Archive for March, 2008

KEF Launches the Next Generation of Home Theatre System

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Eminent British Speaker Manufacturer’s KHT2005.3 5.1 System, Featuring the All-New KUBE-2 Subwoofer, Incorporates Uni-Q® Driver Technology and Advanced Design

Marlboro, N.J. – March 31, 2008 – KEF, renowned British manufacturer of superb audio and home theatre speakers, has announced the introduction of the third generation of the highly acclaimed Home Theatre 2000 Series − the KHT2005.3 Series home theatre speaker system, incorporating the exciting new KUBE-2 Subwoofer. (more…)

Planar’s New Pd8130 And Pd8150 Propel The Brand Into The Custom 1080p Projector Marke

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Dolby Shows Latest HDR Display Prototype Developed in Collaboration with SIM2
New York, March 31, 2008—Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) and SIM2 Multimedia are proud to showcase a new prototype high dynamic-range (HDR)–enabled LCD flat-screen display using Dolby’s new light emitting diodes (LED) local dimming technology. (more…)

Daily Blog – Steve Smallcombe – March 31, 2008: WHAT EXACTLY IS A HOME THEATER?

Monday, March 31st, 2008

What is a Home Theater (“HT”)? Does it need to be a dedicated room with theater seating and a front projector? How big a room and what shape? How about acoustic treatments? How important is light control? How much does an HT cost?

These are all questions on my mind as we are planning on building a new home in the near future, and a proper HT there is a given. We just have to make it fit in the floor plan for the new house and the budget.

The questions are also relevant in our current situation where the only available room for an HT is the open floor plan living room. This setup is non-ideal for a “serious” HT in terms of acoustics, wall and ceiling color, and light control.

Nevertheless, I still went with a front projector based-system, as for my money, no other image is as involving or large as one projected unto a front projection screen. I tried the smaller image behind glass approach for a while, but it just didn’t cut it.

Although our current setup is not in a dedicated room and one really has to wait until dark for the best viewing, I think it really is the right answer for me at this time. Perhaps the point is that a front projector in a non-ideal room might still be a better answer for many people in terms of both cost and enjoyment compared to a large plasma or LCD TV, or rear projector for that matter.

Clearly with a front projector one needs to do the best one can with light control, with the critical understanding that the most important light to control is light that strikes the screen directly. Light that you see that does not fall directly on the screen is less important, especially if you have somewhat darker colored walls. I pretty much alway have some light shining on the table near our viewing chairs when viewing TV or movies so we can find our beverage of choice, food, etc.

In our current home, we have installed Hunter Douglas Duette honeycomb blackout screens in all windows and doors in the living room and adjacent dining room. I also installed “dimmers”, or essentially butterfly valves in two Solatubes. Without the dimmers these solar tunnels bring and incredible amount of sunlight, or even moonlight into the room.

During the day, with the shades up and the solatubes dimmers open, one can hardly see the projected image on the screen. It is good enough to view the menu or guide and setup recordings, etc., but not for viewing. Lower the shades and close the dimmer on the solatubes, and the improvement is dramatic and good enough for viewing sports, news, home improvement programs or cartoons, etc. (When is the last time your kids complained about black levels or contrast ratios?) Movies with dark scenes or with spaceships flying across a back starry sky are best saved till after dark. Is this setup ideal for a front projector? No, but it is good enough, especially after the sun starts to go down.

The one other thing worth mentioning with regard to light control and its effect on the image, is the choice of projection screen. One could write a whole blog or two about choosing a projection screen, but briefly, if you don’t have complete light control you may well want to choose a screen with some gain, e.g. 1.3. A screen with a gain of 1.3 makes the image 30 percent brighter by preferentially reflecting light from the projector towards the viewing area while ambient light is not preferentially reflected.

There are different types of gain, reflective and retro-reflective, and one must chose a screen with gain carefully in terms of how the projector is mounted, i.e. ceiling or table, and the width of the desired viewing area. Nevertheless, the right screen, perhaps smaller and with some gain, and coupled with a brighter projector can do a lot in coping with ambient light. That said, less ambient light falling on the screen is always better.

In future blogs I’ll try and address some of the other questions I posed at the beginning of this one, but I’ll close with one comment about cost.

When talking with one contractor about our new home, he said, “This will be a very expensive home to build because of all the expensive requirements you have, such as the home theater”. I said, on the contrary, the HT will be one of the lower cost rooms in the home, e.g. compared to the kitchen. I have all the equipment. (O.K. I probably will buy some new stuff.) I’ll install all the wiring and acoustic treatments myself, just like in our previous home, and as long as we start with a room of the proper dimensions, this is not at all difficult or necessarily expensive.

You can spend lots of money and construct a theme-based HT with theater seating in a dedicated room that looks like an Egyptian tomb or the inside of a space ship, and pay someone to do it all for you, but that is certainly not necessary to get real enjoyment out of a front projector. Building your own HT is fun, does not need to be expensive, and does not necessary need to involve a dedicated room. My previous HT, which I loved, was done in a family room with multipurpose seating, etc., but with good light control and good acoustics. And of course, a front projector.

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – March 30, 2008: WEDDING OF THE CENTURY?

