NEW PRODUCTS

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2006 0 comments

For the past few years, the trend in speaker design has been to make models that blend into the environment - from super-flat on-wall speakers to paintable in-walls that disappear entirely. But the Energy RC-Mini speakers ($200 to $250 each) scream that loudspeakers can be beautiful!

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 07, 2007 0 comments

HARBORING MUSIC These days, an iPod dock and $3.98 might get you a grande latte at Starbucks, but Escient has a dock model that qualifies as a premium blend. The FP-1 doesn't just stream your iPod music - it completely integrates it into the company's FireBall Music Manager, combining those songs with any tunes you have on servers or PCs.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 06, 2007 0 comments

SCALE IT UP After laying down some serious coin for a 1080p HDTV, you're going to want to make sure you feed that puppy nothing but the good stuff. That means con-verting all your video signals to that grandest of HD formats, which just happens to be the solitary mission of Gefen's Home Theater Scaler.

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Peter Pachal Posted: May 04, 2006 0 comments

COOL FACTOR It's nice to see other portable media players keeping up with the iPod, and Toshiba's gigabeat S Series has comparable video chops: a crisp 21/2-inch screen with 320 x 240-pixel resolution.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jun 06, 2006 0 comments

ALL IN ONE Of course it has seven amplifier channels at 85 watts for each speaker - that's a given. The reason you get a flagship receiver like the Harman Kardon AVR 745 is the bells and whistles: automatic speaker setup, outputs for two subwoofers, and a USB port for digital music streamed from your PC.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Dec 04, 2006 0 comments

SERVICE CENTER Harman Kardon's first media server takes your discs and makes them better. Any CD you feed it will be ripped to the convenient 160-GB hard disk. Any DVD you feed it will be upconverted to 720p HD format through the HDMI output. But streaming is this box's main mission: four rooms, four streams - mix 'em however you want.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Feb 07, 2006 0 comments

For the most part, DVD players have migrated to the two ends of the price spectrum: no-frills players that cost less than a pepper steak, and mega-high-end machines with a list of processors so long it's like browsing the Tokyo phone book. But Harman Kardon is hanging onto the middle ground with the DVD 47 ($399).

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments

Keep It Real It's kind of a bizarre resolution for a plasma TV - 1,024 x 1,080 pixels - but Hitachi just might know what it's doing here. Those 1 million pixels are driven by a technology called ALiS (Alternate Lighting of Surfaces) to get the most detail out of 1080i signals (the most common HD format) and bestow a smoother, more filmlike picture.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2007 0 comments

YOU'RE SO MONEY A few short years ago, a 50-inch plasma TV was a toy of the super-rich, reserved for those who could drop as much coin on a set as their kids' college tuition. At $2,500, Hitachi's P50H401 HD plasma heralds a new era, where bigscreens are within reach of ... well, at least someone you know.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Oct 04, 2006 0 comments

ALL ABOARD Now that your PC is full of photos, music, and videos (all legally downloaded, of course), they need a place to be appreciated. HP's MediaSmart LCD TV lets them bust out on its 37-inch display, streaming all your PC goodies through your home network or a Wi-Fi connection.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Apr 03, 2006 0 comments

It's the side view of a speaker with no sides - and no back either! Jamo's dipolar Reference R 909 ($15,000 a pair) has two 15-inch woofers, a 5.5-inch midrange, and a 1-inch tweeter. But it doesn't have a traditional cabinet.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jul 06, 2006 0 comments

ROUND SOUND Don't think of the radial as an iPod speaker dock - it's more befitting to call it an iPod stage, encircling the player with curved 60-watt speakers to bust out your tunes, but keeping the iPod front and center to remind everyone who's really the star of the show.

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Peter Pachal Posted: Apr 03, 2007 0 comments

SHADOW DEMON JVC must have thought the badge of honor you got when you opted for a front projector could use a little polish, so it created the DLA-HD1, said to have the greatest contrast ratio in Projectorland (rated 15,000:1 - without the need for a mechanical iris that reduces the brightness of whites).

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Peter Pachal Posted: Jul 06, 2006 0 comments

NO FOOTAGE JVC's Everio camcorders ditch those archaic videotapes in favor of recording to a hard disk. The 30 gigs onboard the flagship model will hold 10.5 hours of DVD-quality material - captured in eye-catching color, thanks to the three CCD image sensors (cheaper cams have just one).

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Peter Pachal Posted: May 05, 2006 0 comments

Speaker engineers have turned to a lot of different materials over the years to make their creations sound better, but JVC's come up with a new one: sake. By soaking sheets of birch wood in Japanese rice wine, the labcoats at JVC were able to press them together to make wooden drivers, said to improve sound quality because of their natural acoustic properties.

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