Apple's computers have always been audio- and video-friendly, but the company has mostly left the home entertainment part of the equation up to third-party developers. Although an Apple hard-disk video recorder or music server has seemed like an obvious thing for Steve Jobs to trot out, year after year there's been nothing but new (and very welcome) takes on the iPod.
The compact Targus SoundUP iPod sound enhancer plugs into any third- or fourth-generation iPod or iPod photo and is said to "recreate studio-quality sound" from digitally compressed music. That's a big claim for such a little device - one we had to check out.
By now, LCD technology has all but taken over the small-screen TV category. You can still buy a small traditional tube set, but most folks looking for a TV to stick in a bedroom or kids' play area will find LCD more appealing. The main reason, of course, is the space-saving flat-panel screen.
Speaker maker JBL is just one part of the Harman International family, but for a brand that makes up only a single slice of a large pie, it has an incredibly diverse product mix. Along with home theater speakers, JBL makes systems for music-recording and film sound-mixing studios, movie theaters, concert halls, computers, and cars.
Do clones deserve the same rights as their human progenitors? That's the ethical dilemma that director Michael Bay grapples with in the sci-fi foray The Island (DreamWorks; Movie •••, Picture/Sound ••••½, Extras ••).
Color temperature (Mid/Low mode before/Manual mode after calibration): Low window (20-IRE): 6,545/6,670 K High window (80-IRE): 6,443/6,571 K Brightness (100-IRE window before/after calibration): 37.1/35.5 ftL
An edgy update, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Warner; Movie •••½, Picture/Sound ••••, Extras ••••) takes several liberties with Roald Dahl's classic book, but it also manages to convey the story's dark humor.