You have to wonder what the folks at Labor Saving Devices were thinking when they dreamed up the Wet Noodle Magnetic In-Wall Retrieval System—but thankfully they did. Until you’re struggling to fish a wire out of a closed-wall cavity, especially one with insulation, it’s hard to fully appreciate the simplicity and elegance of this popular tool.
Any room with a TV, a surround sound audio system, and a mess of wires snaking across the floor can become a home theater once the lights go down. But a truly integrated room that fits your lifestyle and makes you proud to show it off takes some work. Whether you do it yourself or bring in a pro, the steps to get there are always the same. This article will help you understand the process. Building a home theater isn’t rocket science, but it does require a broad mix of knowledge and skills, and a willingness to do your homework before you begin. If after reading this, you’re not confident you can handle the job, you should strongly consider hiring a pro who does this day in and day out.
If you've got your heart set on a new big-screen for the big game, you're in luck. The days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday are the traditional last, best chance for retailers to dump their remaining inventory before new models hit shelves in the spring. The competition is as fierce among stores this week as it will be on the field this weekend. But your primary TV shouldn't be an impulse purchase, and jumping on the first hyper-bright picture or low pricetag that catches your eye is a recipe for long-term remorse. So, slow down, take a deep breath, and tackle these tips to guard against the dreaded Monday morning quaterbacking.
This bouncy little guy got to curl up at the DISH press conference, and seemed reasonably bored despite the 4,000 camera flashes he had to endure. But those of us in the CES press corp looked and acted more like cattle as we were herded through a marathon of dog-and-pony shows at the Venetian hotel and the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday. Celebrity sightings included Justin Timberlake at the Panasonic press conference promoting the new MySpace app in this year's HDTVs, and Will Smith with director Barry Sonnenfeld were at Sony's event to promote Men In Black 3. Sony closed it out with an acoustic guitar-accompanied performance by Kelly Clarkson. But the best news out of the day for Home Theater was the announcement of pending OLED and/or 4K sets from LG, Samsung, and Sharp. The real show begins today; check back for our reports from the floor.
One of the more interesting developments out of yesterday's CES press conferences was the imminent arrival of gesture control for upcoming models from Samsung (pictured) and LG Electronics. Gesture control uses an Xbox Kinect-like camera mounted near the screen to allow hand movements to be used to change channels or volume, for example, with no need to pick up a remote. Samsung's version should also allow voice control according to the company. We'll report more on this feature from the floor; stay tuned.
DISH Network is attempting to "hop" all over its competition at CES with a new whole house DVR that records prime time, all the time.
As part of a full company makeover that includes a new kangaroo mascot, the satellite TV provider is introducing Hopper, said to be the world's most advanced DVR. It's a 3-tuner model with a massive 2-terabyte hard drive that can record up to six HD programs simultaneously, and allows simultaneous viewing of different channels in up to three additional rooms through the companion Joey set top box.
Eleven years ago, in the fall of 2000, the Sunday Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times published a long freelance article I wrote announcing the birth of digital cinema. Digital projection for large venues was mostly a dream at the time, but the technology existed and had been proven to provide satisfying images for the average moviegoer. Meanwhile, digital cinema’s biggest booster, filmmaker George Lucas, had just finished shooting Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones in 1080p/24-frame-per-second digital using a cutting-edge camera developed by Sony and Panavision. It was the first major motion picture to be shot entirely in video.
When the Federal Communications Commission approved the ATSC digital broadcast standard in December 1996, most consumers shrugged as the pundits (us at Home Theater included) heralded the greatest advance in television since the introduction of color in the 1950s. Time has proven us right. With six times the detail of standard-definition video, HDTV has been both a revelation and a revolution. For those who care about picture quality, one quick look was enough to know the world had changed, and we were never going back.