Last time I mentioned a letter from a reader asking me to recommend great movie theaters he should check out on a visit to Los Angeles. I also suggested that out-of-towners visiting The Big Orange for our upcoming Home Entertainment 2006 show on June 2-4 (you are coming, right?) might want to include a visit to one or more of the best theaters in the world in their plans—particularly if they're from a theater-challenged part of the country. There are new multiplexes in LA <I>suburbs</I>, for example, that are likely better than any movie theater in the entire state of New Mexico (I know from experience, having lived in Santa Fe for 10 years and visited most of the theaters there and in nearby Albuquerque, the state's biggest city by far).
Our annual Home Entertainment show, sponsored by Primedia's home tech and photography publications—<I>Ultimate AV</I>, <I>Stereophile</I>, <I>Home Theater</I>, <I>Audio Video Interiors</I>, and <I>Shutterbug</I>—is still three months away. But time has a way of catching us off guard. If you plan on attending from out of town, you need to make plans now!
If there's one factor limiting the wider acceptance of front video projection in the home it's the need to view the projected image in a darkened room. I can't count the number of times I've seen visitors to various on-line forums asking how well this or that projector works in a room with only partial light control. In <I>every</I> case, the answer should have included (but didn't always), "Not nearly as well as it will in a totally darkened room." The simple fact is that video screens reflect light, and if that light comes from something other than a projector—a partially covered window, perhaps—the screen doesn't care. Stray light, reflected off the screen, will inevitably degrade the richness and depth of the image. At worst, it will make it washed out and unwatchable.
With the HD DVD competition set to launch within a month, Sony invited members of the CE press to the Sony Studios in Culver City, California for an update on Blu-ray technology and a demonstration of that format's formidable capabilities.
It was the most ambitious do-it-yourself carpentry work I've done in five years, ever since I covered the windows in my home theater studio to shut out the light and minimize extraneous outside sounds. The latest project involved building a false wall directly in front of an existing wall, not only to conveniently hang an expected ongoing parade of flat panel displays coming in for review, but also to facilitate a planned series of on-wall speaker reviews. There's no question that on-wall speakers are a significant trend, and one that we can't continue to ignore here at <I>Ultimate AV</I>. As for in-walls, well, that's a project for the future.
While my <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/1205sony/">December 2005 review of this video projector</A> was complete in most respects, the absence of our Photo Research colorimeter (in the shop for repairs) did leave a few holes in the formal measurements. These were promised for this Part II.
Last week the local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, KABC, became the first station in California (or so they said) to broadcast their local news programs in high definition. That includes the midday, late afternoon, early evening, and late night editions. And while that might not raise hosannas for a station whose idea of news includes shameless plugs for what's coming up that evening on <I>Dance With the Stars</I>, when you've got endless hours of news time to fill, what do you expect—an in-depth analysis of what's happening at city hall?
Steven Soderbergh's feature film, <I>Bubble</I>, premiered last week in high definition on HDNet. It also opened simultaneously in several dozen theaters around the country, all of them either Landmark theaters (owned by HDNet owner Mark Cuban) or independent art houses. Theater chains boycotted the film because in its simultaneous release on cable television, in theaters, and (this past Tuesday) on DVD, it represented a perceived threat to their box office revenue.