Within seconds of firing up Miramax's DVD release of the classic Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night, I knew that the Fab Four had been deep-sixed by the new set's producers. The image quality is excellent-the movie appears for the first time in a widescreen (1.66:1) video transfer-but the music is another story.
My first encounter with the BeoLab 5 was on an international audio-press tour of the Bang & Olufsen factory in Streuer, Denmark. It's out in quiet, flat, farm country something like the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. But our introduction was anything but staid.
Some readers shy away from the "in the lab" boxes in our test reports, probably because it's hard to judge what represents desirable performance if you don't have a lot of experience with the kinds of figures we publish.
Digital surround receivers are by far the most complicated products we test. Not only do they have two primary modes of operation - two-channel stereo and multichannel surround sound - both using their digital inputs, but today they may also be called on to handle multichannel high-resolution analog signals from a DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD player.
There are high-priced major-league baseball players (is that redundant?), and then there are the Mark McGuires and Sammy Sosas - players whose abilities and accomplishments leave even their overpaid teammates in awe. The same holds true as you approach the stratospheric reaches of high-end A/V receivers.
To the acclaim of filmmaking luminaries like George Lucas and James Cameron, the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) group has released Version 1.0 of its Digital Cinema System Specification, which details how a filmless, fully digital movie theater will work. Because the Hollywood studios formed DCI, the standard has their full blessing and stands a good chance of revolutionizing moviegoing.
Almost overshadowing the rich out cropping of standard-definition DVD recorders at this year's CES was the looming presence of several prototype high-definition disc players and recorders. Many of the manufacturers backing one of the two high-def disc systems bitterly contending to become the new international standard were displaying their first go at a machine.