Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 13, 2007 4 comments
Just arrived is a long-awaited plan to subsidize digital-to-analog convertors for old TVs to be affected by the final switchover to digital television on February 17, 2009. Each household may request up to two $40 coupons from the National Telecommunications and Information Association. Congress allocated nearly a billion dollars for the program, though critics claim that's not enough, and another half-billion eventually may follow. That should take care of the 15.4 million households wholly dependent on broadcast TV. Also potentially affected would be cable subscribers plugging analog signals directly into their sets. They may have to get convertors from their operators. Affected households may request coupons starting on January 1, 2008 and no later than March 31, 2009 via mail, web, or toll-free number. While the coupons can be used only to buy convertors, there are other ways to make the transition to DTV. You might buy a recording device with an ATSC tuner. Or, of course, a new TV. See NTIA's consumer fact sheet and final ruling.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 12, 2006 0 comments
The transition to digital television is finally complete. Yes, it's true. Analog signals have been banished from the airwaves. If you don't believe me, hop a plane to the Netherlands and see for yourself. The cutoff came between midnight and two a.m. Monday morning, affecting 74,000 of the country's 16 million viewers--most of the remainder get cable, with only token numbers of satellite and IPTV addicts. Broadcast-dependent Dutch viewers will have to pay $66.50 for a set-top box to adapt their analog sets to the new digital signals. However, the government will save $200 per year for each of them, making subsidies at least theoretically possible. Broadcaster Royal KPN NV paid to construct the DTV transmitters. It is obligated to keep broadcasting the three state channels but can charge $18.50 a month for a package of extra channels similar to cable. Belgium and Scandinavia will jump into the DTV pool in 2007, though the United States won't follow till 2009 (or never, if broadcasters get their way).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 12, 2009 0 comments
The nation's analog broadcast television standard, known as NTSC, died today after a long illness. It was 68 years old and should have died years ago.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 27, 2009 0 comments
A single-day record of 55,000 calls flooded help lines staffed by the Federal Communications Commission last Thursday, May 21, after TV stations across the nation broadcast a series of warnings about the shutoff of analog television signals scheduled for June 12.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 28, 2007 0 comments
Vizio is claiming bragging rights as the number one selling brand of flat-panel TVs in a press release citing numerous market analysts. Note the distinction between "brand" and "manufacturer."
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 03, 2006 0 comments
Ever wondered what's inside an iPod's inscrutably screwless design? There actually are people who pry these things open and look at every part, and some of them work for iSuppli's Teardown Analysis. Apple has reduced the "bill of materials" cost for the second-generation 4GB iPod nano from $89.97 to $72.24, according to iSuppli. Considering that the price has dropped from $249 to $199, that's only fair. Among the changes, the "system on chip" has been changed from a "semi custom" PortalPlayer PP5021 to a Samsung chip. And the latter includes a flash disk controller previously implemented in a separate part. The analysis leaves only one question unanswered: What would happen to the new nano if you put it through a washing machine? Details tomorrow.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 09, 2009 0 comments
This mockup gives an indication of what the production model may look like. However, Atlantic is studying the use of 5.25-inch woofers in lieu of the 4.5-inchers shown here. It may ship in December give or take a month. Atlantic also plans to license the technology to a half-dozen other manufacturers including at least one "super high end" player and various "upper mid-fi" brands, according to Tribeman.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 28, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,396 At A Glance: Left and right speakers include concealed phantom center • Flat-panel form factor is ideal for wall mounting • Fabric wrap comes in black, gray, or cream

Hide the Center

What’s wrong with this word picture? A sexy flat-panel TV hangs on the wall. On either side of it are some almost equally sexy on-wall speakers, and the screen has a center speaker below it. Let’s assume that surround speakers and a subwoofer are elsewhere in the room. Surely this is a recipe for great audiovisual entertainment.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 14, 2006 0 comments
Speak of the devil.

In the Faustian struggle for the soul of the audio industry, Mephistopheles mans the sales floor, giving the public what it wants, namely on-wall speakers. The beckoning demon's proposition is irresistible. If you're hanging a flat-panel display, why not hang speakers there, too? All other things being equal, on-walls are at a sonic disadvantage when it comes to soundstage depth. But, as any competent demon knows, all things are rarely equal. So, let's restate the proposition: If on-walls are what you want, why not buy the best-sounding ones you can find? If they sound good in the space and look good on the wall, you might find yourself handing the demon your credit card.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 14, 2008 0 comments
Whenever the federal government tries some dubious stunt, fails miserably, and decides to fail on an even bigger and more embarrassing scale, it creates a "czar." After all, as a democracy, don't we need to maximize the number of Russian-monarch-like job descriptions in Washington? Those were the thoughts of consternation racing through the minds of electronic libertarians this week as President Bush signed the PRO-IP Act. That stands for Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property.

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