Joe Hageman  |  Jan 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jan 26, 2000  |  0 comments
Three bargain-basement receivers go head to head to see who's on top of the cheap heap.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always as tall and dashingly handsome as I am now (don't worry, guys, that comment was directed toward our female readers). I remember back in fifth grade when I was an awkward runt who got picked last in kickball. All the bigger guys would laugh at me. I'm not jaded, though—I now have the coolest job in the world, I'm a minor celebrity, and I've got the names and addresses of all my adolescent torturers (yeah, even you, Billy, in Colorado Springs).

Mike McGann  |  Jan 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jan 26, 2000  |  0 comments
Real high-definition audio that everyone can appreciate.

Consumer-electronics writers are a curious group. We'll look at a product on paper and decide whether it's going to be any good long before we actually get our hands on the gear. That's not a very shocking admission. Think about it: You see Kevin Costner is making another baseball movie, and you have to figure it will be decent. It's sort of the same process for writers. Being cynical, most of us writer types looked at Sony's SACD format on paper and agreed it would probably sound good, as long as it's surrounded by good-enough gear to bring out the difference over traditional CDs and maybe even the long-awaited DVD-Audio. Some even argued that the product is of questionable value, since it's only aimed at the high-end, tube-amp crowd. Why muddy the water? Why mess things up for the upcoming (and more-mainstream) DVD-Audio? Isn't Sony just being arrogant?

Michael Trei  |  Jan 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jan 26, 2000  |  0 comments
Hard-core gear maker Krell makes a poweful argument with KAV-250a and KAV-250a/3.

Since their inception some 20 years ago, Krell has remained about as hard-core of an audiophile company as you're likely to find. Back in 1980, Krell shocked the hi-fi world with their enormous KSA-100. Since then, they have remained on the cutting edge of solid-state electronics. Just when you thought they couldn't push things any further, they would obliterate the competition with some unimaginably huge and powerful beast. The most recent example of this is the Master Reference series that they describe as being "mini-sized," but I think they must have been comparing the amps with a British car.

Mike Wood  |  Jan 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jan 26, 2000  |  0 comments
How to embrace convergence technology.

Computer sales are climbing as Internet traffic doubles every 100 days. With progressive-scan DVD players finally hitting the market, DVD-player sales are expected to reach $3 million or more by year's end. Regularly broadcast HDTV programming is up from last year's one hour a week to almost 30 hours a week of prime-time programming. How do you find a display that can take advantage of these technologies without breaking the bank? Look for a multimedia display. This growing segment of the television market makes the most of your imaging resources. With products like Hitachi's 36SDX88B, your house doesn't have to look like NASA's control room.

 |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

Showtime Networks has begun offering its East and West Coast feeds in high-definition video mode with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound. <A HREF="">Showtime</A> is the first premium cable network to do so, the company claims.

Barry Willis  |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

What's a tag line worth? Try five million bucks. That's the price <A HREF="">LA Group, Inc.</A>, paid in mid-January for "As Seen On TV," one of the oldest phrases in the marketing lexicon. The domain name <A HREF=""></A> will be used for a portal site for customers looking for products they have seen&mdash;that's right&mdash;on TV.

Barry Willis  |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

The old <I>Mission: Impossible</I> TV series always opened with the head of the spy team picking up his instructions on a miniature tape recorder stashed in an obscure place. An authoritative voice would give Mr. Phelps his instructions&mdash;always with the option of declining the assignment&mdash;and then announce that the tape would self-destruct, which it did with a burst of flame and a puff of smoke.

 |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

According to statistics released last week, factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV) products closed out the year by posting a fifth consecutive month of growth in December. Numbers released by the <A HREF="">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) indicate that DTV sales last month surpassed 23,000 units, bringing sales figures for 1999 to 121,226, and total sales since the introduction of DTV (in August 1998) to 134,402.

 |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, Gemstar International Group announced that its subsidiary, <A HREF="">StarSight Telecast</A>, had filed a patent-infringement suit against <A HREF="">TiVo</A> in Federal District Court, Northern District of California. According to Gemstar, the suit claims "that TiVo willfully infringed certain Gemstar intellectual property by virtue of TiVo's deployment, marketing, offers to sell, and sale of personalized video recorder devices containing an unlicensed interactive program guide." Gemstar, which markets VCR Plus+, says it is seeking an injunction and monetary damages.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 23, 2000  |  0 comments

Pundits have long predicted that, as we move toward streaming more digital bandwidth into the home, consumers will begin to prefer video-on-demand services via their home network vs. renting films from video stores. This is not good news for the established bricks-and-mortar rental chains, many of which are fighting for ever-diminishing returns in crowded markets.