LATEST ADDITIONS

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 26, 2005  |  0 comments

What's the most annoying flaw in digital programming from DVDs or HDTV? Video artifacts? Macroblocking? Freeze-ups? Standard definition commercials? David Letterman?

 |  Nov 25, 2005  |  0 comments

In case we needed further evidence of the market domination of portable electronics devices, TiVo has announced that a future enhancement of its Series 2 DVRs will allow users to sync to home-networked PCs and then download recorded programs to video iPods and PlayStation Portable media players. TiVo subscribers will be required to buy the software required to drive this enhancement. Although the price for the software hasn't been announced yet, it's anticipated to be low enough to drive sales.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 23, 2005  |  2 comments

I dropped in to my local Costco today after lunch to pick up a couple of new DVDs. (No, Virginia, we don't get free review samples for <I>all</I> the titles that come out.) The aisles were crowded with cartons containing new televisions, all of them plasmas, LCDs, and DLPs. I saw the same thing last week when I was in Fry's&mdash;a California chain well known for just about everything electronic and a few things that are not. The branch in my area gives the same amount of space to a giant, 10-foot ant suspended from the ceiling (not a real one&mdash;just in case you were wondering if I've been watching too much science fiction lately) as it does to the latest in big-screen TVs. With the boxes piled high and deep at retailers everywhere, it's obvious they're all humming <I>'Tis the Season to be TV Buying</I> and <I>Jingle Bills</I> (but no interest until 2007).

Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
Who says two slim boxes can't fill a home theater?

CES 2005. Tired. Wet from the Las Vegas snowstorm. Hungover from the technology discussion the night before. Stuck in a hotel suite for a demo: yet another home theater audio system with no surround-channel speakers? Can't be any good. Wait, there's only one speaker and a subwoofer? Must be a joke. And it's $599? An overpriced joke, I snarl internally.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
There's beauty in these boxes.

When you live with something or somebody long enough (no matter how good the body—or how great the personality), it's all too easy to become complacent about how well off you are. That thought came to mind the other night when I was watching, of all things, The Blues Brothers. I had forgotten how great the music is in that movie. But then I noticed that part of what had made me rediscover my appreciation for the movie was the truly nice Triad Silver speaker system I had been living with for a little while but had stopped noticing.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
Real speakers have curves.

I remember when Ferraris and Maseratis topped out around 400 ponies, but, nowadays, that much oomph is available in Ford Mustangs. Blisteringly fast rides have never been cheaper, and, over in the consumer electronics world, the speed with which technology migrates from bleeding-edge surround processors to $500 A/V receivers demonstrates the benefits of trickle-down engineering. But the quality gap between high-end and affordable speakers hasn't appreciably narrowed, until now. Wharfedale's real-world-priced Pacific Evolution Series speakers are engineered like far more expensive speakers.

Roger Maycock  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
Sophisticated sound and connectivity in a surprisingly compact form factor.

For years, I've had a distinct interest in bookshelf audio systems. Perhaps it's my fascination with the miniaturization of electronic gadgets in general, but these systems' compactness has always intrigued me. Unfortunately, my interest generally waned the moment I began listening. Until recently, the phrase, "Good things come in small packages," usually didn't hold much water in terms of audio playback quality. Well, times have changed. Enter Arcam's new Solo music system and the companion Alto loudspeakers.

Chris Lewis  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
It will do everything but cook you dinner.

Unless you've been in a cave for the last decade, you already know that audio is rapidly steamrolling toward multichannel forms. Evidence is abundant on both the software and hardware fronts. These days, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern movie in stereo on any medium outside of television. Music probably has years to go before its stereo form becomes esoteric, but the writing may be on the wall. As for hardware, try finding any electronics that don't support some multichannel form or another—if not several—anywhere but the smallest specialty shelves. Whether stereophiles like it or not, multichannel is as embedded in audio's future as digital coding itself.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 22, 2005  |  0 comments
TiVo is enhancing its TiVo ToGo feature to allow TiVo subscribers to transfer TiVo-recorded television programming to their content-hungry Apple iPods or Sony PSPs. TiVo says the enhancement will include an auto-sync feature that can be programmed to transfer new TiVo recordings to subscribers' iPods or PSPs via their home PC. If desired, programs recorded on the TiVo box the night before can be automatically downloaded to the portable device every morning.
 |  Nov 20, 2005  |  0 comments

<B>Sony Pictures Goes <I>Full Throttle</I> On Blu-ray</B>
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On Friday Sony Pictures Home Entertainment made a curious announcement that it had authored its first full-length Blu-ray Disc in 1920x1080 high definition, and was shipping the disc to manufacturers of Blu-ray players for testing. Following Holt's Law that the technical quality of a piece of software is inversely proportionate to its artistic merit, this landmark Blu-ray title is none other than the box office disappointment <I>Charlie's Angel's: Full Throttle</I>.

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