget for the masses. Portable DVD has become even sexier, with larger screens and enhanced feature sets, but a new crop of slimmed-down audio- and video-to-go devices is poised to change everything...again.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
It's just so Buck Rogers. Or maybe Dick Tracy?
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 29, 2013 0 comments
The Criterion Collection serves up another eclectic batch of classic, near-classic and neo-classic films, all restored for high-def disc.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
What's shaking in the world of convergence?

One of the reasons I sleep well each night, secure in my job at HT, is the fact that seemingly every unusual product that comes down the pike is deemed "convergence" and falls into my lap. The Crowson Technology Tactile Effects System (TES) 100 wasn't exactly what I thought it would be: I anticipated a little added shaking of the sofa at appropriate moments, and the TES 100 certainly delivered, but the Couch Kit's two magnetic transducers turned out to be actual loudspeakers that also happen to channel enough physical vibration to move whatever is pressed down upon them, ideally the two hind legs of a big piece of furniture. Two rubber feet help to isolate the front legs. The less-expensive Chair Kit comes with one transducer and three rubber feet.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 07, 2008 10 comments
High-end gaming PC overlords Alienware showed off an ENORMOUS curved LCD screen here in Las Vegas, tentatively named... Alienware Curved Display. It's even more impressive in person, wider than any consumer-available screen I've ever seen, with a curve that does a better job filling the user's field of vision for a more immersive experience.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 09, 2003 Published: Apr 10, 2003 0 comments
By the time you read this, Paramount's two-disc special collector's edition of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home should be available. While it was never my favorite Star Trek film, the movie does offer some memorable funny-because-they're-true lines. One that I often quote occurs when time-traveling Scotty confronts a 20th-century computer. When he eventually realizes that he'll have to use a horribly outdated keyboard, he quips, "How quaint."
Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Why I can never watch Super Speedway in my home theater again.

Even I can't believe how far I'll travel for a great home theater demo. Hidden up in the cold, cold reaches of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is the headquarters of D-BOX Technologies, which features the coolest faux living room in North America. I aimed to try their Odyssee motion simulator firsthand. My brother told me that home theater gear depends upon the demo perhaps more than any other product, and this was never truer than with the Odyssee.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 09, 2008 0 comments
In addition to spreading their technology message and announcing new software partners (Disney!), the D-BOXers brought along their top-of-the-line products, including a motion-enabled loveseat and this little beauty, a recliner with a third actuator for up-and-down-movement, or "heave," hence my raised thumb to illustrate. The heave literally adds another dimension to the interactivity that the chairs bring to DVDs and Blu-rays. If you ever see the D-BOX roadshow truck in your neighborhood, be sure to take a seat.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Is everything else suddenly "just home theater"?

I don't know anyone who has actually admitted boredom with the traditional home theater experience, but perhaps that's because not all buffs realize just how many gear options are out there. A few years ago, I traveled up to Canada to demo a D-BOX Quest Chair, a sophisticated piece of furniture that adds realistic motion effects that are synchronized to the action and sound of particular movies. The result is akin to living the adventures of your favorite cinematic heroes, which is why the D-BOX-supported movies tend to be more car-chasey and less talky-talky.

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