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

At the grocery store yesterday, I was amused to see the headlines on one of the tabloid magazines, something to the effect that the marriage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will be the “Wedding of the Century”.

Well, let’s see. What does that mean?

Maybe its effect on the world?

Will it cause a drop in the price of oil?

Will it stop the genocide in Darfur?

Will it produce a cure for cancer?

Well, what then?

Ah, it will be a gold mine for photographers and writers in grocery store tabloids.

I would really like to know the average IQ of people who give a s*** about the marriage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – March 29, 2008: ELECTRIC CARS ARE COMING SOONER THAN I THOUGHT.

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Today’s news reports that Mitsubishi (yes, they make a lot more stuff than just TV’s) displayed its new electric car at the 2008 New York Annual Auto Show:

I guess the USA is not the only country that is sick of paying so much money for gasoline.

Mitsubishi is already trying them out here in the US to see if consumers are interested.

Interested? Where do I sign up for one of these?

It has high tech lithium rechargeable batteries that will take the car 80 miles. I suspect that is a stretch. Let’s say it will go 40 miles with some stop and go, and some uphill. That is plenty for me, and I think, plenty for most of us who might commute 20 miles or less each way to work every day.

It recharges in 7 hours using 240 volts (every US home has this for use with electric ovens and electric dryers, and if you don’t have it hooked up, it is there waiting in the breaker box). A recharger under development will do it in 30 minutes.

So, what I would like to know is how much mileage gets trimmed off when using a nice big fat aftermarket in-car hi-fi? The motor draws a huge percentage of the current, so I would estimate that for a 20 mile trip to work, playing the hi-fi constantly, at 80 dB, maybe 2 miles worth? If that is the case, run an extension cord out your office window to recharge it while you work.

Maybe some sort of a propane heater like we use on camping trips.

Air conditioning can be had by developing a car version of what we used to call, in Texas, a “Swamp Cooler”. It worked by dripping cold water over a drum-shapped fan with slits in it. The fan could be outside the window, spinning from the air going past it when you are driving.

Now, if they will just sell it to us for under $20,000.

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – March 28, 2008: HOW ABOUT A BIG ONE?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

The news says that due to the economy, HDTV manufacturers believe consumers will scale back on their TV purchases and not get that 50″ plasma, but the smaller ones instead. So, they are going to increase production of 30″ and smaller flat panel HDTVs.

I don’t think so.

50″, 60″, 62″ . . . that is what has been marketed to us now for several years. They have been building us up to buy a BIG HDTV!

So, now they think that just because gas is headed to $4 a gallon, we are going to cut back on something we do at least 2 hours every evening? Cut back on the size of our new HDTV?

My first HDTV was a 30 incher, and it cost me $2,800. It was 720p.

Now that I can buy a 60″ for $2,295 . . .

Let’s put it this way. 30″ TVs are for the bathroom.

KEF Muon Featured at 2008 Festival Son & Image

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Award-Winning Loudspeaker to be Displayed at High-End Audio Enthusiast Show in Montreal April 3-6

Marlboro, N.J. – March 27, 2008 – As a Gold Sponsor for the 2008 Festival Son & Image (FSI), KEF, the renowned British manufacturer of audiophile-quality music and home theater speakers, will proudly present the award-winning and visually stunning Muon Loudspeaker April 3-6 in Montreal, Canada. (more…)

Peleman launches WWAOW Instant Self-Publishing

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

WWAOW Logo Photo:

Karen Thomas
Thomas PR
(631) 549-7575


Revolutionary Online Service Lets Everyone Publish their Own High-Quality Books for a Low Price of Only $79 for 5 Books

No Shipping, Storing or Invoicing Needed to Self-Publish

Alpharetta, GA, March 27, 2008 — Peleman Industries, Inc., manufacturer of the award-winning Unibind high-quality binding, lamination and presentation product line, announced today the launch of (pronounced “WOW!”), the first low-cost self-publishing service for creating high-quality hard or soft cover books, documents, and manuals online at (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – March 27, 2008: WILL WE LEARN FROM THE LAST FORMAT BATTLE?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I opened my Netflix envelope yesterday and found it contained an HD DVD. I’d forgotten that I still listed HD DVD in my Netflix preferences, and was taken by surprise. Last weekend, my kids were watching the HD DVD of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know that a single format is supposed to be better for consumers, manufacturers, retailers and studios, but lately I’m feeling pangs of regret. Not over which format “won,” but that the interested parties weren’t able to figure out their differences and provide customers with both options (or alternatively, figure out a unified format before launch). I’m hopeful that when the history of the format battle is viewed through the lens of historical context, the lessons learned are more about avoiding the next battle rather than how to win the next one.

KEF Muon Captures CEA Mark Of Excellence Award

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Created in Partnership with Visionary Industrial Designer Ross Lovegrove, Extraordinary Speaker Honored with Coveted Industry Award

Marlboro, N.J. – March 26, 2008 – KEF, renowned British manufacturer of audiophile-quality speakers and world-class home theater speakers, has announced that the Muon loudspeaker has been named the 2008 TechHome® Mark of Excellence Award winner in the “Best Speaker – Freestanding Speakers” category. (more…)

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