Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 13, 2006 0 comments
Video: 2
Audio: 3
Extras: 1
Finally available in their 1977, 1980, and 1983 versions, the new Limited Edition Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi DVD sets contain minimally tweaked re-releases of the laserdisc masters created in 1993. Disc one in each case is essentially the same as the first disc inside the four- and three-disc Trilogy sets that came out two years ago; the second disc for each movie contains the original theatrical version. So, this review pertains to those second discs, the supplemental inclusions of the “unaltered” films.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 21, 2006 Published: Oct 22, 2006 0 comments
The creator of Super Size Me continues to break new ground with his TV Show 30 Days, letting viewers see what life is really like in someone else's shoes.

For Super Size Me, the Academy Award–nominated documentary with a bold premise and the director as a guinea pig, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and limited himself to the minimal exercise of the average American. He miraculously survived, with quite a story to tell. His success brought the opportunity to try a variety of even edgier eye-opening, month-long sociocultural experiments, in some cases aided by thoughtfully chosen volunteers, for his series 30 Days on the FX channel. With season one now on DVD from Fox and season two underway, Spurlock gave us 30 minutes to chew the fat.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 15, 2006 0 comments
A set-top convergence device for the common man.

When you're in the market for a convergence product, an important part of the decision-making process is compiling a list of exactly what you want it to do for you. Some of the most popular entertainment applications include DVD/CD playback, TV recording/time-shifting, and an MP3 jukebox. A DVD burner and a video jukebox typically add a level of complexity—and cost. But, if you're looking for an easy-to-use device that won't break the bank, check out LiteOn's latest round of DVD recorders with built-in hard drives.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
Mike Inchalik, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at DTS Digital Images, Talks shop about film restoration.

Most consumers take for granted the awesome video quality of DVD. You might never consider the often decrepit physical condition of many of your favorite classic movies, which were shot on a variety of film stocks and have suffered any number of indignities over the ensuing decades. We discuss restoration frequently in these pages, but many readers want to know more. So, we went to the unrivaled experts. DTS Digital Images—formerly Lowry Digital Images—was founded by the now legendary John Lowry, whose name has become a seal of approval on well over 100 celebrated film restorations. Exclusively for HT, Mike Inchalik of DTS Digital Images pulled back the curtain on their closely guarded, much envied process.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
A portable media player on steroids, and its secret relationship with an HTIB.

I'll admit it. I'm a fan of satellite radio. The sound quality, the variety of programming, the lack of commercials, and even the bonuses like artist and song-title info on display are all enticing to me. And yet, a compelling satellite radio product hasn't landed on my desk in some time—or perhaps one did but was lost among all the press releases, UPS receipts, and slightly used napkins. As if to make up for the lull, Samsung hooked me up with two disparate new products that work great together, converging the freedom of a portable digital audio player with the convenience and versatility of a complete home theater in a box.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 30, 2006 0 comments
Liten Up Baby, I'm in Love with You

Music, movies, and other multimedia applications aside, no one can touch Nintendo in the world of portable gaming. From the first Game Boy in 1989, the intuitive user interface, the addictive gameplay, and the cutting-edge hardware design ensured that seemingly every man, woman, and child on the planet would essentially buy at least six of each new handheld model, based on Nintendo's most recent sales figures.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 17, 2006 0 comments
It's a cell phone—and so much more.

As I was packing for a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of electronic gadgets I've amassed over the past couple of years—and how many I need to bring along to keep me both accessible and entertained for the long hours away from home and office. I once joked with Sony that adding calling features to their PlayStation Portable would make it a perfect device. But, in the meantime, I do appreciate any cell phone that allows me to do more than check voice mail, and, as such, the LG V phone is a small wonder.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 16, 2006 0 comments
Multitalented, Modest, and unassuming: The Lost City's Andy Garcia.

Whether he plays the hero or the heavy, the always-intense Andy Garcia is impossible to ignore on screen. With The Lost City (on DVD August 8 from Magnolia Home Entertainment), G. Cabrera Infante's bittersweet tale of the Cuban Revolution, the Havana-born actor/director has crafted a profound cinematic work and one of his most powerful performances. Just don't call him a sex symbol.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 24, 2006 0 comments
One speaker, a subwoofer, a source component . . . and you.

Virtual surround is nothing new: Some people don't have the space, the know-how, or perhaps the ideal room layout for a pair of surround speakers for true 5.1-channel audio. Wireless surrounds are an option for some. But even those need a place to live, and they still require power cables. All manner of technologies have addressed the virtual-surround challenge, but not until I tried the two-piece Binaura Sound Environment B102A (in our November 2005 issue) did I believe that such simplified gear could produce truly respectable audio. Cambridge SoundWorks of Newton, Massachusetts, is the first third-party manufacturer to license Binaura's patented technology for their own products. They have integrated it into a complete home theater system—three boxes instead of two—with the addition of a progressive-scan DVD player/receiver. Said receiver provides Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS decoding, and this signal then goes to the subwoofer, where all of the amplification and Binaura processing take place.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 24, 2006 0 comments
The fruit takes root in the living room.

A while back, we Home Theater drones were all on Macs, and life was good. Then, one day, the powers that be told us that the bulk of us were switching to PC, and that was that. I had a few annoying differences to work through, but I eventually forgot my first real computer. And then the Mac mini showed up for review in its pretty white cardboard box, and it reminded me of the experience of bumping into a friend from the old neighborhood: familiar, sure, but with a lot of catching up to do.

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