Archive for July, 2008

Daily Blog – Brian Florian – July 16, 2008: BLU-RAY PRICE RELIEF IN SIGHT

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Two weeks ago I got wind of a sub-C$400 price on Sony’s BDPS300.  At the time I questioned whether that supplier was on the up and up, but now this past week any number of sources indicate that some price relief on Blu-Ray is in the pipe, at least on players.  Even my local dealer pro actively called me up saying he had new pricing on the coveted Panasonic ‘50.

Finally some indication of long-term incumbency for HD-on-disc.

Movies on the other hand seem to remain at a relatively high premium compared to DVD which, although of no consequence to the movie renting masses,  seems like poor reward for the movie collectors who have driven the market up to the present.

Daily Blog – Adrian Wittenberg – July 15, 2008: TWO REASONS TO GO TO THE CINEPLEX

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Like many, I don’t go to the cineplex that often.  High ticket prices, noisy attendees, and even the higher costs of driving to the theater have kept me happily enjoying my dvd and blu-ray collection at home instead.

Recently though, I have made a couple trips out to the theaters for the movies Hellboy II: The Golden Army and WALL-E .

In both cases, the experiences were well worth the high price of admission.  Okay, I probably should add that I saved money by not buying candy, popcorn, or drinks.

I have been a fan of the first Hellboy movie and I often find myself using it for home theater evaluation because its chock-full of mammoth action scenes that make good use of a surround sound system.  The second film in the series delivers even more visual and aural goodness with enormous battles that are a perfect blend of modern CG, live action, and exciting sound effects.  Fans of director Guillermo Del Toro’s visual style can also appreciate his use of unique character design that combines elements of both fantasy and science fiction genres.  Its somewhere between The Fifth Element and Lord of the Rings.  Needless to say, I will be eagerly anticipating the Blu-Ray release of this film. 

Anybody who is a home theater afficionado probably has a couple of Pixar titles in his library as the films highlight exceptional color depth and detail and are a great way to show off a modern HD display.  But, besides that, Pixar animations are just plain fun to watch and there is often a positive message behind the storylines.  Wall-E is entertaining because of all of the superb visuals and sound effects and also because the story is unique in that it is developed with a minimum of dialogue.  Its not too far off from the way a silent film spins a tale.  The way this story was told combined with its intense visuals made it one of the most entertaining movies I have seen recently.    

Ok, I admit it. This blog is just my recommendation to go out to the theaters and see either or both of these films while they are available at a cineplex that has good equipment.  Everything from the visuals and sound effects to the characters and storyline make them worth watching on a really large screen.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.     

 

McIntosh Introduces Its High-Performance Model TM2 AM/FM HD Radio Tuner Module

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Press Contact: Matt Calderone DBA Public Relations mcalderone@dba-pr.com (212) 388-1400

McIntosh Introduces Its High-Performance

Model TM2 AM/FM HD Radio™ Tuner Module

– The Very Best Way to Enjoy All the Benefits of HD Radio™; Combination with McIntosh’s New MA6600 Integrated Amplifier Constitutes Company’s First Stereo Receiver in Over 15 Years –

Binghamton, NY, July 14, 2008 — McIntosh Laboratory, a world leader in home entertainment systems for nearly 60 years, recently announced the introduction of the TM2 AM/FM HD Radio™ Tuner Module (SRP: $800), a high-performance luxury component that provides users with the finest HD Radio reception, including CD-quality FM performance, as well as leading-edge features such as RDS Data (artist, title, song) for a truly enjoyable over-the-air music experience. (more…)

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – July 14, 2008: SOMETIMES SMALL THINGS COME IN LARGE PACKAGES.

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Coming home from a benchmark training trip a few evenings ago, I looked in my driveway and saw these packages stacked one on top of the other.

Believe it or not, these represent one turntable.

The McIntosh MT10 turntable that I have been using for our Vinyl vs. CD article series is reference quality, and in order to test other cartridges, I would have had to remove the one in the MT10. The McIntosh is not configured for exchanging cartridges easily, and I also wanted to be able to go back and forth between two cartridges in my listening tests. So, I decided to acquire a second reference quality turntable.

Searching all over the place on-line and reading a lot of reviews, I decided on VPI Industries, which makes a number of very high quality units. I chose the HRX. It’s there in all those boxes in the photo. Actually, it’s the same model in the photo on Page 3 (Turntables, Tonearms, and Cartridges) of the Vinyl vs. CD article series.

I also ordered a cartridge to compare with the one in the MT10. The new cartridge is an MC (moving coil) unit, but it has 2.5 mV output instead of the 0.75 mV output of the MC cartridge in the MT10.

Results will be forthcoming shortly.

Daily Blog – Sumit Chawla – July 11, 2008: HTPC: KEYBOARD + TOUCHDISC.

