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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 16, 2007 0 comments
In what surely must be the worst-case scenario for digital rights management, Google has informed purchasers of its video downloads that they will no longer play. They are not merely copy-protected, they are unplayable under any circumstances.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 15, 2007 1 comments
Last week I greeted the somewhat tardy arrival of Blu-ray and HD DVD to my rack. Happy happy joy joy, as Ren & Stimpy would say, but what to do about my reference receiver? My beloved Rotel RSX-1065 (and its seven-channel equivalent, the 1067) has no HDMI inputs. And regrettably, Rotel tells me it has no immediate plans to update its receiver line for HDMI. That means there's no way to get the new surround codecs into the receiver by a digital path at full resolution. As the magazine's audio editor, I am more than eager to hear lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. I'd also like to plumb the potential of the new & improved lossy formats, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. The only way to get them into the Rotel at full resolution was via the receiver's 5.1-channel analog inputs, relying on the player's built-in surround decoder. That took care of the Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player, and I threw in a digital coaxial connection to continue feeding the receiver's old-style Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. But even if I'd been willing to swap six analog cables from player to player, the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player has no 5.1 analog-outs! I had to settle for the digital optical interface, which handles the new codecs at reduced resolution as a backward-compatibility move. This introduced me to a quirk of Toshiba's HD DVD players, which is that they convert Dolby Digital Plus into PCM and then transcode it into DTS. Thus the optical connection lights up the DTS indicator on my receiver even when I'm not playing a DTS soundtrack. Having at least temporarily licked my connectivity problems, I set about upgrading the firmware in both players. Details next time.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 14, 2007 0 comments
Here's the good news: Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to view already-aired programming at the touch of a button. And now here's the bad news: The fast-forward function is disabled.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 13, 2007 0 comments
THX has a new trick up its sleeve. In addition to Blackbird, that is.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 10, 2007 0 comments
Recent moves by Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, may result in a more freewheeling DRM-free download retail environment.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 09, 2007 0 comments
Just when you thought HDTV prices couldn't go any lower, Sharp is forecasting a 25 percent drop for larger LCD-based flat panels.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 08, 2007 0 comments
After more than a year of relentless lobbying, I've finally both HD DVD and Blu-ray players in my rack. Since my home/office cave is but a minor outpost of the Home Theater Magazine empire, this took a fair amount of begging and pleading. Thanks to Toshiba for the second-generation HD-A2, and to Pioneer--by way of video editor Geoff Morrison--for the BDP-HD1. I installed them on the shelf that sits between my receiver slots, with the Rotel RSX-1065 above and various guest receivers below. Naturally I the first thing I wanted was to see video in each format. Would my Sharp LC-32D4U 32-inch LCD HDTV (768p) and LG RL-JA20 LCD front-projector (720p) deliver pictures that would justify adding new HD signal sources to the rack? Even with the Sharp's sometimes iffy conversion to its native resolution of 768p? The answer was yes, and how. But the real impetus--as if amazing picture quality weren't enough--was the new ability of the new formats to deliver next-generation surround codecs, both lossless and lossy. I'm talking about you, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, and you, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Every future reviewed receiver with HDMI 1.3 capability will get a chance to strut its stuff with the new surround technologies. But what about my reference receiver, which has no HDMI? This is what we in the business call a cliffhanger. See you next week.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 07, 2007 0 comments
Toshiba isn't wasting any time in unveiling the latest generation of HD DVD players. The third-gen line is already listed on Amazon and a press release now lists official ship dates in the fall.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 06, 2007 0 comments
Despite the fact that U.K. residents are among the world's steadiest CD buyers, apparently they're also among the world's most avid illegal downloaders.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 06, 2007 Published: Jul 06, 2007 0 comments
The penny pincher wears Prada.

Break out that dusty case of champagne. Get the kids together. Give them each a bottle. No, don't do that. But yell out the window to your neighbors. Call all of your relatives. Throw a few shrimp on the barbie. Make popcorn. Stack your favorite DVDs and CDs in neat piles next to the equipment rack. If you have symptoms lasting more than four hours, alert the media. Something momentous has happened. I have found my favorite budget speakers of all time.

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