Chris Lewis  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
The high end of high-end universals.

There are essentially two types of high-resolution audio: that which comes out of a high-end player and that which doesn't. Now, before I go on extolling the virtues of high-end players—and when I say high-end, I'm not talking about price alone—I should point out how impressed I am even by what inexpensive players can do with SACD and DVD-Audio. I've heard these formats sound good coming out of sub-$500 players, and that, to me, is one of the most telling indications that these formats are indeed living up to their promise of significantly higher-quality digital sound. But, as with CD, vinyl, or any other format that preceded SACD and DVD-Audio, they sound that much better through a top-shelf player. You can't say you've truly experienced a format until you've experienced it from a high-end system, and a true high-end system starts with a high-end player.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
Big ambitions.

Boston Acoustics has been perfecting the art of speaker design for 26 years, so I guess they're ready to try something new. For 2005, the company set their sights on the fiercely competitive A/V-receiver market and released a classically handsome, custom-installer-savvy contender, the AVR7120. To keep it all in the family, I checked out the receiver with a contingent of Boston VR Series speakers.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
Brighter, blacker, cheaper.

It has been interesting to follow the development of the 7200 Series from InFocus. Two years ago, I reviewed the 7200, the first high-end home theater projector from what was, up to that point, a company primarily known for business projectors. A year later came the 7205, which had some updates, including a new chip from Texas Instruments. It was brighter, had a better black level, and was cheaper. Now, a year after that, the 7210 follows this same progression.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
You'll be hearing things that aren't there, like surround channels.

The wheels of compliance grind slowly, but they do grind. With the ongoing mad rush to embrace DVD's audio and video potential, many consumers have expressed an interest in wireless surround speakers to simplify setup, while others—spoilsports, really—insist that they lack either the room or the desire for dedicated surrounds. As a result, we saw and heard more products than ever at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that put all of the gear up front while creating an illusion of surround, some more successfully than others. So expect to see more reviews in this burgeoning category from me and the gang. Even your run-of-the-mill home-theater-in-a-box requires a dollop of basic HT know-how to configure: running wires, connecting speaker cables, and, of course, allocating space for five loudspeakers and the subwoofer. Don't get me wrong: I've never viewed these steps as a chore, but, for some, it's just too much, and it's perpetuating the schism betwixt DVD wannabes and DVD gurus.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
It's two-fisted entertainment!

Over the past quarter-century, consumers have been bombarded by portable electronics. From the Walkman, to the PDA, to video players and handheld games of every description, the allure of technology-to-go has proven irresistible. But what constitutes a truly great portable? Ask anyone who has juggled three or more disparate devices, and he'll tell you that a convergence of different technologies is key to pushing the entertainment experience forward, in the same way that camera and PDA phones have enhanced productivity, as well as the coolness factor. Quality is at issue, too, as is a supply of worthwhile content.

HT Staff  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
DVD: 12 Monkeys Special Edition—Universal
Based on the short French film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows poor, hapless convict and time traveler Cole. He is tasked with preventing a plague that wiped out most of humanity. Time travel not being an exact sport, he is tossed around a bit, and everybody thinks he's insane. Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam directs one of the best science fiction movies of the 1990s. Bruce Willis plays poor Cole, while Brad Pitt is truly incredible as nutcase Jeffrey Goines.
HT Staff  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
MoDesign (Monster, LLC)
Are you looking to house your various electronics in a way that will add to your room's décor rather than detract from it? MoDesign's $2,500 Audio/Video Component Tower 6000, part of their Centra line of home theater consoles, is made with a smoked-black-tinted glass door and sleek, lustrous wood. If you don't like the glass, wooden doors with either a light- or deep-cherry finish are also available separately. The unit is functional, too. According to MoDesign, a dual-fan cooling system helps your components perform as they should, and the glass door is specially designed not to interfere with signals from remote controls. The Monster Cable Management System helps keep your cables neatly organized.
MoDesign (Monster, LLC)
(866) 563-6388
Joel Brinkley  |  Jul 17, 2005  |  First Published: Jul 18, 2005  |  0 comments

We all know Outlaw as the company that builds and sells sophisticated pieces of audio/video equipment exclusively through the internet at prices that are hard to believe. And no device in a home-theater system is more sophisticated and complex as the preamp/processor. So it was with great interest that I agreed to look at the company's new entry in this market, the Model 990, a 7.1-channel processor that sells for the more than agreeable price of $1099.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 17, 2005  |  0 comments

Viewing a good movie in a darkened room is an immersive experience. The image and sound command your full attention. Nevertheless, large numbers of potential buyers avoid projectors because they don't want to watch television and video in a completely darkened room. Many are infrequent moviegoers whose reference viewing environment is a domestic space, not a darkened theater. (There's an audio equivalent to this. I know audiophiles&mdash;<I>audiophiles</I>&mdash;who prefer watching movies with mono sound because they've been watching movies on their television so long that they consider surround&mdash;or even 2-channel stereo&mdash;to be a distraction!)

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 17, 2005  |  0 comments

Sonic Solutions, a leading digital-media software developer, announced last week that it has founded the High Definition Authoring Alliance (HDAA), the first and only worldwide association of DVD authoring houses dedicated to facilitating the rollout of titles for release in the new high-definition HD DVD and Blu-ray optical disc formats. The HDAA is intended to increase momentum for successful introduction of the formats, ensuring the timely availability of quality titles by providing members with exclusive access to key information, HD-enabled tools, and comprehensive training.