Back in the Stone Age of Digital Audio (circa 1990), discerning audiophiles paid big bucks for elegant-looking CD players. Today the emphasis is on performance rather than looks. Most DVD players are visually boring, and their lack of heft hardly inspires confidence. Sometimes I yearn for the days when a player's quality could literally be weighed.
Most people never see hard-disk drives, but their impact on our lives is becoming universal. We take them for granted, remembering how essential they are only when they occasionally fail. While CDs pretty much own the data of the audio world, hard-disk drives are providing exciting new possibilities. Take Yamaha's CDR-HD1300, for example.
Photos by Jayme Thornton Also check out:Stocking stuffersPersonal audio players Spouses, children, in-laws, out-laws, parents, siblings, business associates, mailmen, mailwomen, girlfriends, and boyfriends all deserve a little something from you when the holidays roll around.
Photos by Brian Payne The temperature was chilly - at least to two southerners - but even the coldest day in Rocky Mountain National Park is sweltering compared to the frigid -450° void of outer space.
Unbelievably, in the distant past, primitive humans had to get up and walk across the room to change channels on their TVs. Then they invented fire - and remote controls. Today, languishing in our high-tech La-Z-Boy recliners, we wonder how our ancestors ever survived. From our sedentary positions, we also wonder why we seem to gain an extra pound every weekend.
Psst! Hey, you! That's right - you! You wanna hot deal on a DVD player? I've got an SUV full of factory-fresh hardware. There are a few scratches and dents, and maybe some broken glass inside, but I'll give you my full lifetime warranty. Any problems - just bring it back to me here, in the alley off Broadway.
For a century we've been industriously broadcasting radio programs all across the globe, with the great majority of programs received free of charge. After light bulbs, radios are probably the most ubiquitous electrical devices on earth. Radio is cool. Life is good.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. This is not your father's stereo. In fact, it's not his home theater either. Kenwood has come up with a networked home entertainment system that promises to provide easy access to movies from a DVD megachanger and music from a variety of sources, including CDs, MP3 music files stored on a hard-disk drive - even Internet radio stations.