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>
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>.

David Ranada  |  Nov 19, 2005  |  0 comments

During most of our recent tests of HDTVs, we've attempted to use them with a Scientific-Atlanta 8300HD cable box supplied by Time Warner connected via an all-digital HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) hookup. We often end up looking at a screen displaying an imperious message typical of cable-company communications: "Your HDTV does not support HDCP.

Sol Louis Siegel  |  Nov 19, 2005  |  0 comments
GLADIATOR Extended Edition DreamWorks
Movie •••½ Picture/Sound ••••½
 |  Nov 19, 2005  |  0 comments

Sharp practically put DLP front projection on the map as a high performance solution when it introduced its XV-Z9000 projector a few years ago. That projector featured the first generation "Mustang Chip," the first 16:9 native 720p DLP chipset from Texas Instruments. Sharp's SharpVision projector line has continued to evolve with TI's chips, with each new generation making incremental improvements over past models. We continue to be compelled to look at each iteration because Sharp's line has remained reasonably priced (between $11-$12k MSRP with "street prices" closer to $10k) and never given up much in pure performance even when compared to premium projectors costing much more.

Fred Manteghian  |  Nov 18, 2005  |  3 comments

A good friend called last Saturday morning seeking A/V advice. Lots of friends do that. Very few of them actually <i>take</i> my advice though. Why? Preconceived notions, for one - once you think Bose is the best, the road home is a slow go. Polk? Don’t they just make car speakers? Rotel? Sounds like Mattel. Then there’s price. You say $500, I counter $1,000. That’s my rule of thumb. Always spend twice what you wanted to spend, and you’ll never be disappointed. But mostly, it comes down to wives. Mine is an angel. She just steps over wires and puts her tea mug down on the only corner of the end table not covered by a projector and remote controls. Boys, eat your heart out.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Nov 18, 2005  |  4 comments
Do I get to pick a topic for a change?