Soon after DVD hit it big--let's say right around the turn of the century--the concept of the home-theater-in-a-box ("HTIB," in the parlance of our times) was born. Manufacturers bundled up a 5.1 audio system with a DVD player and an amplifier--sometimes in one integrated unit--and sold the whole thing for a song, leaving the buyer to "just add TV." Not surprisingly, HTIBs soon became ultra-commoditized, with name brand units selling for under $300, and no-name budget rigs sitting on supermarket endcaps for half as much. But there's always a new high-end:… Read more
Pity the audiophile. Home audio was once the centerpiece of the consumer electronics experience, but it's been completely subsumed in recent years, with HDTV squeezing in on one side and the ubiquitous iPod on the other. Even what's left is generally referred to as "home theater," stressing that video is just as important--if not more so--than the audio experience. If they even want surround sound--most seem perfectly happy with their tinny TV speakers--the majority of consumers will opt for a cheap home-theater-in-a-box, grumbling at the $300 price tag even as they gladly shell out five times … Read more
Don't be surprised if the home video headlines at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show look like reruns of the past four or five years. The big themes will continue to be the Blu-ray/HD DVD format war, network video delivery, and the slow but steady transition from analog to digital broadcasting.
We expect that the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray will be front and center once again. Blu-ray players are already selling for less than $300, so we're betting we'll see players announced that go even lower. Meanwhile, we wouldn't be completely surprised … Read more
First things first--center channel speakers do one thing really well--they anchor dialog to the screen for listeners sitting over to the left or right sides of home theaters. So if your family or friends watch movies together, I'd definitely recommend using a center channel speaker.
But for one or two people sitting directly in front of their TV a center isn't necessary, and almost always sounds less good than the left and right speakers. Center speakers tend to sound boxy, so Denzel Washington sounds like he's in a box. Ditch the center and your A/V receiver … Read more
Of all the home theater creations we've seen this year, Star Trek has got to be the most popular theme, hands-down. But this latest version makes others look like a junk sale on the back lot of Universal Studios.
This obviously custom theater built for a home in Palm Beach County, Fla., measures 70 by 22 feet and includes such details as "motion-activated air-lock doors with series sound effects" and a "red alert button on the Crestron TPMC-10 controller to turn all of the LEDs bright red and flashing," according to Electronic House. Each seat … Read more
So you've got all that wonderful home cinema gear installed in your house, everything is looking rosy, but then you make a horrifying discovery. You installed the screen too far away from the HD DVD player and moving it would mess up your whole setup. Enter the HXC5, a box that can send HDMI-compliant video over Cat 5 cable.
The HXC5 claims to be able to send 1080p video signals up to 50 meters--which is about 30 meters further than a regular HDMI cable--over either Cat 5/5E or even swanky-shiny-newish Cat 6. Tributaries claims it does this with &… Read more
When it comes to aesthetics, you can trust the Koreans to go over the edge with fancy designs. It started off with the Samsung Bordeaux-series LCD TVs with their wine glass-inspired flat panels, and now we have LG following suit. As part of its Design Art home theater systems, the electronics giant is launching two models featuring speakers modeled after a champagne flute. Each of these sleek tall-boy speakers is dressed in stylish piano black and has a two-way design with dedicated tweeter and woofer for better sound reproduction.
Though we believe LG could have done a little better than … Read more
Granted, home theater and multichannel sound go together like peanut butter and jelly, but music, even now in the twenty first century is pretty much a stereo-only affair. Ergo, if you listen to more music than watch movies, ditch the hassles of the 5.1 channel, satellite/subwoofer model and get yourself a decent stereo receiver and a pair of really nice speakers.
Outlaw Audio's RR 2150 "Retro Receiver" sounds spectacular with music and better yet, it's a refreshingly simple to use alternative to all of the stupidly complicated seven-channel A/V receivers I've used.… Read more
A story for your grandchildren: In ancient times, there were these things called armoires--once used for clothing, they evolved into big and bulky cabinets where people hid their big and bulky TVs. But now that plasma, LCD and even OLED sets (the ultimate anorexic model) have completed the television set's swan-like transition, it's understandable if their proud owners no longer want to keep their TVs under wraps.
For these unabashed exhibitionists there's a new Sharp home theater system, a self-contained credenza with built-in speakers, subwoofers and amplifier outfitted with Dolby technology throughout, according to Tech Digest. Sound … Read more