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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 18, 2007 2 comments
Are Apple's new higher-fidelity downloads worth their premium prices? No, says a recording engineer writing for the Sci Fi Tech blog. Critic Leslie Shapiro downloaded 20 songs from iTunes Plus at 256 kilobits per second and compared them to 128kbps versions (both using Apple's favored AAC codec). "I bought into the idea that the difference would be drastic, or at least noticeable," Shapiro writes. "I spent hours listening, switching from 128 to 256 and back, straining to hear something--anything--different about the tracks. My critical listening skills are pretty good, but this was pushing the limit. To be fair, there were differences, but they were subtle. For example, on David Bowie's 'Space Oddity,' the high-end clarity was a bit more pronounced on the 256-kbps version, and on KT Tunstell's 'Other Side of The World,' the guitars were slightly more detailed. It would've been extremely hard to distinguish had I not been switching instantly from one format to the other." True, Shapiro might have reached different conclusions if comparing MP3s at the same data rate--or compressed files to lossless ones. But considering what Apple's charging for these higher-bit-rate downloads, the winner (at least for people who care about sound quality) may be the dear old CD. After all, you can rip it to any codec you like, and even change your mind in the future. Mmmm, my bulging CD shelves are sure lookin' good!
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 17, 2007 0 comments
Samsung plasma DTVs are going wireless.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 16, 2007 Published: Jun 16, 2007 0 comments
Fussy in the front; pragmatic in the back.

Three identical stand-mounted speakers in front, two on-wall speakers in back—that's the unusual configuration I used in this review of the Canton GLE Series. Now I've got some explaining to do.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 16, 2007 0 comments
Webcasters and the music industry worked out a deal on Thursday of last week that will temporarily delay draconian new royalties that many predict would kill many net radio broadcasters.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 13, 2007 0 comments
Home theater is the integration of big-screen television and surround sound. But how often do you see the two product categories integrated with each other? That's what makes a new system from Atlantic Technology and Epson so special.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 12, 2007 0 comments
Housing. Transportation. Home theater. Your local bank offers loans for those first two things, but not for the third, surely one of the most pressing needs of human life. What's up with that? Aren't big-screen television and surround sound at least as important as a house or a car? The General Electric Money Bank says yes!
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 11, 2007 0 comments
The world is well supplied with iPod-compatible micro-systems. Unfortunately, many of them don't look so good. An exception is Sonic Impact's curvaceous T24.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 10, 2007 0 comments
The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association will begin operating a second major trade show starting in 2008. It will take place in Las Vegas, at the Sands Convention Center, April 8 to 11, 2008.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 06, 2007 0 comments
Starting on July 1, all non-broadcast television providers are required under federal law to support the CableCARD standard and storebought cable boxes--with very few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Verizon.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 05, 2007 0 comments
If you own a Toshiba rear-projection TV, it's now a family heirloom--or a candidate for the junkyard. The company has stopped making RPTVs and will concentrate exclusively on sexy flat LCDs.

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