Tips for selecting and installing a front-projection screen.
What’s keeping you from taking the front-projection plunge? Is it a belief that projection systems are still only for the rich and famous, consisting of $15,000 projectors, movie-theater-sized screens, and elaborate masking systems, controlled by advanced touchpanels? The entry-level projector roundup on page 38 of this issue is proof that there’s a 1080p projector to suit almost any budget, and the same is true for theater screens.
How weird is this? Just the other day, I was staring at this huge empty wall in my house, thinking, "What this wall really needs is a 150-inch plasma. It would really tie the whole room together." And then I see this at the Panasonic booth. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but our PR rep assures us that this is a real product that will actually come to market. So start collecting your loose change.
Another fun Boston Acoustics product is the Horizon Duo-i table radio, a stereo audio system with a built-in iPod dock, AM/FM tuner, alarm clock, and remote control. The Boston P.O.P. is available here too, so you can get this $200 unit in lots of fun colors. Here's a little piece of design genius: The entire front aluminum trim is a touch-sensitive snooze bar, so you don't need good aim to extend your all-important beauty rest.
Can the all-in-one soundbar really replace a dedicated home theater system?
The emergence of the soundbar audio genre can be traced to two trends: 1) consumers’ desire to buy slender, space-saving speaker systems to match their slender, space-saving flat-panel HDTVs; and 2) consumers’ hatred of running speaker wire around the room. Studies show that people either leave their surrounds at the front of the room, which wreaks havoc with the soundstage, or they simply don’t hook them up at all, which is just a shame. To address the former, speaker companies began to incorporate the front three channels of a 5.1-channel system into one slender bar you could place above or below your TV. To address the latter, they took it one step further, putting all five channels into a single bar and using acoustic manipulation to create a sense of surround envelopment. It seems like every major speaker manufacturer is now jumping on the soundbar bandwagon, but does the technology really work? Can one speaker honestly re-create a 5.1-channel soundfield, and what kind of sacrifices must be made to do so? To find out, we brought in the latest soundbar models from Philips, Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, and Polk.
At home, in the car, or on the go, there's a satellite radio product for you.
I learned two important things at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. One, you can slap an LED into just about anything and market it as a consumer electronics product. Two, satellite radio has hit full stride. Both XM and Sirius reported huge increases in the number of subscribers during 2004: XM added 1.8 million subscribers last year, for a total of 3.2 million—with more than 50,000 people signing up on Christmas Day alone. Sirius, meanwhile, grew from around 300,000 to 1.14 million subscribers. If you're starting to feel like you might be missing something, guess what. You are. If you're ready to do something about it, read on.
Boston Acoustics' new slogan is "Play Smart." The smart part means choosing good-sounding speakers. The play part means having a little fun while you do it. That's where the Horizon Series speakers come in. First introduced at CEDIA and available now, the series consists of a number of bookshelf and floorstanding models to accommodate many budgets and room types. Midnight (black) and Mist (white) are the two basic color options; however, for an additional cost, the Boston P.O.P (Personal Option Plan) lets you tailor the speaker grilles in a variety of colors to match your dcor. The cabinets’ rounded edges and soft-touch finish add to the fun. Also shipping this month is the matching $400 HPS 8Wi, a wireless subwoofer with an 8-inch woofer and 150-watt amplifier that operates over the 2.4 GHz band.
So you've saved up your pennies and are ready to buy a swanky new 32-inch LCD HDTV. You've picked out the perfect place on the wall to mount the TV; its streamlined aesthetic complements your room's clean lines and minimalist approach. Before you head to the local retailer, ask yourself one important question: Have you also picked out the perfect place to put all of those clunky boxes that feed signals to your flat-panel beauty?