Fred Manteghian

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Aug 19, 2007 7 comments

A few weeks ago, DirecTv sent me something that wasn't wrapping paper around my bill - notification that they would be "launching more than 75 HD channels … by year end." I've already talked about the DirecTv 10 and 11 satellites (see <a href="" target="new">"Er, no, actually, you're watching them . . . ."</a>) back in March 2006. I've had most of the big local stations in hidef now over the satellite since March 2007 (NBC, CW, CBS, and FOX, MY, but not ABC or PBS!). Add one HBO channel, TNT, HDNet Movies, Universal HD and a couple of sports stations and the existing line up of HD stations on DirecTv still adds up to one big tease.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Aug 08, 2007 Published: Aug 09, 2007 10 comments

Some of my friends, otherwise upbeat and keen journalists to the man, have started passing around the Prozac. No, it's not some general malaise, but the news we hear on the sidelines about the disparity between Blu-ray and HD DVD sales. I can't get into specifics, so let's talk hypothetically.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 29, 2007 0 comments

Ah, technology. Too bad automobiles can't keep up with home theater electronics, or we'd all be driving around in Hummers that get 200 miles to the gallon, emit pure oxygen and absorb all that heat coming off Al Gore. Sony's new receiver is the latest example of more for less. The STR-DA5200ES is feature packed, though perhaps not to the gills. And since we've segued from cars to fish, you should know now that, for the price, this receiver is better than a fair catch.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 27, 2007 3 comments

Target, a store known for its own line of overpriced Choxie chocolates (promoted with admittedly cool ads), has "struck a deal" with Sony to feature Blu-ray players on end-caps this coming holiday season. And I don't mean Labor Day. The deal is significant as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments

A month ago, I wrote about how the HD side of the <i>Stroker Ace</i> combo disc didn't play in my brand new Toshiba XA2. Shane asked if I'd bothered to upgrade firmware levels, which, of course, I hadn't. When I did, supposedly to release 1.6, I still had a problem with the disc. I put in <i>Children of Men</i>, another combo, and that wouldn't play on the HD side either. A week ago, I ran the firmware update request again. It took a few minutes (as opposed to about 20 minutes the first time) and then, well, I forget what it did then, but my Toshiba still thinks it's at release level 1.6.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jun 10, 2007 0 comments

They say a camel is a horse built by committee. That's how I see the whole format war debacle. The winner will be a camel, which, by any other name, still spits like a camel. When you break things down to a component level, each format has the ingredients for a winning recipe. But it's all in the cooking.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: May 28, 2007 7 comments

Well, I finally got an HD DVD player. Thanks Shane for helping me decide on a model. In the end, I got the top of the line <a href="" target="new">Toshiba XA2</a> and I couldn't be more pleased. 1080p and one of the best upconverting DVD players around. What's not to like? Feeding my also new <a href="" target="new">JVC DLA-HD1 projector</a> and lighting up a 78" wide (89" diag) Stewart Screen (Studio Tek 130 – 1.3 gain), the picture is to die for.

Fred Manteghian Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments

I counted almost twenty questions in the one hour ask the editors session on HDTV. That's Geoff, Tom and Shane up there looking like Sadam's jury. The questions dealt with high definition TV, as expected, and overflowed to the high def format war, also unavoidable. Attempts to close us down before our full hour was up were, shall we say, unsuccessful.

Fred Manteghian Posted: May 13, 2007 2 comments

There were a lot of great sounding systems at the show, there always are, but some rooms just hit you right. For me, it was the Dynaudio / Simaudio room. In this small room, Simaudio Moon W7M monoblocks ($16,000/pr, 500 watt@8 ohm) drove the small Dynaudio Confidence C1 ($6,500/pr or $7,000/pr in black lacquer, stands were an extra $450/pair and bolted to the bottom of the C1). The system front end was from Sim Audio's Moon line as well, The Andromeda CD player ($12,000) and P-8 Controller and Preamp ($11,500) completed the front end. A seriously priced system, no doubt, but the sound was commensurate. From the overplayed "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole that greeted me when I entered, to Sarah McLachlan's "Eyes of an Angel," to a Bruce Coburn / Lucinda Williams piece (this guy is seriously nihilistic – nobody sell him a rocket launcher, please!), the system sounded relaxed and totally involving. It had an uncanny ability to paint unique perspectives for each recording. I could have stayed even longer, but the show was calling. With a new found respect for Sim Audio electronics and an even stronger desire to get a Dynaudio Confidence system in for review, I begrudgingly walked away.

Fred Manteghian Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments

Krell employees, three of them, and practically in unison, insisted that the iPod's dock attachment offers balanced outputs. That's why they, Krell, king of balanced amplification, are offering the new Krell iPod Dock later this year. If you can't tell from the picture, there are separate bass, treble and volume controls on the front. I glimpsed out back and the KID offers both balanced (XLR) and single ended (RCA) outputs. Oh, yeah, it's expensive at $1,200, but if you're in love with your iPod as much as I am (and if you're transferring music from your CDs down at AAC's max 320 kbps rate you should be), this KID may be your ticket to better music.


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