Living Legacy Why is it that most A/V receivers still have 2-channel RCA inputs? Why doesn't a company make a receiver that has only HDMI, maybe with a few component-video and digital-audio ins and outs? Why the need to include legacy stuff?
HTIB Shopping I am currently interested in purchasing a 5.1 home-theater-in-a-box system, and I'm reasonably aware of the available products. However, I am unable to determine which is the appropriate system for me. I had short-listed the Harman Kardon HKTS8/AVR-135 bundle (~$630) and the Sony DAV-DZ870 (~$550). I was going through Home Theater's reviews of the best HTIBs, and Onkyo HT-SR800 seems to be pretty good, though I haven't checked it out yet. I am now confused. What would you recommend?
Unhappy U-verse I've had AT&T U-verse service since 12/08, and I have an issue with audio dropouts on HD channels. I have the set-top box connected to my A/V receiver via optical digital cable. On HD channels with 5.1 audio, I get sporadic dropouts every five minutes or so. I called AT&T and was told it's a firmware issue to be resolved later. I've seen many others mention this problem online.
Bypass Blues I read that if you let a Blu-ray player decode the new audio formats and send them to the receiver from the player's multichannel analog outputs, you bypass the receiver's crossover and equalization settings. Is this also the case when you use PCM over HDMI?
D is an Excellent Grade I'm thinking about purchasing Rotel's RSP-1570 pre/pro, and I notice that all the company's latest amplifiers (and the flagship RSX-1560 receiver) utilize Class D technology. Is this a move we're likely to see from other manufacturers given how well the energy-efficiency story plays in our increasingly green world? Does the technology sacrifice any performance?
No TV! I want to replace the aging rear-projection TV in my home theater, possibly with a Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD. I will be watching mostly Blu-rays with no broadcast viewing at all. Since most Blu-rays have some sort of letterboxing, will there be a problem with image retention or burn-in? If so, what 50-52 inch LCD do you recommend?
Cash Grab I have long heard and read that "high-end" HDMI cables are a cash grab and offer minimal if any benefit when compared with bargain brands. Are there real gains in "high-end" HDMI cables? If so, which companies would you suggest looking into?
Generous Offer? I currently have a B&K AVR507 S2 receiver. It is a great receiver, but it does not have HDMI, DTS-HD, or Dolby TrueHD. When I purchased this receiver, I was told I could upgrade when possible. Now, B&K says this is not possible and is willing to give me a $1000 credit toward a new B&K. What can I do to get these features or do I have to buy a new receiver?
Don't Hold Your Breath I was wondering if you could provide any info about streaming from a Media Center PC to an Xbox 360 acting as a Media Center Extender. I asked Xbox tech support if there are any plans to allow streaming from a Blu-ray drive on a PC to an Xbox 360. I could not get any kind of straight answer. Any info you could dig up would be greatly appreciated and possibly keep me from spending 400-500 bucks on a standalone player.
How Do I Know? Love my new Pioneer VSX-03TXH receiver. Love my new Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player. But how do I know if Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio is working? I have changed settings on both units and actually read the manuals of both units. Pioneer's website has a picture of the receiver with TrueHD lit up on its front panel, but I have yet to see it on my front panel. My units are connected together only with an HDMI cable. Also, as knowledgeable as I am about home-theater stuff, what is PCM?
What Black Dots? I enjoy your segments with Leo Laporte on The Tech Guy radio show and podcast, but I really must disagree with your comments on plasma versus LCD. I agree that plasma blacks are blacker and that colors are more vivid. But I just cannot stand the matrix of black dots on plasma screens. I also dislike the reflective screenthe distraction of reflections more than offsets any loss through a non-reflecting screen.
You Can't Get Better Than Perfect A reader of your column posed the question whether he should buy a Pioneer Kuro now that they have been greatly discounted. I want the best too, but this raises another question. Do the new Panasonic G10, V10, or Z1 plasma TVs surpass the Pioneers' picture performance, and at what price? The dilemma is thisif one waits too long and the Panasonics disappoint, the Pioneers may be sold out forever.
Blu-ray Shy I would like your thoughts on Toshiba's XDE DVD players. As one who is hesitant to adopt Blu-ray fully, I have had a PS3 from the beginning, just no standalone player. I'm thinking of replacing my worn out upconverting DVD player with an XDE model, although Toshiba is quick to point out that it does not output or produce native HD content. Seeing how fiber-optic Internet speeds of 100Mbps are within reach, should one really look at Blu-ray with all the trappings that come with it?