It was way back in the June 2005 issue that I built an HTPC from scratch—I mean really from scratch, as in out of wood. For those of you who may have missed it, you can find it at www.hometheatermag.com under the GearWorks section. It was a great experiment, and it basically worked. I haven't felt any effects of the RF radiation of 3.6 gigahertz (there was no shielding), and the minimal amount of innards-securing hasn't been an issue. (At 54 pounds, it does not get moved much.)
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.
Two (And A Half) Basic Flavors
I'd love to regale you all with stories of the CRT front projectors of yesteryear. These beasts were bigger than a VW, but cost a lot more. But that's not why I'm here. Thanks to the digital revolution, high quality front projection is now as affordable as premium rear projection TV in many cases, and less expensive than many premium flat screens.
Big screen TVs ain't what they used to be- and that's a good thing. The CRT rear projection TVs of yesteryear were big. They still aren't flat screens, but digital technologies have shrunk RPTVs from front to back and dropped their weight in half. In addition, while CRT RPTVs die an irrevocable slow death from day one, digital RPTVs are lamp-based. When the lamp burns out, you buy a new one for a few hundred bucks and your TV is as good as new.
I have long been a complainer about motion blur with LCDs. It drives me crazy. I have gotten a lot of flack over the years for this, which I really couldn't care less about. (You don't see me making fun of your issues, do you?) I would just like to point this out: Why, if I weren't the only one who hated motion blur with LCDs, would nearly every LCD manufacturer come to market with 120-hertz LCD panels that claim to eliminate motion blur (a problem that they, surprisingly, haven't mentioned before)? Before I rub it in and say, "I told you so," let's look at what causes motion blur, why it may or may not be a big deal, and how a 120-Hz refresh rate can help solve the problem for LCDs.
In our November 2006 issue, I wrote an article in this space on the difference between 1080p and 1080i. In the same issue, we reported on how many TVs don't deinterlace 1080i correctly, and how even fewer pick up the 3:2 sequence when given a 1080i signal from a film-based source. The resulting confusion caused a torrent of e-mails. Let me clear up what this all means for you. But, before I go on, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I feel that every TV should deinterlace and pick up 3:2 properly; but, while it is a shame if they don't, it is not the end of the world.
Several new technologies are poised to break the ties that bind.
Imagine being able to place that brand-new flat-panel HDTV anywhere in your living room without having to figure out how to hide the video cable that tethers it to your A/V receiver, DVD player, or set-top box. You won't have to imagine it much longer as wireless HD transmission moves from the drawing board to the retail shelves. As always seems to be the case in this industry, we'll go from having virtually no options to having multiple technologies competing for the attention of manufacturers and consumers alike.
Essential Audio Features Basic Surround Decoding
Today's AVRs feature a ton of surround decoding features from Dolby and DTS, from basic 5.1-channel surround decoding to several ways of decoding stereo into 5.1-channel surround, or beyond.
You're a newbie to this audio game, and are just putting together your first home theater. Or perhaps you're making your first major upgrade. You're pouring over the spec sheets, looking for the best AV receiver for the cheapest price.
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.
They're both sexy slim, and can hang on the wall. But in spite of the similar physical profiles these two technologies are very different, and each has its strengths and weaknesses and they're not necessarily the ones the sales guy at the Big Box Store will tell you about.
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.
There's a whole lot of stuff that makes up a digital TV signal. Here's a primer on how it works.
In the beginning, there was analog television. You aimed the antenna, tuned in the channel, and then sat back to watch as the amplitude-modulated pictures flashed on the TV screen and the frequency-modulated audio blared forth from the speakers. Some time later, analog TV added color by shoehorning in a small signal with the necessary information amongst those amplitude- and frequency-modulated pictures and sounds.
If you scoured all of the details on the recent HDMI 1.3 release (and who didn't?), you may have noticed the inclusion of xvYCC and Deep Color. These are two different things that together will theoretically make displays' color more realistic. The short version is this: Deep Color increases the available bit depth for each color component, while xvYCC expands the overall color gamut. Sure they do, but why?