2003 Sound & Vision Reviewer's Choice Awards Page 5

Photos by Tony Cordoza

Go-Video D2730 Networked DVD Player go video (original review, September) Someday all DVD players might be able to play video, music, and photos from a home network as readily as from a disc, but the Go-Video D2730 was the first. For $299, it has all the trappings you'd expect, including component-video outputs and built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. Uncommon features include a volume control, 12 levels of zoom, and screen wipes when you jump between scenes. What morphs the D2730 into a digital jukebox are its Ethernet card (which you can swap out for a Wi-Fi version) and the Digital 5 software you install on one or more PCs. Using the same remote you'd use for playing a movie, you can play home videos or MP3 and WMA music files, or show digital photos, stored on networked PCs anywhere in your home. But unlike a dedicated digital media receiver, the D2730 doesn't take up extra set-top space or another set of A/V inputs. While most DVD players can only read whatever's on the discs you load into their trays, the D2730 puts a whole network of digital entertainment at your command. Go-Video www.govideo.com, 800-736-7679

- Michael Antonoff

Yamaha MusicCAST Wi-Fi Multiroom Audio System yamaha MusicCAST - 2 (original review, September) Most products are evolutionary. This one is revolutionary. With its one-two punch of hard-disk storage and Wi-Fi distribution, the MusicCAST system might change the way you listen to music. The MCX-1000 server (not shown) has an 80-gigabyte hard-disk drive; you rip your CD collection to it in MP3 or uncompressed PCM format. The server can assign title and track information using its internal CDDB database or the larger one online, so you can catalog and search your collection. But the coolest part is the MCX-A10 "client," which looks like a stylish minisystem when paired with the matching optional MCX-SP10 speakers as shown. From any place in your house, using either a wired or wireless connection (Wi-Fi is built in), you can browse the collection in the server and then stream music independently to different clients. The server costs $2,800 and comes with one MCX-A10; extra clients are $600 each, the speakers $120 a pair. Why should music be confined to your home theater? With Yamaha's MusicCAST, you can listen in the kitchen, bedroom, patio, or wherever you want. Yamaha www.yamaha.com, 800-492-6242

-Ken C. Pohlmann

Snell XA Home Theater Speaker System snell (original review, September, "Sonic Signatures") Like a highly trained butler, the suite of speakers I auditioned from Snell Acoustics' high-end XA family is so impeccably capable, there's not a lot to say about its performance. Each XA60 tower ($2,800 a pair) combines Snell's trademark eXpanding Array of dual midrange drivers and a tweeter with a dual-woofer section that reaches way down into the bass depths. A noble compromise between the tightly controlled directivity of a THX-style speaker, optimized for playback of movie soundtracks, and the more expansive spread of speakers that are designed mainly for music, it sounds exceedingly natural (if relentlessly revealing) on movies and music alike. The XA55cr center ($1,300) has the same midrange/treble array as the XA60 along with extensive controls for shaping its response according to how you place it. Together these allow it to mate perfectly with the towers. The PS.10mk2 10-inch subwoofer ($1,350) adds little to the towers' already impressive bass, but the SR30thx surround ($1,800 a pair) is special: switchable between dipole and bipole operation, it can even be wired to play both side and back surround channels. It's the most effective, versatile, and transparent surround speaker I know. Snell Acoustics www.snellacoustics.com, 978-538-6262

- Daniel Kumin