The DTV transition took over a whole metro area for the first time this week. Folks in Wilmington, North Carolina are getting digital signals exclusively in a trial run for the overall U.S. DTV transition which is scheduled for February 17, 2009. That's when analog broadcasting will stop entirely, with analog signals surviving only in cable, satellite, and other non-antenna systems. Wilmington is just experiencing the future a few months early.
Polk Audio is staging a contest that will put F/X Wireless Surround speakers into the hands of happy surround buffs. You can enter every day between now and March 31, 2011. No purchase is required.
The F/X Wireless Surround looks more like a squat subwoofer than a surround speaker. This unorthodox product is designed to be placed behind the main seating area, providing surround effects without intruding into the room.
One of the most realistic World War II videogames ever created, Call of Duty: Finest Hour (Activision) presents an often frantic, unsettling true-to-life series of exploits on the frontlines at the peak of WWII. We are among half a dozen soldiers on Russian, British, and American campaigns that take us to Russia, North Africa, and Germany on both vehicle- and infantry-based missions. T-rated for its graphic imagery, the story unfolds movie-style with a musical score by The Incredibles’s Michael Giacchino; single player or up to 16 online. The PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions offer Dolby Pro-Logic II audio while GameCube and Xbox deliver progressive scan video, and Xbox alone packs Dolby Digital 5.1-channel sound.
If you've been steadfastly waiting for the perfect reason to buy a new HDTV set, here it is: NBC and HDNet announced last week they will broadcast selected events at the upcoming 2002 Olympic Winter Games from Salt Lake City in 1080i high definition video with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio.
Comcast Cable Communications announced last week that it will make high definition TV (HDTV) programming available to subscribers in its major markets by the end of 2002, beginning in the Washington Metro/Virginia region this summer.
Bang & Olufsen - the Danish maker of fabulous audio and video gear seen in movies, TV shows,and magazines but rarely seen in homes such as yours and mine - now has a multi-room wireless audio system. B&O says the new BeoLink Wireless 1 system offers "unrivalled performance and superior sound quality", and the audio can be distributed to as many as 21 rooms simultaneously with zero delay and no echoes (well, except for the ones you'll hear in acoustically dreadful rooms...)
Sometimes, as you wander the aisles and hallways of CES, a pattern or theme appears among the various demonstrations you see. In some cases, this is by design (if you were a real journalist and carefully planned out your day ahead of time). More often than not, however, it's from sheer dumb luck or an unavoidable preponderance of manufacturers chasing a particular, small segment of the market.
Normally the disclaimer* comes at the end, but why hide uncomfortable news? When it comes to home entertainment equipment and someone starts talking about a piece of gear being "wireless", they don't mean "wireless" - they mean "nearly wireless". Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about Panasonic's new rear-speaker wireless-ready home theater systems. Oh, by the way, "wireless-ready" means you'll need an optional piece of gear to make the system nearly wireless. (But don't let that put a barbed-wire fence around your lofty goal of having free-range wireless chickens. There ain't no totally wireless lunch from any company in this neck of the woods, pardner, but that don't mean you can't dream...)
Are 3D and wireless home video distribution both equally important to you? Then you'll be glad to hear that the Wireless Home Digital Interface will support all the 3D formats included in the HDMI 1.4a specifications. The updated spec will be released in the fourth quarter of this year.
Will 2013 be the year of high-quality wireless audio?
Jim Venable, president of the Wireless Speaker & Audio Association (WiSA), thinks so. The association was formed in 2011 to develop interoperability testing and compliance programs for wireless products with a focus on multichannel surround sound systems.
Last week, Home Theater editor Shane Buettner, UAV editor Scott Wilkinson, and I visited the Hollywood facilities of The Best Practices Laboratory. BPL is an independent technology laboratory located at the historic Raleigh Studios. Established under a different name in 1915 (it became Raleigh in 1980), Raleigh today is primarily dedicated to the production of independent films, commercials, and TV shows. (When we were there they were filming The Closer, Private Practice, and Castle.)
Women are embracing technology more than ever before, buying tablets, e-readers, smartphones, cameras, PCs, and other electronics for themselves and their families. And when it comes to the traditional audio/video categories, there’s no question that the gentler sex is an equal partner in major buying decisions. If she doesn’t like the big-screen TV hubby is drooling over, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.