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Peter Pachal  |  May 05, 2006  |  0 comments

With technology changing so fast these days, dropping more than a grand on an A/V receiver like Denon's AVR-2807 ($1,099) seems a risky proposition. But the HDTV powers appear to have pretty much settled on HDMI as the connector of the future, and this guy definitely has that covered.

Ken Richardson  |  Oct 31, 2006  |  0 comments

DirecTV's Titanium plan gives you everything the satcaster offers: up to 10 receivers, more than 250 regular and HD channels, unlimited pay-per-view (without paying for it), 70 XM satellite radio channels, "personalized concierge customer service, 24/7," and more.

Peter Pachal  |  Apr 03, 2006  |  0 comments

If you haven't made the jump to HDTV yet, here's a great reason to get with the program: the very affordable Dish Network ViP622 HD satellite receiver/DVR ($299). Not only will this magic box let you tune into HD shows (satellite and off-air), but it also packs a hefty hard disk for recording up to 25 hours of them (or 180 hours in standard-def).

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 07, 2006  |  0 comments

PREMIUM HIGH-DEF When you've got a killer setup with a giant cutting-edge HDTV, you want some serious video processing, right? DVDO's iScan VP50 has got your number, and it's 1080p, of course. The iScan up-up-(and-away!)-converts all video sources to the new gold standard of HD. What! No 1080p set yet?

Peter Pachal  |  Oct 04, 2006  |  0 comments

BAR NONE You can't stand black bars on your screen, but you still want to watch movies as the directors intended. DVDO's VP20 video processor might offer you a decent compromise, as its Precision Video Scaling II can scale the horizontal and vertical aspects of the picture independently.

Peter Pachal  |  Oct 04, 2006  |  0 comments

PADDED UP You've got a souped-up multiroom system - don't settle for a low-tech keypad. Elan's Olè suspends a touch-sensitive button membrane above a backlit slide graphic to give the illusion of a touchpad without the crazy expense of one.

Peter Pachal  |  Apr 03, 2006  |  0 comments

0604_new_elan_xm_200Can't get enough satellite radio? The Elan XM-R3 XM radio tuner ($1,550) was made just for you. The rack-mountable unit has a trio of XM tuners onboard so you can stream separate XM channels to three different rooms in your house simultaneously.

Peter Pachal  |  Oct 04, 2006  |  0 comments

FIRST-CLASS SEAT Leather seats, power reclining, 5-inch-thick cushions - the home theater seats custom-made by Elite HTS bestow luxury viewing on the serious enthusiast. Details like scratch-resistant cup holders and a "wall-hugging" reclining mechanism that needs just 4 inches of clearance behind make all the difference.

Peter Pachal  |  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!

Peter Pachal  |  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.

Peter Pachal  |  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.

Peter Pachal  |  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.

Peter Pachal  |  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.

Peter Pachal  |  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.

Peter Pachal  |  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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