Mike Wood

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Mike Wood Posted: Apr 28, 2000 Published: Apr 29, 2000 0 comments
The struggle continues: single versus dual speakers; dipoles versus monopoles.

Lightsabers swirl all around, machines explode to the side, and lasers come from directly behind you. If you saw The Phantom Menace in a Dolby Digital Surround EX-equipped theater, you heard one of the more spatially realistic soundtracks recorded to date. Now, that same technology has entered the home market under the moniker THX Surround EX (non-THX-certified products might refer to a similar process as 6.1), and a familiar question returns to haunt us: Should you use dipole or monopole (also known as direct-radiating) loudspeakers for the back channel? This time around, the question comes with a new twist: Should you use one or two speakers for this channel? Willing to conquer any challenge and answer any question, we at Home Theater took it upon ourselves to test various speaker configurations. After describing the process itself and the advantages and disadvantages of dipole and monopole speakers, we'll let you know what our panel of judges thought of the various options.

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Mike Wood Posted: Mar 28, 2000 Published: Mar 29, 2000 0 comments
Sèleco shows us that you can get excellent color fidelity and great resolution at a budget price.

If you don't want a front projector, you should. Projectors rock! A big-screen image is the only way to get that cinematic feel with home movies (prerecorded movies, that is—not the jittery Handicam shots of your baby's first steps).

Mike Wood Posted: Mar 28, 2000 Published: Mar 29, 2000 0 comments
A "choose your own adventure" television.

I might be dating myself (or just admitting more than I should), but as a kid I used to read a lot of those "choose your own adventure" books. You know, the ones where a junior adventurer goes looking for Mayan treasure, and, at the end of each page, the reader must choose which subsequent page to turn to and thus which path the story will take. Sometimes, you'd end up dead; other times, you'd strike it rich. The books were a literary video game. It was pretty much the only thing my parents could get me to read (hence the lack of Hemingway influence in my writing).

Mike Wood Posted: Feb 28, 2000 Published: Feb 29, 2000 0 comments
Mike Wood Conducts a Five-Way Face Off of Step-Up DVD Players. Christmas may be over, but tax day is only a few months away. You know what that means? Refunds! Assuming you file your tax return correctly (or cheat), you should be getting some money back, and we know just the way to spend it: Buy a new DVD player! This format has skyrocketed by leaps and bounds. By this, I don't mean the typical "Well gee, DVD has started off better than CD's or VHS's launch," even though it has. I'm talking the "according to one source, DVD sales are up at least 300 percent over last year" kind of skyrocketing. Three-hundred percent! Everyone else is obviously doing it, so why aren't you? If you haven't witnessed the startling visual and audio clarity available with the shiny little discs, you need to jump on the bandwagon.
Mike Wood Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
How to embrace convergence technology.

Computer sales are climbing as Internet traffic doubles every 100 days. With progressive-scan DVD players finally hitting the market, DVD-player sales are expected to reach $3 million or more by year's end. Regularly broadcast HDTV programming is up from last year's one hour a week to almost 30 hours a week of prime-time programming. How do you find a display that can take advantage of these technologies without breaking the bank? Look for a multimedia display. This growing segment of the television market makes the most of your imaging resources. With products like Hitachi's 36SDX88B, your house doesn't have to look like NASA's control room.

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