Archive for January, 2008

Daily Blog – Colin Miller – December 31, 2007: EARLY ADOPTERS, TRANSITORY FORMATS

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Is anybody else tired of format wars?

 What do you want, a hard boiled egg, or a scrambled egg?  Which is better?  And what do you do if you really just wanted a fruit cup (with those crazy red cherries which, who do they think they’re kidding, aren’t actually cherries at all, but alien fuel pellets.

 Yes, we want 1080p.  Yes, we want native 7 channels of lossless high quality audio.

 We’d also like equipment that works together, doesn’t take a minute and a half to ‘boot’ up when we load a disc, or for that matter, doesn’t make us touch the stupid disc more than once, if ever.

 It seems like we’re given a false dichotomy, often.  It’s like the marketing scam, where they know they want to sell you C, so they show you A and B first, knowing darn well that A & B weren’t viable options from the beginning, and let you ‘choose’ C.

 I want Stupendous Audio and Video.  I don’t want a media format dependent upon a physical box that’s going to be obsolete in a matter of years, and will soon be landfill, if not just more recycling.

 Really, I’m kind of tired of it.

 Satellite and Cable companies love to point out just how great their HD content is compared to Standard Definition broadcasts.  Well, the truth is, the quality of their HD content is highly variable, and it only looks good compared to their standard definition content consistently, because their standard definition content is consistently horrible, incredibly over-compressed.  If you actually take 1080p content, scale it down to standard definition, cram it through the lowly S-Video connector at 480i, and then scale it back up to the display resolution, it is indeed compromised.  However, it’s FAR better than the native 480i content that broadcasters are sending out on the superior ‘Digital’ systems.

 Hell, I’ve seen better analog terrestrial broadcasts, on standard definition, than what comes through the digital cable box.  Might have to orient the antenna…..

Okay, I’m whining, a lot, and I shouldn’t be, exclusively.  Technology is getting better, by far.  Sometimes, given the directive, the engineers, carefully assembled and managed, do everything necessary to provide a fantastic product, that performs as promised.  However, the people driving design aren’t interested primarily in actual performance.  They’re interested primarily in moving boxes, collecting licensing fees, etc. 

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent my rant :)

Good night!

NAD Introduces ‘Budget Reference’ Duo: Integrated Stereo Amplifier and CD Player

Monday, January 7th, 2008

New C 315BEE Amp and C 515BEE CD Player Combine Most-Wanted Audio Features with Superior Performance and Affordability

CES ’08, LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2008 — NAD Electronics, the highly regarded manufacturer of high-performance audio/video components, introduces the C 315BEE Integrated Stereo Amplifier and C 515BEE CD Player, a highly affordable duo with the features and performance of far costlier components, at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show, beginning here today. (more…)

Welcome to the New Secrets Website

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Well, if you have been a Secrets reader for awhile, you are now looking at the largest change we have ever made in our 14 year history. Whereas Secrets has been based on HTML documents up until now (except for the DVD Benchmark Reviews and the Forum), today we are launching the entire website in database format.

It has been a grueling year for us, converting the website, having gone through several companies and individuals who told us we were asking for too much complexity, and that they could simply not deliver what we wanted.

Then we found a company in Southern California that specializes in website development for online magazines. MDigitalDesign took on our project several months ago, and, spending many hours talking to our staff, turned it into a work of art.

It is a very complicated design, with many database modules from numerous sources. We wanted to go live before Christmas, but there were just too many little things to do, and even now, there are plenty of things that need attention. Most of them we know about, but I would like all of you to please send us an e-mail (staff at hometheaterhifi dot com) as to mistakes you have discovered, such as broken links, but also to let us know of improvements or clarifications that you would like.

Note that you can make comments on reviews and blogs by filling out the form at the bottom of the various pages. You will also be able to add comments on the definitions in our Encyclopedia (formerly the Primer), and even add your own new words with definitions. This is one of the advantages of a database design, along with the ability to search the website much more efficiently and to have more sophisticated graphics.

Tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours have been spent developing this project. It is an asset not only to us, but certainly to you, the readership. So, help us make it the best it can be. Go through the entire website, as there are lots of new things for you to see.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
Editor-in-Chief

The Psychology of Movie and Music Piracy in the A/V Industry

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Do you like being told what you can and cannot do? Do you like being told what you have to do? I think the answer to both questions for every human being on earth is, “No!”

This goes back to one of the oldest stories ever written. You know, the one about Adam and Eve and the apple tree. They were told they could have anything they wanted, except apples from that tree. So what happened? They ate an apple from that tree.

There is another story, more modern, but with the same outcome. A mother tells her child that he can play in the back yard and do whatever he wants. But, under no circumstances is he to put beans in his ears. An hour later, the mother is digging beans out of her child’s ears.

OK, let’s move to the point. Consumers of music and movies are told they are not supposed to copy the content because it is copyrighted. Well, how many of us have ever copied music from a CD? Probably 100%. It took an act of the US Congress to ensure the “Fair Use” policy such that we could copy CDs for archiving or playing the music in our cars. So, the music industry started adding a few cents to the price of blank tape because they assumed everyone would be copying their music. Well, that may have pulled in some cash for awhile, but no one is using tape anymore.

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