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Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
The Short Form
klipsch.com/ifi / 800-554-7724 / $400 / Satellites 8.75 IN high / Subwoofer 10.75 x 10.75 x 14 IN, 25 LBS
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Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
In a nasty world, Sonos makes wholehouse music distribution friendly.

Not to sound cynical, but, at this stage of the distributed audio game, "me too" products don't cut it anymore. What we want is something new, something different, something better. Luckily for Sonos, that's what their Digital Music System delivers. Much of the allure in these gray and silver boxes lies in the freedom they promise. It's not just a question of wired or wireless—although wireless is an option here, sort of, and it's mighty desirable. This system is also independent from the computer, so that you can connect it to a PC, a Mac, or even Linux—or directly to a network storage drive for even greater flexibility.

Kevin Hunt  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
Energy takes the plunge: It's a new lifestyle.

At about the same time the Spice Girls hit number three on the Billboard charts with "Say You'll Be There" in 1997, Energy Speaker Systems was striking gold of their own with a set of tiny home theater speakers called Take 5.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
LCD and plasma go head to head. . .sort of.

The 42-inch display size has become a battleground of sorts between liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma displays. Ironically, the older technology, LCD, is the relative newcomer here. Prices on both sides have dropped quickly. You can now buy an HDTV (qualified by both resolution and the integration of a tuner) for just a little more than the price of an EDTV just over a year ago. LG Electronics is one of the only companies with their feet on both sides of this issue (the other biggie being their across-the-Han rival, Samsung). LG also makes an LCD in a 42-inch size, which is rather rare. Most are either smaller or slightly larger. There are lots of questions and misinformation about these technologies, so hopefully we can clear a lot of that up. This isn't a true head-to-head Face Off; let me tell you why.

Chris Lewis  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
Performance and value never go out of style.

My curiosity was naturally piqued a few years ago when I heard that Parasound was going upscale with their look. This was a company that had become virtually synonymous with performance plus value, facilitated somewhat by forgoing aesthetic flair, and I wondered where the decision to go uptown with the finish in the Halo line would lead. The first good sign was the Halos' higher price tags. It costs a lot more to make boxes look that good, and this told me that they weren't taking resources away from performance to do so. What ultimately satisfied my curiosity, though, was how good the Halo models sounded. Yet, there are still those who want Parasound performance, have less to spend, and don't mind—or maybe even appreciate—Parasound's rugged, utilitarian old style. The New Classic line is exactly what they're looking for.

Chris Lewis  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
The international systems tour rolls on.

You may recall that I've usually tried to dip into the historical well when introducing the many international audio systems that we've reviewed lately. This at least spares you from yet another opening paragraph of worn-out exaggerations about paradigm shifts and in-your-face phrases like "in your face." I'm somewhat stumped here, though. The Japanese and English seem to have avoided pairing up, or squaring off (directly, at least), in any high-profile military conflicts. There have really been no economic or cultural wars between them. I can't even find a case where they've faced off in a major sporting event. But one place they have gotten together often is in the listening room—and I suppose that is what we're here for, after all.

Steven Stone  |  Aug 28, 2005  |  0 comments

Technology, like time, never stands still. Take DLP projectors, for example. Since their inception, Texas Instrument's DLP display chips have continued to evolve at a dizzying pace. For both reviewers and home theater enthusiasts, opinions based on one generation of DLP projectors are quickly overturned by the next generation.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 28, 2005  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>I'm a huge fan of having a physical copy of video content (high-definition or otherwise) for my own personal use any time I see fit. The downloading paradigm scares me. It opens up all sorts of ways for the provider to stick it to the consumer. How about paying <I>every</I> time you want to watch? How about additional compression so our downloaded movies are "High-Definition Quality," like those "CD-quality" MP3s? How about spyware or adware along for the ride? Pop-up ads in mid-movie, anyone?

Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 28, 2005  |  0 comments

DisplaySearch, a global video-display market-research and consulting firm, last week hosted their annual HDTV Conference, a two-day affair devoted to&mdash;you guessed it&mdash;HDTV. Held at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, this year's conference began with a keynote address by Mark Cuban, founder of HDNet, which will be broadcasting their recording of the event in September and October.

Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 27, 2005  |  0 comments
More and more PC fanatics have grown to appreciate the computer as a television, fully exploiting the kick-ass video potential of even a run-of-the-mill PC monitor, first for viewing then for timeshifting/recording and even burning those recordings to DVD. The ATI TV Wonder Elite ($149) has it all covered. A surprisingly complicated chain of technology is necessary to achieve this amount of functionality at this level of quality, although it is all ultimately transparent to the end user, with a very user-friendly interface to boot. The TV Wonder Elite (TVWE) is also designed to work seamlessly with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.

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