Shane Buettner

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Shane Buettner Posted: Nov 07, 2010 13 comments
In the next few issues we’re going to be diving headfirst into the emerging Google TV ecosystem in the form of Logitech’s Revue and a Sony Google TV-equipped BD player. It occurred to me in planning this coverage that I’ve seen some of this before. Just a few years ago this merging of the computer world with consumer electronics was called convergence by its proponents, and collision by its many detractors. Its first clumsy steps were really little more than dragging a full blown PC into your theater system and using your TV as a really big computer monitor with a wireless keyboard and/or mouse. Instead of enhancing functionality, it combined the worst aspects of both worlds. People using computers all day for business had no interest in taking all the issues with computer interfaces and mucking up their leisure time with it. In response to its failure to catch on in the home theater world, computer monitors got bigger, desktop audio systems got better, and the home theater and computer/Internet worlds each went to their respective rooms.
Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 08, 2007 Published: Jan 09, 2007 0 comments

Following LG Electronics’ release of the Super Multi Blue Blu-ray/HD DVD combi player come rumblings among members of the press that the player might not be a full HD DVD player. Scuttlebut has it that the player will not be compatible with HD DVD’s HDi interactivity layer, which is the logic layer that supports the cutting edge interactivity features that run in full motion with HD video.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Nov 29, 2010 28 comments
Last week, just days before Black Friday, I received a letter from a reader lamenting the high prices of Blu-ray Discs. He quoted prices from a retailer of $35 for the Russell Crowe version of Robin Hood, and $32 for The Hangover. Curious fellow I am I hit Amazon and found that Robin Hood, a relatively new release, is $23 for a set including the movie on Blu-ray, DVD, and a mobile friendly Digital Copy. The Hangover was $15 for the standard Blu-ray and $24 for the Extreme Edition, which includes an extra disc and a book and other accoutrements. When I noted this to the reader, along with the fact that my, local grocery store is now carrying Blu-ray catalog titles for $9.99 he shot back some more outrage that the Avatar Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, which was released on 11/16, was $22-$25, even on Amazon. This is three-disc set, which I just reviewed for our February print issue, includes three full cuts of the movie, and two full Blu-ray Discs full of hours of really incredible extras, including a terrific full length documentary. This strikes me as an extraordinarily good value, but I thought I’d ask you. Are Blu-ray software prices still to high? Do you think price is why some people are looking to move to Netflix, Apple TV and other streaming services or is that merely convenience driven? Or have the movie studios simply devalued their content after years of bargain bin pricing on DVDs?
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Shane Buettner Posted: Oct 30, 2010 32 comments
An industry colleague and I spent some time together the other day, and in kibbitzing about the state of the industry as we see it, he wondered aloud whether we’re now in the beginning of the end of the era of the AV receiver. Blu-ray players are now equipped with full decoding capabilities for both legacy lossy and full lossless Dolby and DTS audio. In addition to playing back Blu-ray Discs, these players are now full media hubs with hosts of streaming apps for both audio and video. Other set-top box media hub devices are entering the market as I write this, and some even integrate cable and satellite broadcast content into a unified interface that manages all of this content. It doesn’t seem a stretch to think these devices could evolve to include the base level audio decoding found in BD players, or that more with integrated BD drives will emerge. And full range wireless audio is something that’s been around the corner for some time, clearly a question of when not if. So, my colleague wondered, if you add powered loudspeaker systems with wireless capability into this equation is that a look at the future? The dazzling capabilities of the AV receiver are both its strength and weakness. AVRs are intimidating. How much of all that capability do people really bother to use? How many people could get by with a lot less capability in favor of usability? I don’t know the answers to these questions but found them provocative enough to bring to you, and get your opinion. Are these the end days of the AVR as we know it?
Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 14, 2007 10 comments

If you claim your disc format the winner of the format war, does it become true? High-Def Digest <A HREF="http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Industry_Trends/Disc_Sales/Sonys_... </A>that Sony is seizing the marketing initiative with respect to the Neilsen Videoscan ratings and other indicators that showed Blu-ray as releasing and selling twice as many titles in January as HD DVD and will now market Blu-ray as the clear winner of the format war.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Nov 26, 2012 1 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was the first summer blockbuster, a classic that not only cemented its director and stars in film’s pantheon, but transcended cinema altogether, taking a huge bite out of global pop culture. To this day, there are 40- and 50-somethings who quote this movie’s dialogue daily and still won’t go in the water. It’s the best monster movie ever made, and of course it’s legend that the unbearable suspense created by not seeing the beast for the first hour of the movie was due to the mechanical shark, Bruce, not working, forcing Spielberg and company to develop brilliant devices to have a shark movie without the shark.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 16, 2007 0 comments
  • $6,300
  • 1920x1080 three-chip D-ILA
  • Key Connections: Dual HDMI inputs, one component inputs, one RS-232
Features We Like: Accepts 1080p/24 and 1080p/60 signals (displays at 60fps in either case), new imaging chips and improved light engine obtain deeper blacks and better contrast without a dynamic iris
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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 02, 2008 Published: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
The power of contrast.

In the quest for deeper blacks and ever better contrast-ratio specs, dynamic irises that close down and open up the projector's light output automatically depending on the program material are all the rage. But there's no free lunch here. While the best auto-iris designs deepen blacks and increase contrast and are invisible in operation, there are inevitable issues with the varying black levels and brightness compression involved in this sleight of hand.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 30, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,500 At A Glance: State-of-the-art blacks and contrast • Infinitely tweakable and natural colors • Softer than previous JVC projectors

What You Do for an Encore

JVC’s recent generation of D-ILA projectors have been standard-setters in blacks and contrast. They have exceeded the performance of most dynamic-iris designs while eliminating the artifacts involved with that approach. These projectors were good enough that several HT regulars outfitted their own theaters with these rigs, including yours truly. This explains why I had to pull rank on the lot of these guys and review this new model myself. Usually, the catch with this kind of success is figuring out how to follow it up. Apparently, JVC had no such trouble.

Shane Buettner Posted: May 04, 2011 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $7,995 At A Glance: State-of-the-art blacks and contrast • Reference-quality 2D and 3D performance • Painful setup and calibration to achieve best performance

The Agony and the Ecstasy

JVC’s projectors have been fixtures in HT’s Top Picks in recent years. This year, the anticipation of getting our hands on JVC’s newest projectors was even more acute. Not only has the line been completely redesigned for the first time in a couple of years, this is JVC’s first series of 3D projectors. The $7,995 DLA-X7 reviewed here is the middle child, between the $4,495 DLA-X3 (reviewed by Kris Deering on page 58) and the $11,995 flagship DLA-X9, which is essentially a DLA-X7 with hand-picked parts and 3D paraphernalia—two pair of active shutter glasses and a 3D sync transmitter—included. The DLA-X7 is THX approved for 2D and 3D. It carries over virtually all of the significant features from last year’s JVC models, while adding 3D capability. If you don’t believe I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this projector, check with JVC. Their corporate communications guru suffered an incessant onslaught of phone and voicemail messages through the holidays until the DLA-X7 was safely on my doorstep.

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