Friday, July 11th, 2008

I have been using the “diNovo Edge” keyboard from Logitech for some time and it has worked out well. There are several features I like. Among them:

  • An integrated TouchDisc, so I don’t need a separate mouse. The TouchDisc is responsive and can be used to scroll both horizontally and vertically.
  • Communication with the PC is handled over BlueTooth and the range is good.
  • A built-in rechargeable battery with a quick charge cycle. A charging base is provided and the charge holds for a good length of time.
  • A slim-profile
  • Light-weight
  • Some special function keys with labels that light up; I would have liked the entire keyboard to be backlit.

Logitech’s line also includes a keyboard for use with the PS3, the “MediaBoard Pro”, offering similar functionality. It does not include a built-in rechargeable battery, and some of the media control keys are also missing. This keyboard should work with a PC, although it may require some tinkering. It is also less expensive, so if your budget cannot accomodate the “diNovo Edge”, you can consider this alternative. Hopefully the price of this keyboard will come down over time. I would also like to hear about other options that people are using, so if you have a keyboard (BlueTooth or RF based) that you like to use with your HTPC, please post.

SE2 Labs Hires Jeff Walker as Vice President of Operations

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Caster Communications at 401.792.7080

SE2 LABS HIRES JEFF WALKER AS VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

Draper, Utah – July 10, 2008 – SE2 Labs, manufacturer of the groundbreaking Integrated Theater Console (ITC One), today announced the hiring of Jeff Walker as its new vice president of operations. Walker’s wealth of marketing and sales experience is expected to prove beneficial to SE2 Labs as the company continues its aggressive pursuit of new dealers. (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – July 10, 2008: WAITING FOR BLU-RAY.

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

I was helping my son shop for a birthday present, particularly focusing on his interest in a game console. I tried not to nudge him towards a PS3, but a little voice kept saying “Blu-ray player, Blu-ray player. . . .” Eventually, the angel on my other shoulder won out and I decided I would just buy a stand-alone player rather than co-opt my own child’s birthday present. As of today, the best Blu-ray player with Profile 2.0, relatively fast-loading time and a decent price, is the PS3. A game console, for $400.

I appreciate that having the studios line up behind different formats made for an untenable situation. But the “old” Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player in my rack, like every other HD DVD player, was based on a stable set of specifications (as Adrian just noted,  BD-Live is still ramping up).  And I paid $99 for it.

I had hoped that, with the end of the format battle, consumers would rapidly see a stable set of specifications, and more players available at a wide range of price points. Especially that all important entry-level player to introduce people to the joys of high-def video (kind of like those $999 HD flat screens).

Well, the big CEDIA show is less than two months away. I can still hope, right?

ReQuest Adds HD TV Interface and Sirius Radio to iQ Whole House Music System

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Ballston Spa, New York—July 9, 2008— ReQuest, the preeminent manufacturer of digital media servers has added two important new features to its acclaimed iQ Whole House Music System. An all-new on-screen HDTV GUI (graphical user interface), and Sirius satellite-radio compatibility, arrive together in a new software update v4.6.3, which will be released the week of July 14th. (more…)

NuVo Technologies Announces Training Dates for CEDIA EXPO 2008

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Hebron, KY – July 8, 2008 – NuVo Technologies will be hosting three training courses at the CEDIA Expo 2008, in Denver, CO. The courses will focus on NuVo’s complete “Suite” solutions to multi-room audio and provide valuable insight to understanding and maximizing the benefits of the system. This is a great class for seasoned installers to understand the Suite concept as well as for Rookie’s who are just learning about the NuVo product offerings. (more…)

Daily Blog – Adrian Wittenberg – July 8 , 2008: BD-LIVE OR LET DIE.

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

With more major studios lining up to add BD-Live content to Blu Ray discs in the upcoming months there are some features that I am looking forward to and then there are some I’m not.

To establish some ground here, BD-Live is the feature that allows ethernet or wi-fi capable Blu-Ray Players (Sony Playstation 3 for example) to connect to the internet and obtain additional content not already loaded onto the disc.  Features such as downloadable trailers, library search, and live chatting are some of the ideas that studios have already announced.

I’m not really going to get excited about the live chatting feature.  I think it might be pleasant to discuss a movie after its finished and perhaps some interesting conversation can result involving interpretation or some other aspect of the film but my main concern is, will there be a way to filter out trashy , meaningless, or spam comments that are frequently seen on internet discussion.   Probably not.

I am, on the other hand, interested to see how the informational resource features pan out.  I’m all for guided recommendations for other movies based on my personal preferences.  They can potentially save me the time from watching movies I feel are disasters such as Sony Pictures “Are We Done Yet” for instance.

I think companies like Netflix or Blockbuster Online would be smart to get themselves involved in BD-Live so that if during watching a disc when a preview or trailer of a desired movie is watched, one could add it to their rental queue with a convenient push of a button.

Also, are the studios favoring BD Live going to give the consumer extras free as charge as a reward for purchasing the higher priced Blu-Ray discs or are they going to use BD-Live as a tool to generate more revenue by making the extras for sale only.  Probably the latter.  Personally, I’d like to see a lot more of these novelties such as theme song ringtones or other such goodies come free of charge as appreciation to the consumer.  A little goes a long way. 

 

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