Mark Fleischmann

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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.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 16, 2007  |  0 comments
In what surely must be the worst-case scenario for digital rights management, Google has informed purchasers of its video downloads that they will no longer play. They are not merely copy-protected, they are unplayable under any circumstances.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 15, 2007  |  1 comments
Last week I greeted the somewhat tardy arrival of Blu-ray and HD DVD to my rack. Happy happy joy joy, as Ren & Stimpy would say, but what to do about my reference receiver? My beloved Rotel RSX-1065 (and its seven-channel equivalent, the 1067) has no HDMI inputs. And regrettably, Rotel tells me it has no immediate plans to update its receiver line for HDMI. That means there's no way to get the new surround codecs into the receiver by a digital path at full resolution. As the magazine's audio editor, I am more than eager to hear lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. I'd also like to plumb the potential of the new & improved lossy formats, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. The only way to get them into the Rotel at full resolution was via the receiver's 5.1-channel analog inputs, relying on the player's built-in surround decoder. That took care of the Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player, and I threw in a digital coaxial connection to continue feeding the receiver's old-style Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. But even if I'd been willing to swap six analog cables from player to player, the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player has no 5.1 analog-outs! I had to settle for the digital optical interface, which handles the new codecs at reduced resolution as a backward-compatibility move. This introduced me to a quirk of Toshiba's HD DVD players, which is that they convert Dolby Digital Plus into PCM and then transcode it into DTS. Thus the optical connection lights up the DTS indicator on my receiver even when I'm not playing a DTS soundtrack. Having at least temporarily licked my connectivity problems, I set about upgrading the firmware in both players. Details next time.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 14, 2007  |  0 comments
Here's the good news: Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to view already-aired programming at the touch of a button. And now here's the bad news: The fast-forward function is disabled.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 13, 2007  |  0 comments
THX has a new trick up its sleeve. In addition to Blackbird, that is.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 10, 2007  |  0 comments
Recent moves by Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, may result in a more freewheeling DRM-free download retail environment.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 09, 2007  |  0 comments
Just when you thought HDTV prices couldn't go any lower, Sharp is forecasting a 25 percent drop for larger LCD-based flat panels.