Chris Chiarella

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Chris Chiarella  |  Jun 05, 2007  |  Published: May 06, 2007  |  0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 21, 2007  |  Published: Apr 21, 2007  |  0 comments
Putting the fun back into next-generation consoles.

Nintendo's follow-up to their popular GameCube—number three in the Big Three consoles of the previous generation—is the Wii (pronounced "we"), which represents a very different approach from SCEA's and Microsoft's next-gen gaming offerings. The humble Wii de-emphasizes the absolute latest and greatest in graphics and game audio, supporting a maximum video resolution of only 480p, in EDTV mode. Instead, it offers innovation in game design and control. And you can buy two of these Wii consoles for the price of the stripped-down PlayStation 3 model.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 21, 2007  |  Published: Apr 21, 2007  |  0 comments
Hit maker Ivan Reitman has left his mark as the director and/or producer on some of the biggest, funniest comedies ever. Appreciative of his collaborators, keenly aware of his own canon, and showing a remarkable savvy for the home-video landscape, Reitman reflects upon almost three decades of favorites on the occasion of his latest release, Fox's My Super Ex-Girlfriend, starring Uma Thurman.
Chris Chiarella  |  May 01, 2007  |  Published: Apr 01, 2007  |  0 comments
Ah, to be young again. As Finding Neverland taught us, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is really for the kids, but the overwhelming charm of this tale about an ageless boy’s carefree adventures makes it pretty much irresistible for the rest of us. That was true of the original stage production and of Walt Disney’s 1953 animated adaptation, with perhaps only its clichd Hollywood depiction of Native Americans looking the worse for wear these many years later.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 29, 2007  |  0 comments
Shoot the robot dog. This is an HT gamer's new best friend.

It's just so beautiful. I realize that's a pretty shallow initial evaluation of Sony's much-hyped super-fun-happy-smile machine, the PlayStation 3. But the lines are so bold, the shape is so commanding, and it's all just so. . .shiny. Of course, it's what's inside that counts, and, in this case, that would be the imposing new Cell Broadband Engine, which Sony developed in collaboration with IBM and Toshiba. The Cell engine features a mind-blowing eight processors working in parallel—a main CPU, plus seven Synergistic Processing Units. It's 40 times as powerful as the PlayStation 2's processor, performing 208 billion floating-point calculations per second. This translates to highly detailed, highly interactive environments, complex effects, and bigger battles with a greater number of enemies. Backing this is the RSX graphics-processing unit, which is capable of 4X antialiasing. This can be a real boon in the large-format high-definition universe. The games themselves spin on the PS3's Blu-ray drive and arrive on high-capacity BD-ROM discs.

Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 20, 2007  |  0 comments
Bose recently invited us by their Columbus Circle store in Manhattan to give a listen to their in-ear headphones. While not a new product per se, they wanted to discuss some new and upcoming enhancements that I'll touch on in a moment, but this was my first chance to really evaluate the 'phones and, as someone whose been using earbuds extensively for a decade now, I was genuinely impressed by the sound. While not noise-canceling or sound-isolating, they incorporate the same Bose Tri-Port technology as in their QuietComfort line: small ports in the earpieces that help in bass reproduction without adding great size, so they're a handy accessory to iPods et. al.
Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 13, 2007  |  Published: Mar 13, 2007  |  0 comments
Get Back
Would you believe that
Get Smart has returned on DVD? I don’t think we’ve ever reported on a TV title in the Reference Corner column before, and perhaps that’s because there are too few TV-on-DVD sets like this one.
Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 22, 2007  |  Published: Feb 22, 2007  |  0 comments
Games and movies collide, again, this time in high-def.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD player is targeted specifically at the owners of the Xbox 360 gaming console—or those on the fence about purchasing one. It's an affordable way to bring HD DVD into your existing multimedia system. This small disc spinner will not work by itself; rather, it will only operate in conjunction with one of the two available versions of the Xbox 360, or with a PC (sort of, as you'll see later). It's another box (which will of course take up more space), and it lacks the sleek approach of a single-chassis solution. But the easily replaceable USB cable that connects the HD DVD player to your Xbox does offer a bit of placement freedom. This in turn makes the drive's integrated USB hub potentially more versatile.

Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 22, 2007  |  Published: Feb 22, 2007  |  0 comments
The universe is still expanding.

People seem to love bashing the last great format war—SACD versus DVD-Audio—in which, of course, there was no real winner. My personal opinion has always been a little different. I consider it a unique pleasure to bask in the warm embrace of 5.1 high-resolution channels of some of the best popular music ever. I continue to do this, as I always have, by way of an affordable universal disc player, as one could fairly call it in the days before HD DVD and Blu-ray. I'm glad to see that manufacturers are still supporting the high-resolution audio formats, helping the consumer take advantage of all the great software currently available, much of it heavily discounted in the aftermath of the conflict.

Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 14, 2007  |  0 comments
It’s curious timing for a new PS2 accessory, but this one is a dandy. For those of you who just couldn’t wait for the debut of the PS3, or, more to the point, couldn’t afford to buy one of the scarce wonder boxes off of eBay, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your favorite PlayStation titles in high definition right now, thanks to the Xploder HDTV Player for PlayStation 2 ($40).

Pages

X