Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments
Producer/Engineer Elliot Scheiner is a driving force for 5.1-channel music.

After working with some of the biggest names in music, producer/engineer Elliot Scheiner—also a pioneer in and champion for multichannel music—wanted to take us for a ride. Working closely with Acura and Panasonic, Scheiner developed his namesake ELS 5.1 sound system, first for the Acura TL and now for Acura's new luxury SUV, the RDX.One of Panasonic's finest recently chaufferred me in a DVD-Audio-blasting Acura TL to Scheiner's secluded home studio to discuss the artistry, technology, and business of music.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments
5.1 speaker suites for every fragger.

We've long extolled the wonder and tangible benefits of 5.1 audio in the video-gaming realm. It is a major feature of the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox and is a mandatory element for all Xbox 360 games. While some folks simply drop a console into their fully equipped home theaters, many are new to 5.1, so I present here an assortment of exemplary powered speaker suites for video-game use.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 25, 2006 0 comments
Straight Shooter Director Doug Liman hits the mark every time.

In less than a decade, Doug Liman has established himself as one of Hollywood's most versatile—and successful—directors. He has nimbly moved from comedy to thriller to a unique hybrid of the two in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, soon to be re-released in a new, unrated DVD edition from Fox Home Entertainment. Here he talks about the challenges of making quality movies in a demanding business.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 20, 2006 0 comments
Start clearing room on your desktop.

Video editor Geoffrey Morrison is a car guy. Me, I drive a Camry. It's 10 years old, and it does everything I need it to do. But I certainly appreciate the difference when I sit behind the wheel of, say, a BMW. That's kind of how I felt when I test drove Samsung's latest SyncMaster LCD monitor, the 244T.

Chris Chiarella Posted: May 20, 2006 0 comments
A lot of sound from a little box.

As I speed-dial my cell phone to reach my wife in the kitchen, to ask her to bring me another Dr. Pepper, it hits me: People want it easy. Too often, however, "easy" and "home theater" don't mix, unless, for example, you have the means and the know-how to hire a good custom installer to hook up your gear and configure your universal remote. ZVOX clearly understands the critical anti-work ethic of home entertainment. Their original 315 Sound Console (in our April 2005 issue) connects to a TV or audio source with a comforting "Set it, and forget it!" philosophy, previously applicable only in the realm of Ron Popeil's famous rotisseries. ZVOX's goal is to deliver spacious home theater audio with only one cable connected to a single box.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 18, 2006 Published: Apr 19, 2006 0 comments
READY or not, here comes another PC for the HT.

PCs and home theaters have long posed the old square-peg/round-hole quandary to consumers, as the fundamental incongruities have slowed the adoption of potentially sophisticated, versatile computer gear into the living room. Expanded functionality brings with it an increased level of complexity that more proactive, simplified operating systems like Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition have only begun to address. Of course, the hardware itself needs to be powerful enough to provide a glitch-free user experience, as well.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 11, 2006 0 comments
Cinematographer/Editor/Visual-Effects Supervisor Robert Rodriguez might well be the hardest-working man in show business.

Much like the guitar-playing hero of his Mariachi trilogy, Robert Rodriguez is a one-man army—a veteran moviemaker well versed in all of its disciplines. Success born of unending creativity has led to unmatched creative freedom at his own Troublemaker Studios, far from the stodgy bureaucracy of Hollywood. Somehow, he found some time to talk to me about his work, including the ceaselessly stunning Sin City.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 31, 2006 0 comments
Who says you need speakers for discrete surround sound?

Listen To Believe (LTB) offers an assortment of discrete 5.1 headphone systems for just about every home theater or gaming scenario, depending upon your tastes and budget. Three transducers within their own independent speaker chambers are positioned inside each ear cup to render a true 5.1-channel experience, including dedicated delivery of center-channel and subwoofer information. Because they can work with both the optical and coaxial digital audio outputs of a source component, most headphone models can serve as a secondary audio solution, in addition to whatever speakers we might be using. Is the optical audio output from your DVD player already running to the receiver? No problem, since most DVD decks also offer a coaxial output. LTB's optical input also makes it a great match for PlayStation 2, Xbox, or Xbox 360.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 24, 2006 0 comments
Game Boy Micro + Game Boy Video = The world's smallest movie player?

I've been intending for some time to write about at least one of the many developments on the Nintendo handheld gaming front, but what would be my Home Theater hook? The Game Boy Advance generation eventually offered Game Boy Advance Video, which provides playback of third-party content on little Nintendo flash memory cartridges, but these were typically just episodes of recent, kid-only fare from Nicktoons and Disney. And then DreamWorks surprised many folks, myself included, by licensing three of their animated feature films to Majesco Entertainment, the major player in GBA Video. So, I finally had my software, but what about hardware?

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 10, 2006 0 comments
Frankie Goes to Hollywood: How Frank Miller conquered Tinseltown . . . by way of Austin, Texas.

Frank Miller: Renaissance man. He's had legendary runs as writer and artist on the comic book Daredevil (including the creation of Elektra) and the historic miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (about a geriatric Caped Crusader, a pubescent female Robin, and a sexually ambiguous Joker). Miller also scripted the two RoboCop movie sequels. Around this same time, he also thought up his predominately black-and-white crime anthology, Sin City, which he would ultimately direct, with Robert Rodriguez, for the big screen. The movie is now available in a stunning special edition from Dimension Home Video. Remarkably serious yet surprisingly soft-spoken, Miller recently honored us with an invitation to his New York City studio.

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