Photos by Tony Cordoza The next time you go to the movies, take a look around for the speakers. Where'd they go? Pull back the screen and you'll find the front left, center, and right speakers stashed behind it, while the side and rear arrays are mounted high up on the walls. The idea is to make the audio system unobtrusive, and it works.
Stewart Filmscreen is a company whose name is strongly linked with the dedicated home theater concept, but even they acknowledge that the concept is in decline. People are starting to gravitate toward viewing movies and TV in open, multiple-use living spaces, not dark, isolated viewing vaults.
Sometimes the mere fact of something being inaccessible can enhance its value — a lot. Take Spotify, for example. For years we’ve wondered when music labels would finally allow the European online music service to make its supposed 15 million-track library available here. That day has finally arrived.
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Q. I recently purchased a Samsung 6420 LED TV. I contacted both Samsung and TweakTV looking for suggested calibration settings, but they were of no help. I am not satisfied with the set’s current picture and was wondering if you had some suggested settings for this model or could direct me to other Websites that might help. Cannon / via e-mail
Here's a question to wrap your mind around: What's the best home-entertainment deal going? If you answered, "a Windows Media Center PC," you're way off track. If you thought, "a $49 progressive-scan DVD player," you're closer, but still no cigar. But if you blurted out, "an LCD front projector," you're absolutely right.
Audiophiles and musicians alike will recognize the name Tannoy from the pro-sound world - the company's speakers are used in recording studios around the globe. So I was surprised to see speakers from such a serious outfit show up in a funky, fun package like the Arena system. The Arena's podlike satellites owe a debt to 1970s sci-fi style: think rounded, organic, and amoeboid.
The compact Targus SoundUP iPod sound enhancer plugs into any third- or fourth-generation iPod or iPod photo and is said to "recreate studio-quality sound" from digitally compressed music. That's a big claim for such a little device - one we had to check out.
Q: It was my understanding that music fi les recorded on CD-R had a 100- year life expectancy based on laboratory studies. However, a recent study commissioned by the Library of Congress found that music fi les on CD-R last only 3 to 5 years before they start to fade. Does this mean that it’s necessary to re-record music CD-Rs every couple of years to preserve them? Gary Johnson | Duluth, MN
Each year, people like me attend the Consumer Electronics Show hoping to see indications of a forthcoming display technology that will make current TV tech - LCD and plasma, mostly - seem as outdated as the tube TVs piling up in landfills around the world (or not - see "Tech Goes Green" on page 56 for more on that story).
INEVITABLY, WHEN something cool comes out, it will influence everything that immediately follows. That’s what happened with Avatar. In 2009, we all went to see it in 3D, and the following year stores were packed with 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players.