Mike McGann

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Mike McGann Posted: Mar 06, 2002 Published: Mar 07, 2002 0 comments
The ins and outs of A/V connections.

Anyone who's looked at the back of a new, high-end TV or receiver and gazed upon row after row of ports knows that there just might be too many ways to connect other devices. Believe it or not, more inputs are going to become commonplace in the next few years (a number of high-end TVs already have seven video inputs in four different formats). Whether you fall into the category of those who are just discovering the merits of S-video or those who like to argue the merits of their projector's five-wire RGB inputs, the number and type of connections, ports, and inputs has exploded in the last decade, and it isn't going to get any simpler in the next few years.

Mike McGann Posted: Feb 02, 2002 Published: Feb 03, 2002 0 comments
The SD-5700 affirms Toshiba's quest to continually advance DVD-playback technology.

In those dark days when it seemed like DVD would never launch—tied up by lawyers, Hollywood types, and so on (the same folks who are now working so hard to mess up HDTV)—some of the truest of true believers were lodged in an office building in Wayne, New Jersey. Their mantra was, "DVD is coming, and Toshiba will bring it to you." After almost two years, DVD did come, and Toshiba's first players were worth the wait. Since dragging the world (OK, maybe just Hollywood and a few attorneys) kicking and screaming into the DVD era a few years back, Toshiba has put out a series of low-cost, high-performance DVD players that earned justifiable praise from critics and enthusiasts alike.

Mike McGann Posted: Sep 30, 2001 Published: Oct 01, 2001 0 comments
Truth be told, we could all watch TV on 19-inch screens and derive some enjoyment from it. We could all drive tiny-bodied, tiny-engined commuter cars and get to and from work. We could get little, tiny cups of soda at 7-Eleven and quench our thirst. But this is America, where we haul our 65-inch widescreen HDTVs home in our block-long Ford Expedition SUVs, stopping on the way home for a 64-ounce Big Gulp. We do things big. The bigger and badder-looking, the better.
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Mike McGann Posted: Feb 28, 2000 Published: Feb 29, 2000 0 comments
Editor makes stupid grounding mistakes and pays with fried gear.

Those of you who have installed your own satellite systems have seen RG-6 coaxial cable with a second wire attached to the outside. I can't speak for the rest of you, but I know I never paid a whole lot of attention to that second wire. Sure, it was handy for tying the cable to stuff and so on, but, frankly, who really gives it a whole lot of thought? Even our detail-oriented (PC for anal retentive) technical editor Mike Wood admits he's never found much need for it, either. That is, until he heard my tale of woe.

Mike McGann Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Real high-definition audio that everyone can appreciate.

Consumer-electronics writers are a curious group. We'll look at a product on paper and decide whether it's going to be any good long before we actually get our hands on the gear. That's not a very shocking admission. Think about it: You see Kevin Costner is making another baseball movie, and you have to figure it will be decent. It's sort of the same process for writers. Being cynical, most of us writer types looked at Sony's SACD format on paper and agreed it would probably sound good, as long as it's surrounded by good-enough gear to bring out the difference over traditional CDs and maybe even the long-awaited DVD-Audio. Some even argued that the product is of questionable value, since it's only aimed at the high-end, tube-amp crowd. Why muddy the water? Why mess things up for the upcoming (and more-mainstream) DVD-Audio? Isn't Sony just being arrogant?

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