Archive for August, 2008

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – August 7, 2008: VALUE IS A RELATIVE TERM.

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

As happens on a regular basis, I got a call this week from a friend asking for advice about upgrading their home theater system. After years of delay, they had finally purchased a nice 50-inch plasma for their family room, but other than a DVD player had nothing else.

I asked some questions about their needs and priorities; they wanted it to look nice but were more interested in sound quality than aesthetics. They did not want sub-par equipment, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money either. All very reasonable points. After a little more discussion, I suggested two 5.1 speaker systems from manufacturers that, in my opinion, had an excellent price/value ratio. Both systems sold for about $2,000. My friend literally gasped at the price. He makes a very nice living, but the idea of spending $2,000 on speakers was shocking. He’d seen complete packages—ones sold by big box stores—for less than $500. I tried to explain that, at that price point, you get what you pay for. It didn’t seem to make a difference.

This is a common experience. People want a quality home theater, but when they weigh the cost of attaining it, quality often comes out on the wrong side of the ledger. It is important to respect people’s choices as to where they spend their money, especially when disposable income is a scarce resource. But sometimes, especially at the lower end of the market segment, those few extra dollars can translate into a different level of enjoyment.

Daily Blog – Piero Gabucci – August 7, 2008 – Boston Acoustics New Vista Line

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

For those like me who have wondered what direction Boston Acoustics was taking after the introduction last summer of their “Play Smart” Horizon line, breathed a sigh of relieve as BA unveiled to us the promised new Vista line, replacing their E-Series. Newness and built quality is what stands out with Vista – molded MDF with amazing quality finishes, a new Super Wide Bandwidth (SWB) tweeter and organic composite mid-range and woofers. A new subwoofer totally designed in-house and what BA boasted as the first (that they know of) Energy Star compliant.

With the main design concept of curving enclosures, BA’s furniture quality Vista is elegant and amazingly finished in either high gloss piano black lacquer, or optional cherry endcaps.

For a flagship line, Vista is the modestly priced with the top of the line VS 336, 3-way floorstanding unit at $1,699.00 each. The LCR VS 224, 2-way wall-mountable unit at $699.00 each and a pair of bookshelf units, the VS 260 with a 6 ½” woofer at $699.00 or the VS 240 with a 4 ½” woofer at $399.00 each. A center channel VS 325C with dual 5 ½” drivers at $899.00 and lastly the VPS 210 10” powered subwoofer with 500-watt RMS, 1800 peak class-D amplifier at $1,600.00.

The demo with just a pair of the VS 240’s was surprisingly elegant and rich sounding. Although base was not lacking, switching on the VPS subwoofer yielded yet another level of dimension to the demonstration.

Most of the units are now shipping with all by the end of summer.

Boston Acoustics Introduces New Flagship Vista Series

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

– Four New Flagship Speaker Models Exquisitely Merge Art and Science for the
Ultimate in Listening, Enjoyment and Sophisticated Design –

Peabody, MA, August 5th, 2008 — Boston Acoustics, Inc., world-renowned manufacturer of high-performance loudspeakers, today announced the introduction of its new flagship line of loudspeakers, Vista. The four Vista models: VS 336 3-Way Triple 6-1/2” Floorstanding Loudspeaker (MAP: $1,699.99), VS 325C 3-Way Dual 5-1/4” Center Channel (MAP: $899.99), VS 240 2-Way 4-1/4” Bookshelf (MAP: $399.99), and VPS 210 10″ Class-D 500-watt High-Powered Subwoofer (MAP: $1,699.99), bring together superior sonic reproduction capabilities with exciting new dimensions in loudspeaker elegance and aesthetics. Several Vista Series models are currently available at selected independent stores across the country, with the initial four models in the Series all scheduled for rollout availability by the end of summer. In addition to the initial four models, two additional Vista loudspeakers, the VS 224 2-Way Dual 4 ½” LCR and VS 260 2-Way 6 ½” Bookshelf, are scheduled for market introduction this fall, both with MAPs of $699.99 each. For key specifications and measurements, see attached sheet. (more…)

Pinnacle Systems Solves Olympics Time Differences

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Pinnacle Systems Solves Olympics Time Differences with Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick and Pinnacle Video Transfer

Fans Can Watch Events Live on their PC, Record Them for Viewing Later or Transfer Them Directly from their TV to a Portable Video Device

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., August 1, 2008 – Pinnacle Systems, Inc., the consumer division of Avid Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVID), announced today two easy solutions that will enable consumers to enjoy watching the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games anytime, anywhere—in spite of the global time differences. With Pinnacle PCTV™ HD Pro Stick and Pinnacle™ Video Transfer, they won’t miss events like the opening ceremony, which begins in Beijing at 8:00 P.M. on Friday, August 8 when it is Friday, August 8 at 5:00 A.M in San Francisco. (more…)

Daily Blog – Sumit Chawla – August 1, 2008: Netflix: Watch Instantly

Friday, August 1st, 2008

 My HTPC is built and in use.  A few weeks ago while browsing my queue at Netflix, I noticed a few selections which had a “Play” icon next to them.  My wife and I found a selection to our liking and a few seconds later the movie started to play.  The movie played through its entirety without any glitches, this too over a wireless network.  The picture was a little soft, but then again I did not have the DVD of the movie we watched to compare against, so it could have just been the master.  Regardless, the instant gratification component was very satisfying.

The library is somewhat limited, but it has been expanding.  Movies in the “Watch Instantly” catalog can be viewed in addition to the rental discs you may have at home.  Unlike the rental contract which imposes a restriction on the number of rental discs outstanding at any given time, there appears to be no such limit here.  There is no HD content, and even if such content were present, some amount of buffering would be needed before the movie would start to play.  Netflix is now also offering a dedicated box made by Roku for people who do not have an HTPC setup.  Internet connectivity is, of course, still required.

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