This review brings together two brands that are special to me: Harman/Kardon and Paradigm. When I was a teenager, I bought a Harman receiver with the money I earned running deliveries for the local supermarket. You know how that is: Nothing ever gets close to the thrill of the first one. I wore out several LP copies of Sgt. Pepper and Led Zeppelin II over that 15-watt-per-channel receiver. Much, much later, in the late '90s, I reviewed a set of Paradigm Atoms. Those little speakers sounded surprisingly huge, and, even more importantly, they were a lot of fun. The Atoms lingered in my listening room long after I finished the review, and that's probably the best indication of what separates good speakers from great speakers. For this back-to-the-future review, I paired Harman's DPR 1005 Digital Path Receiver with Paradigm's newly revised Monitor Series v.4 speakers. Looks like a good combination, but let's see.
As is their practice this time of every year, Mitsubishi recently invited dealers to a secret location (actually it was in Orlando, Florida) where, amidst much hoopla, wining and dining, and the all-important dealer/sales representative bonding (courtesy of the wining and dining), the company unveiled the HDTVs which will be available for delivery to home theaters later this year. Mitsubishi's introduction brought to light 17 new models and involved several of the world's most sought after display technologies.
Normally the disclaimer* comes at the end, but why hide uncomfortable news? When it comes to home entertainment equipment and someone starts talking about a piece of gear being "wireless", they don't mean "wireless" - they mean "nearly wireless". Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about Panasonic's new rear-speaker wireless-ready home theater systems. Oh, by the way, "wireless-ready" means you'll need an optional piece of gear to make the system nearly wireless. (But don't let that put a barbed-wire fence around your lofty goal of having free-range wireless chickens. There ain't no totally wireless lunch from any company in this neck of the woods, pardner, but that don't mean you can't dream...)
It seems that Voom is finally nearing the end of the line, despite Herculean (some would say Machiavellian) efforts to keep it alive by Cablevision founder Charles Dolan. In what can only be described as a real-life soap opera, Dolan's attempts to resurrect the HD satellite service have raised more than a few eyebrows and divided his own family squarely down the middle. (If you haven't been following the saga, you can get up to speed by <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/news/030105voom/">starting here</A> and following the links.)
Digital rights management (DRM) was one of the hottest topics to be discussed at the recent Digital Hollywood conference, held March 31, 2005, at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in (where else?) Santa Monica, California. DRM is a key issue holding up the finalization of the specifications for both HD DVD and Blu-ray, the two competing contenders to become the next-generation optical-disc format.
The HDTV market is heating up, especially for microdisplays - rear-projection TVs (RPTVs) that use LCD, DLP, or LCoS chips to produce their high-resolution images. These sets are essentially video front projectors stashed in a box, so it's no surprise that a projector and printer maker like Epson would want to get in the game with something that sets them apart from the competition.
The soundtrack from the DVD of last year's King Arthur offers up barbarous sonic attacks and thrilling surround effects. The latest speaker release from Paradigm, the Cinema 110 Compact Theater, delivers some pretty exciting surround effects as well. But could this value-priced system produce truly civilized sound from King Arthur's medieval mayhem?
DVD: The Forgotten—Columbia/TriStar
A twisting, turning, supernatural story, The Forgotten stars Julianne Moore as Telly, a woman grieving the loss of her 8-year-old son. The only problem is, everyone around her insists that the boy she misses so desperately never actually existed. As she continues to cling to her memories, she finds herself sinking further into a nightmare. Although the heart of the film is about the unbreakable bond between parent and child, the story offers enough government conspiracy and X-Files-type intrigue to give it wider appeal.