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Adrienne Maxwell

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jan 18, 2005 Published: Jan 19, 2005 0 comments
DVD recording for smarties.

I have a confession to make: I never took umbrage with having to set the clock on a VCR. I set my own. I set my mother's. I was even known to sneak into my friends' homes and set theirs while they slept, taking joy in the knowledge that their VCR could finally live up to its true functionality potential once I had put the blinking 12:00 out of its misery.

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Dec 14, 2004 Published: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments
Can you say IP?

At this year's CEDIA Expo, two technologies ruled the day: A/V servers and Internet Protocol (IP). It's safe to say that convergence really has invaded every part of the home theater arena. If your eyes tend to gloss over when your computer-savvy friends toss around words like IP, network, and Ethernet, I've got some bad news for you: You can run, but you can't hide. First, the computers took over our offices; now they're invading our entertainment space. Someday, they'll kill us all—but hey, we'll probably be gone by then, so let's talk about how IP can enhance your home theater experience.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Dec 14, 2004 Published: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments
Swing low, sweet subwoofer.

Curse you, JBL, for giving me yet another reason to want to move out of my apartment. As if paper-thin walls, the inability to own a dog, and the desire to dine more than 20 feet away from the toilet weren't enough, I must now contend with colder stares than usual from my neighbors—stares that coincide with the arrival of the SCS300.7 7.1-channel sub/sat system.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
Because more is better.

The only thing better than an inexpensive player that will play virtually any disc you ask it to is an inexpensive player that will play virtually any six discs you ask it to. With the DV-CP802, Onkyo has lowered the price bar and upped the ante in the category of disc changers, including some nice higher-end perks in an entry-level machine.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
The benefits are apparent.

Several years ago, I attended a David Copperfield show in Las Vegas and was invited onstage to be a part of one of his magic tricks. Sadly, it wasn't anything exciting, like being levitated or sawed in half. He just guessed my phone number after I wrote it down on a piece of paper and quickly burned up the paper. (No, he never did call.) Still, it was fascinating to try and figure out how he did that trick and the other more-impressive ones I witnessed that evening.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
If you fear commitment, this is the HDTV source for you.

As HDTV broadens its horizons, the role of the standalone HDTV tuner has diminished but certainly not disappeared. Sure, this year, the FCC ordered TV manufacturers to begin incorporating internal ATSC tuners into new 36-inch-or-larger TVs that have an NTSC tuner, but what if you've built your home theater around a high-end projector or a flat panel with no internal tuners? Sure, the satellite and cable companies are offering more HDTV content by the minute and adding DVRs to their new HD set-top boxes, but that doesn't help the person who can't have a satellite dish, isn't getting much (if any) HDTV from their cable company, or doesn't want to pay a monthly fee to watch and record HDTV.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Apr 01, 2004 0 comments
The Harmony SST-659 universal remote—smart, so you don't have to be.

Programming a universal remote is, to put it mildly, unfun. About 10 more-colorful adjectives came to mind before unfun, but this is a PG-13 magazine—and I'm a lady, after all. If you're financially well endowed, you not only have the luxury of buying one of the higher-end A/V controllers that can control your gear and do your taxes at the same time, but you probably also have a custom installer who can handle the joys of programming that controller all by his or her lonesome.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 01, 2004 0 comments
The TSS-750 speaker system adds a new chapter to the entry-level guidebook.

Ah, the life of an audio reviewer is a glamorous one indeed. Lugging around speakers and subwoofers. Continually connecting systems, checking levels, tweaking placement, checking levels again, yada yada yada. Spending hours sitting in a room listening to movie and music tracks that you've watched and listened to so many times, your brain is suffering from burn-in. Yep, with all of this glamour, it might come as a surprise for you to learn that even we audio reviewers fall into the dreaded rut now and then.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Feb 01, 2004 0 comments
Pioneer and TiVo go on the record.

It baffles me that the digital video recorder hasn't caught on with mainstream consumers. Everyone I know who's spent 10 minutes with one of these gems is instantly addicted. It has a VCR's functionality, a digital cable box's user-friendliness, and a computer's brain. As far as I can tell, only two things are preventing the DVR from making it big: price and permanent storage.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jan 01, 2003 Published: Jan 02, 2003 0 comments
Yamaha's DVX-S100 has all the makings of a good HTIB.

Like the proverbial chain, a home-theater-in-a-box is only as strong as its weakest link. What's the point in putting outstanding speakers in your HTIB if you top them off with a weak amplifier that can't exploit the speakers' gifts? Does it matter that everything is conveniently located in one box if the consumer can't figure out how to set up the system because the manual and remote are too confusing? Keeping in mind a target audience that consists of entry-level home theater consumers, any good HTIB's goal should be to offer the most well-rounded package for the least number of dollars. In this respect, Yamaha's new DVX-S100 HTIB is a qualified success.

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