Camille Saint-Sans—Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78 Organ (BMG)
Audiophiles the world over cherish RCA's Living Stereo classical recordings that were originally released on LP in the 1950s and remastered to CD in the mid '80s, and they have eagerly anticipated the transfer to SACD. The wait was worth it—pop on one of these Living Stereo discs, and you'll be listening through the mists of time back to the virtual dawn of the stereo era, and yet the realism of the soundstage trounces many more recent recordings. It's also worth noting that, since the original Saint-Sans Organ Symphony master tapes were lost for many years, this SACD is the first reissue sourced from the first-generation masters since it was released on LP.
At present, high-definition video is available two ways: via broadcasters or on HD digital VHS tape cassettes. There are no high-def DVDs, despite the hype from the promoters of Blu-ray and HD-DVD, both of which will require disc transports using short-wavelength blue lasers.
I've written enthusiastically in the past about the SENSIO 3D video processing system. 3D - at least in its current technological incarnation - isn't the type of thing that lends itself to casual TV viewing (i.e., news, sitcoms, and exercise videos - although the faceurs at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" probably have the right sensibility to make great comedic use of it). When done right with appropriate subject matter, on the other hand, it's like having a thrill ride in the middle of your living room. But as amazing as the SENSIO 3D system is, it's little more than a sideshow wonder without a good base of 3D software to maintain your interest.
Why do the Japanese get all the good stuff first? Godzilla destroyed Tokyo (1954) a full 44 years before he was unleashed on New York (1998). (And the original was much better than the schlock Hollywood tried to foist on us as a "modern" version.) Not to mention they've got gobs more camera phones than we do. And now, Sharp - part of the global powerhouse of top-shelf consumer electronics companies plugging the Blu-ray Disc format - is introducing a new Blu-ray Disc recorder that includes a built-in hard drive and a standard DVD recorder. The new gizmo is claimed by Sharp to be the first high-definition recorder in the world to combine three recording disc drives.
I've spewed countless compliments upon this movie, or more accurately
the DVD, in the print magazine over the past year, and like a good
consumer my fondness eventually gives rise to the question, "What else
can I BUY?" Not all of my favorite movies have Star Wars in the
title, and some (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October) have
yielded precious little tie-in merchandise, and so when an unusual
product like the Old Century Master and Commander game is
released, I am compelled to take note.
DVD: Elf—New Line
Elf is 10 feet tall. Thoroughly entertaining, Will Ferrell's breakout film is now available on two DVDs that are fun, pure and simple. Ferrell plays Buddy, who accidentally ends up in Santa's North Pole Workshop and is raised by the elves, never being told he's really human. . .even though he's 3 feet taller than everyone else. Yearning to find his real father, Buddy heads to New York to do so.
Normally, speakers don't jazz me out of the box - I gotta hear them first. But Canton 's CD 300 speaker system, which combines technology from the company's high-end Karat series with the sleek design of its smaller CD 100 model, primed the adrenaline pump even before I connected the speakers to my receiver.