Who says you have to sacrifice performance to create a small, affordable speaker system? Not Atlantic Technology. With the new $899–$999 System 920, they set out to prove that we can and should expect more than we're currently getting from most tiny sub/sat and HTIB speakers. I put their claim to the test for this Spotlight review by mating the speakers with Onkyo's brand-new $300 TX-SR503 A/V receiver. Add an inexpensive universal disc player to this combo, and you've got a complete home theater system for about $1,400.
Behind the scenes at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
Organized chaos. That's what I witness as I walk backstage and move through the adjoining corridors of the Staples Center. It's the day before the Grammy telecast, the final of three rehearsal days leading up to the big event. U2 has just finished their hour-and-a-half rehearsal, and breaking down their set has taken longer than planned. While one team maneuvers U2's massive equipment through the ramps backstage, another works feverishly to ready the stage for the next act. Still other crew members hurry to and fro with no apparent destination.
I don't know how many banjo players you can name, but I can come up with two: Bela Fleck and Roy Clark (and I had to cheat to get Roy Clark-before a trip to IMDB.com, it was "that guy from Hee-Haw"). