You want the big-screen experience. You want to be immersed in the image. Ten feet wide at least, maybe 12. You've chosen the projector—a home model that's been getting great reviews. Obviously, you need a screen.
Every once in a while, a new technology pops up that is so cool and so different that it has to create its own market. Sharp's sexy-sounding two-way viewing-angle LCD technology is just such a thing. It allows for diverse and unique uses that were previously not possible—or at least difficult.
With all the fuss about the great images on HDTVs, particularly from Blu-ray, it’s easy to forget that sound is half the experience—maybe even more. Blu-ray offers more than just great video. By making use of its generous data-storage capacity and new ways to encode audio, it offers an audio experience that’s a significant step beyond the digital movie sound formats we’ve lived with. In fact, it’s arguably equivalent to the sound the engineers and filmmakers heard during the mastering session.
Speakers are available in a bewildering variety of styles, sizes, and technologies. On the technical side, the vast majority are conventional box designs using one or more drivers—most commonly a single cone woofer for the bass and midrange, a single dome tweeter for the treble, and a crossover network to divide and route the appropriate frequencies to each. The speaker cabinet, or box, which can be either a sealed or ported design, is not merely a cosmetic touch; it is a key element in the design. Without a properly designed cabinet, even the best conventional woofer would simply flap in its own breeze and produce little or no bass.
No matter what type of display you're looking for, you're no doubt going to be comparing the specs and feature lists of each. Things like contrast ratio, lumens, 3:2 pull down, and others are a marketing departments favorite tools to make their product sound better than another. Take many of these with a grain of salt. Take others as an undersold but vital aspect of a product. To sort though them, here's what they all mean.
Shopping for an AVR you're going to be confronted with sheer tonnage of surround sound decoding options. You don't really have to pick and choose among them since they're all included, but we thought that you might want to know what you're buying in all those little logos that appear on your AVR's front panel, and also get a basic primer on surround sound in general.
Have you ever heard wine lovers obsess about the bottle? Of course not. True oenophiles care most about what's in the bottle. There, in a nutshell, you have what's most peculiar about the high-definition-DVD format race. All we hear about is the vessel. What about the contents?
Like most Home Theater readers, I’ve known SRS Labs primarily as the company that does virtual surround sound and other audio solutions for HDTVs and soundbars—features largely dismissed by serious enthusiasts as lightweight hocus-pocus. So it was with some skepticism that, back in March, I rolled into the firm’s Santa Ana, California, headquarters for a private demo of some new surround sound technology.
THX is setting a new standard for picture quality and making shopping for HDTVs easier.
When you think of THX, you think of great sound, right? Those three letters have been synonymous with cinema and home audio for more than two decades. So, when THX launched a new certification program for high-definition video products at last year's CEDIA and helped introduce several new THX-certified projectors from Runco and Vidikron, it raised a few eyebrows in the consumer electronics community.
Part two in our high-resolution-audio series introduces SACD and DSD. The CD is dead. Long live the super CD.
You must allow me a bit of hyperbole for the sake of a powerful opening statement (which, as I assume they say in journalism school, is important). The truth is, the CD is about as dead as the analog television, which means it's alive and kicking just as it has always been. Still, the writing is on the wall for both formats. While the CD can at least take consolation in the fact that it doesn't have government mandates guaranteeing its demise, the future of audio has most definitely arrived (as with television) in the form of high-resolution. Let's not forget multichannel, either. While the hard-core music lovers are salivating over the potential of high-resolution, most are well aware that popular acceptance in America usually requires the new and different to be as big and flashy as possible. On many systems, the multichannel format is undoubtedly going to represent a more-noticeable change in the way people listen to music.
Don't get me wrong—I love CRT displays. They still offer the best picture quality across the board, and I can't imagine having anything else for my computer monitor. That said, the technology isn't long for this world. Fewer and fewer companies are coming out with new models as consumers spend their money on big screens and flat panels. So, when contributor John Higgins mentioned that his TV had died, I knew what had to be done. I needed to give it a fiery send-off. I needed to destroy it.
When home theater enthusiasts talk about their audio systems, they usually concentrate on components such as the disc player, receiver (or preamp-processor and power amps), and speakers. But there's another component that deserves just as much attention: the cables that connect the other devices together. Without cables, those other components would be nothing more than expensive boat anchors.