Geoffrey Morrison  |  Oct 28, 2005  |  First Published: Jul 28, 2005  |  0 comments
Just Say No to "On Board"

I must admit, onboard video and audio have come a long way. It used to be that they were just a line item on a features list. Now both are far more capable. Compared with what you can get as a separate card, though. . .well, let's say it's not worth comparing (although I did, of course).

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Oct 28, 2005  |  First Published: Jun 28, 2005  |  0 comments
I like to think of myself as a do-it-yourself kind of guy. I'd like to think of myself this way, but, in reality, this is not the case. I don't change my own oil (you want me to go under where?), I'm on a first-name basis with my mechanic (honestly, what Ford owner isn't?), and I call my landlord when the kitchen sink leaks (hey, that's why I pay rent). The two things I do myself are haircuts (thank you, King C. Gillette) and computers (sorry, no funny joke). I've been fascinated with computers since my parents bought me an Apple IIc in the mid-1980s. Since then, I've been modifying and building my own. A few months ago, some part of my brain came up with the idea to build a home theater PC from scratch—and make it silent. Keep in mind that this was the same part of my brain that thought it would be a tremendous idea to build a 13-foot-long subwoofer. Thanks to the deluge of e-mails I received after that piece (one—thanks, Mom) and the difficulty in finding a company that makes an HTPC (last count at CES, there were only 13,002 or so), I figured I'd design and build Home Theater's HTPC, the ugliest and quietest ever.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Oct 28, 2005  |  14 comments
Who are we? Why are we here? Is that enough existential questioning for you?
 |  Oct 27, 2005  |  0 comments

Committees in the House and Senate have both agreed that 2009 is to be the year that analog broadcasts end in the US, but many details, including the exact date of the inevitable transition to DTV, aren’t yet resolved.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 27, 2005  |  8 comments

What's a blog? It's the hot topic on the Internet these days, but what, exactly, is it? Since we've just launched four new blogs here on <I>Ultimate AV</I>, this is a timely question. Three of the blogs have been converted directly from our previous monthly columns. A fourth is brand new.

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

<I>Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, Gloria Stewart, David Warner, Victor Garber, and Bill Paxton. Directed by James Cameron. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1. 174 minutes (film). 1997. Dolby Digital 5.1EX, DTS 6.1ES, and 2.0 Dolby Surround (English), French, Spanish. Paramount 03135. PG-13. $29.99.</I>

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 24, 2005  |  0 comments
Once a marvel of technology, the portable DVD player is now on its way to becoming a "been there, spun that" kind of product category. (Oh, how quickly we take electronic things for granted nowadays…) So manufacturers - and there are many - of this kind of portable device have to focus their design attention on enhanced features or reduced weight/size/cost in order to attract the attention of the much loved, cash-carrying consumer. (Yeah, don't go looking around the room. I'm talking about you.)
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 24, 2005  |  0 comments
Pity those poor manufacturers of portable audio and video devices whose names don't begin with an "A" and who don't make gadgets with a model numbers starting with a lower-case "i". HandHeld Entertainment, makers of one of those "not an iPod audio/video" portables, sees an avenue to fame and success in offering a handheld portable player that costs significantly less than an iPod from Apple. Prior to Apple's much ballyhooed introduction earlier this month, HandHeld Entertainment announced plans for the next generation of their digital video/audio/photo media players.
Lawrence E. Ullman  |  Oct 23, 2005  |  0 comments

Sony's new, $2000 STR-DA7100ES AV receiver carries forward the shiny silver hewn-from-solid-block look of previous ES-series receivers, such as the <A href="">STR-DA9000ES</A> ($4500) recently reviewed by TJN. Although the front panel looks like solid aluminum, it is actually a 2mm-thick formed sheet. Most of the controls are hidden behind a drop-down panel, leaving a clean front panel with just volume and input-selector knobs, half a dozen little buttons, and the display. The various knobs and controls have great tactile appeal, operating with a solid, positive feel and silky smooth action.

 |  Oct 23, 2005  |  0 comments

Some are calling it the end of the format war, others are calling it the beginning. Warner Home Video announced last week that it has joined the Blu-ray Disc Association and will release its films on Blu-ray, and, ostensibly, HD DVD as well. Universal is now the only studio of the six majors to be committed to HD DVD and not Blu-ray.