Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 30, 2007  |  0 comments
The thicket of confusion surrounding HDMI and the marketing magic of the premium-cable industry come together in a glorious new set of assertions by MonsterCable, with products to match.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 29, 2007  |  4 comments
No sooner had the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD and Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray players hit my rack than I decided to update them. No point in struggling with buggy firmware when shiny new firmware is available, right? The Toshiba website says Firmware Update Version 2.2 "improves network connectivity for supporting the download of web-enabled network content associated with certain HD DVD discs, and also addresses certain disc playback and HDMI/DVI related issues identified by Toshiba." As a matter of fact, it said the same thing about version 2.1 (I ended up running both). It applies not only to my HD-A2 but also to the HD-XA2, HD-A20, HD-A2W, and HD-D2. Stringing my trusty super-long network cable from the router on my desk to the rack, I plugged it into the Toshiba and navigated to the maintenance menu (top picture). At the manual's request, I turned on DHCP and DNS, and told the machine I was using a cable modem, all of which was quite easy. I clicked through a few screens of end-user license agreement. Then I started the update and went away to make dinner. When I came back, the Toshiba was good to go. Then there was the Pioneer Blu-ray player. Firmware Version 3.40.1 brings Dolby TrueHD compatibility and of course that is a must-have. Though the player has an Ethernet jack, there's no way to simply plug in and run the update. Instead I downloaded a zip file from the Pioneer website to my IBM desktop PC, unzipped it, copied an ISO image file to DVD-R, and fed the disc to the player. The update showed up in one of the video menus (bottom picture). So what audio goodness would I get out of my two freshly updated players? Tune in next week.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 28, 2007  |  0 comments
Vizio is claiming bragging rights as the number one selling brand of flat-panel TVs in a press release citing numerous market analysts. Note the distinction between "brand" and "manufacturer."
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 27, 2007  |  0 comments
A coalition of small cable operators is urging Congress to let them provide free analog cable service following the switchover to digital television broadcasting. That should make the DTV transition painless for owners of old-fashioned analog TVs, right? But there's a catch. The cable ops want a waiver on the retransmission fees that they'd otherwise have to pay broadcasters in exchange for carrying network signals.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 24, 2007  |  0 comments
Are you tired of relentless celebrity "news" coverage? Had you had enough of their drug 'n' alcohol problems, fender benders, public meltdowns, legal woes, spells in the slammer, and unburied corpses? Turns out you have plenty of company.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 22, 2007  |  3 comments
Last weekend I took a Sunday afternoon stroll in Greenwich Village. I was wearing an "Upper West Side 10025" T-shirt to show the Lower Manhattanites who's boss. Following an excellent lunch of cold egg noodles at Mingala, as I strolled down Lafayette Street, I put on the Audio-Technica QuietPoint noise-canceling headphones. Traffic wasn't especially heavy, but you're never really free of internal-combustion noise in Manhattan, and as I hit the switch on the left can, I noticed the low-level hum just disappear, to be replaced by the NC circuit's acceptable low-level hiss. I started grooving on Oleg Kagan's and Sviatoslav Richter's expert performance of Beethoven's "Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano."
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 20, 2007  |  0 comments
Until now the conventional wisdom has been that the victor in the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD would be Blu-ray, if there were a victor at all. Well, now all bets are off. Two major studios have announced that they're dumping Sony's Blu-ray format for Toshiba's HD DVD. It looks as though both formats are likely to be around for the foreseeable future.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 20, 2007  |  0 comments
Getting Sirius got a little easier last week with the announcement that the Sonos Digital Music System would support the internet version of Sirius satellite radio. Connect your Sonos system to the net and you can get 80 Sirius channels--for a fee, of course.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 17, 2007  |  0 comments
The Recording Industry Association of America is the music industry's most influential trade group and toughest defender. When it comes to sitting in the hot seat, no one has a hotter seat than the RIAA, especially concerning its tactics in fighting illegal downloading. But there are two sides to every story, and especially on the Internet, the organization's message is routinely drowned out by the denunciations of its critics. Why shouldn't the RIAA have its say? That gave me a bright idea: Ask 10 questions by email and publish the responses without further comment on my part. This is the RIAA's take on things, period. Without further ado, here is today's special guest, Cary Sherman, President of the Recording Industry Association of America.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 16, 2007  |  0 comments

Home theater is the integration of big-screen television and surround sound. But how often do you see the two product categories integrated with <i>each other</i>? That's what makes a new system from Atlantic Technology and Epson so special.