A home-theater-in-a-box means different things to different people. For some, it's the total DVD experience for dummies (or the slothful), in terms of both purchasing simplicity and ease of use. For others, it's a real bargain, compared with the cost of individual components plus the many necessary odds and ends. For Cambridge SoundWorks, it's about the speakers.
One speaker, a subwoofer, a source component . . . and you.
Virtual surround is nothing new: Some people don't have the space, the know-how, or perhaps the ideal room layout for a pair of surround speakers for true 5.1-channel audio. Wireless surrounds are an option for some. But even those need a place to live, and they still require power cables. All manner of technologies have addressed the virtual-surround challenge, but not until I tried the two-piece Binaura Sound Environment B102A (in our November 2005 issue) did I believe that such simplified gear could produce truly respectable audio. Cambridge SoundWorks of Newton, Massachusetts, is the first third-party manufacturer to license Binaura's patented technology for their own products. They have integrated it into a complete home theater system—three boxes instead of two—with the addition of a progressive-scan DVD player/receiver. Said receiver provides Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS decoding, and this signal then goes to the subwoofer, where all of the amplification and Binaura processing take place.
Ah, the splendor of the high-end table radio. SoundWorks i765 is a fab-sounding 2.1-channel system with built-in DVD/CD player plus a radio with improved AM and FM tuners over all previous models. It also now docks, charges, and provides video pass-through for all of the latest iPods, which allegedly is a very complicated affair.
After we've fed our intellectual side with a profound music documentary and a first-class dramatization of the 2008 financial crisis, we can kick back with the R-rated exploits of a gun-toting hooker on the run.
Hello, and welcome to my first Blu-ray blog for HomeTheater.com wherein we take a look at a few interesting discs that you might have missed among the weekly cascade of blockbusters and otherwise more heavily advertised releases. In this installment, we check out HBO's Cinema Verite, Anchor Bay's Corman's World, and BBC's Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Last fall, the editors of Home Theater beat a path to our industry's CEDIA Expo to see and be seen, as we do every year. This time around, we were surprised by the opportunity to witness the bona fide evolution of entertainment gear. We learned the names of three manufacturers (and so will you) whose creations—each multizone-friendly and high-end in its own fashion—bring next-generation features to the home theater and beyond. At press time, these products were still too new for a full hands-on review, so we'll share what we do know thus far.
The Consumer Electronics Show is sort of the Super Bowl of our industry, as manufacturers of just about everything that accepts AC, DC, or batteries descend upon Las Vegas each winter to parade what's new and what's coming soon. Given the presence of all the wonderful new products that blur the lines between consumer electronics and computers at this year's show, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me as convergence editor. Here's a quick look at some of the most interesting arrivals.
With an elegance too-rarely found in the portable MP3 realm, the Creative MuVo Slim ($200) packs 256 megabytes of digital music into a unit barely larger than a credit card and weighing just over an ounce, unobtrusive even in a shirt pocket. There's a built-in FM tuner that can even record music off-air (also a voice recorder with built-in microphone) and a five-band custom equalizer in addition to Jazz, Rock, Pop and Classical presets. MuVo Slim is a mass storage device so it does not require drivers, just the familiar drag-and-drop between PC and player with a USB 1.1/2.0 connection that also recharges the removable, replaceable lithium ion battery, good for well over ten hours.