Recently, I was doing some online research for my review of the new, Extended Edition The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray boxed set, which will appear in the October 2011 issue of Home Theater magazine. A search for director Peter Jackson produced a pile of information. Jackson today doesn't look as much like a slightly oversized Hobbit as he did when the show was in production (Jenny Craig got to him, or something). His earliest cinematic fascination was with gross-out horroran interest clearly reflected in the designs for the Orcs and other nasties in Rings. There's a particularly disgusting added sequence near the end of the Extended Edition of The Return of the King that clearly shows this fixation is far from conquered. If "The Mouth of Sauron" is any indication, Sauron and his minions need a much better dental plan.
We may be gear heads here at UAV, but the not-so-secret secret about the consumer electronics business is that it's about music and movies. In other words, it's Show Biz. Without that connection, our equipment racks would be filled with expensive boat anchors.
Joel Brinkley's recent comments on black level issues with the new digital video displays was right on the mark for flat panel displays, but things are looking up, at least a little, with front and rear projection sets. I'm currently working on reviews of two new models, the front projection Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector and the Hewlett-Packard md5880n DLP. Both of these are 1080p displays—though only the HP will accept 1080p through its HDMI inputs.
In my previous blog, "In the Black," I stated that the new Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD projector would not accept 1080p directly. That was the impression I obtained at its press introduction at last September's CEDIA. But I subsequently learned, in completing Part I of my review of that projector, which will be posted on this site tomorrow (Sunday, December 18, 2005), that it will indeed accept 1080p/60 at its HDMI and DVI inputs.
This single seater in the Pioneer booth is for those who can't fit a Mini in the garage. I'm not sure how it fits into consumer electronics. Perhaps it's the audiophile special—you can drive and still always be in the sweet spot.
The gear has been packed back up and the rooms cleared. The demo material has been tossed into suitcases, destined to end up in an obscure corner of each exhibitor's factory, the place where overplayed and now unloved recordings go to die. And copious notes have been made on what worked and what needs to be improved.
I saw King Kong —twice— theatrically, in the "standard" auditoriums of the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood (not the Cinerama Dome where it was also playing, for reasons I described in an earlier blog, "King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries," below). It was, without question, the best theatrical film presentation I've seen in years. I wrote about the DVD in our most recent e-Newsletter, which will show up in your mailbox in a few days. (You do subscribe don't you? It's free, just go http://www.ultimateavmag.com/newsletter_subscribe/?Your%20E-mail ">hereto sign up.)
Going ape over that last minute gift for the home theater enthusiast? Or looking to drop a hint on a gift for yourself? Check out Universal's recent release, King Kong: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries. Boxed in a faux-antique file briefcase that someone was paid entirely too much money to design and that you'll probably ditch anyway because it won't fit on your bookshelf, this set contains a production memoir, four limited edition prints (my signed Certificate of Authenticity is number 32,786!), and, most important, two DVDs filled with behind the scenes production material on the making of the film.
During a gala event last night at Ken Cranes Home Entertainment on the tony west side of Los Angeles, LG Electronics hosted the launch of its long-awaited 71-inch plasma display, the MW-71PY10. As the press handout states, it's the first plasma you can speak of in feet, not inches (they should have made it an even six feet—what's an itty bitty inch among friends).
The weekend before last, I drove to Newport Beach, CA, for the second iteration of The Home Entertainment (T.H.E. Show), Newport Beach, or THESNB. (Just kidding on the latter, though the full name is a bit cumbersome.) Last year's installment was fun but a little thin on exhibitors. This year, the show was so much bigger that it had to spread out from the main venue of the Hilton Hotel to the Atrium Hotel next door. If I had known it was going to be so big, I would have arranged to spend two days there instead of simply making it a day trip.
The video world woke up last Friday to the news reports that Pioneer Electronics, long a leader in consumer video display technology, was getting out of the video display business. At first, the reports did not come from Pioneer itself, but rather from news agencies (first in Japan, later overseas) that put two and two together and concluded that they really did equal four.
It all starts with the mother glass. That's the foundation for building an LCD panel. Everything else—the individual red, green, and blue elements of each pixel and the interconnects necessary to drive them—are grown on it.
Last time I mentioned a letter from a reader asking me to recommend great movie theaters he should check out on a visit to Los Angeles. I also suggested that out-of-towners visiting The Big Orange for our upcoming Home Entertainment 2006 show on June 2-4 (you are coming, right?) might want to include a visit to one or more of the best theaters in the world in their plans—particularly if they're from a theater-challenged part of the country. There are new multiplexes in LA suburbs, for example, that are likely better than any movie theater in the entire state of New Mexico (I know from experience, having lived in Santa Fe for 10 years and visited most of the theaters there and in nearby Albuquerque, the state's biggest city by far).
HDMI 1.0 was introduced to the market in 2002. As a means of carrying both digital audio and video between the source and the display, it offered several advantages over competing technologies, the most prominent being IEEE 1393, commonly known as FireWire. HDMI carried both audio and video, and also offered alluring security advantages that appealed, in particular, to Hollywood.