Chris Chiarella

Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 15, 2004  |  0 comments
Home networking is about to hop forward with the arrival of SkipJam, a hardware/software solution for watching, listening to, and digitally recording entertainment content housewide. With a wired or wireless network and an iMedia Center box in your stack of home theater gear, enjoy TV (including satellite) and more on the PC and share any audio/video source with an iMedia Player anywhere in the home, view/hear PC files in the living room, or bypass the computer altogether and simply network all your A/V devices directly, with high-quality audio and video including 24-bit/192-kilohertz DAC/ADCs with 114db dynamic range. Look for a hands-on review in an upcoming issue of Home Theater.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 08, 2004  |  0 comments
With an elegance too-rarely found in the portable MP3 realm, the Creative MuVo Slim ($200) packs 256 megabytes of digital music into a unit barely larger than a credit card and weighing just over an ounce, unobtrusive even in a shirt pocket. There's a built-in FM tuner that can even record music off-air (also a voice recorder with built-in microphone) and a five-band custom equalizer in addition to Jazz, Rock, Pop and Classical presets. MuVo Slim is a mass storage device so it does not require drivers, just the familiar drag-and-drop between PC and player with a USB 1.1/2.0 connection that also recharges the removable, replaceable lithium ion battery, good for well over ten hours.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 01, 2004  |  0 comments
Bose was nice enough to show me their new Lifestyle 38 ($2,999) and 48 ($3,999) home entertainment systems recently, with the nifty uMusic intelligent playback system: Music can be ripped from CD and stored on an internal hard drive (capacity unspecified at press time), but even without the benefit of an Internet connection all songs are automatically tagged with extensive track information, from a vast onboard database. In addition to helping organize and access your tunes as never before, this data can be used to create "smart" playlists automatically, with variety yet a related sound, nimbly transitioning from Steely Dan to Michael McDonald (former Dan member) to The Doobie Brothers (McDonald's subsequent group), as one mellow example.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 01, 2004  |  0 comments
The latest FireBall aims to give us what we've been missing.

One of the benefits of talking about home theater all day every day is that I get to hear people ask questions like this: "I'd buy a DVD megachanger if there were a way to keep track of my hundreds of discs, but what choice do I have?" Apparently, the spies from Escient were eavesdropping. Their FireBall DVDM-100 DVD and Music Manager has been designed specifically to integrate with the latest generation of super DVD jukeboxes to help identify and organize all of the movies and music stored inside, with a little help from the Internet. You can find a specific DVD in a hurry, sort through all of your comedies, or visually search through all of the covers, right from the sofa.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 28, 2004  |  Published: Jun 01, 2004  |  0 comments
There's always something different at CES.

The Consumer Electronics Show is sort of the Super Bowl of our industry, as manufacturers of just about everything that accepts AC, DC, or batteries descend upon Las Vegas each winter to parade what's new and what's coming soon. Given the presence of all the wonderful new products that blur the lines between consumer electronics and computers at this year's show, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me as convergence editor. Here's a quick look at some of the most interesting arrivals.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 01, 2004  |  0 comments
Where's the DVR? Come to think of it, where isn't the DVR?

Amazing but true, many TiVo and ReplayTV owners out there just see the devices as neat, little living-room boxes that record their television programs, and they simply don't care about the technology inside. Thanks to steady improvements in digital-video-recorder technology, consumers don't have to care if they don't want to. Not to be like that weirdo in the mask and spoil the magic trick, but there's a simple hard disk drive inside—in many cases, the same exact brand and model you have inside your PC. However, while computer-based "video capture" applications seem to have plateaued in terms of features and convenience (at least for now), the more user-friendly dedicated DVR hardware has undergone some interesting transformations, in and out of the home theater.

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments
The DVD-V3800 combines popular technologies from yesterday and today.

Samsung was the first to market with a backwards-compatible, single-box DVD/VHS combi player a few years ago. It's still a hot product as consumers continue to wrestle with the whole VHS-versus-DVD quandary. Most manufacturers keep upping the ante in small ways, adding this output or that performance enhancement on the digital half—there's only so much room for improvement on a standard VHS recorder, after all—without really rocking the multimedia boat. Finally going a step further, Samsung has incorporated a multi-format flash-memory card reader into the top-of-the-line model in their recent wave of value decks.

Chris Chiarella  |  Mar 12, 2004  |  Published: Feb 01, 2004  |  0 comments
We glimpse the shape of things to come.

Last fall, the editors of Home Theater beat a path to our industry's CEDIA Expo to see and be seen, as we do every year. This time around, we were surprised by the opportunity to witness the bona fide evolution of entertainment gear. We learned the names of three manufacturers (and so will you) whose creations—each multizone-friendly and high-end in its own fashion—bring next-generation features to the home theater and beyond. At press time, these products were still too new for a full hands-on review, so we'll share what we do know thus far.

Chris Chiarella  |  Feb 27, 2004  |  0 comments
Once more into the breach with Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict.

Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict helped make Sunday nights a lot more interesting in the autumn of 1978, starring as the best-in-fleet space pilots Captain and Apollo Lieutenant Starbuck in the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica. Upon the release of a lavish new DVD set of the TV show's first and only season, not coincidentally on the eve of the premiere of The SCI FI Channel's reinvented Galactica mini-series, the two gentlemen traveled back in time with Home Theater Magazine.

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 09, 2003  |  Published: Apr 10, 2003  |  0 comments
By the time you read this, Paramount's two-disc special collector's edition of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home should be available. While it was never my favorite Star Trek film, the movie does offer some memorable funny-because-they're-true lines. One that I often quote occurs when time-traveling Scotty confronts a 20th-century computer. When he eventually realizes that he'll have to use a horribly outdated keyboard, he quips, "How quaint."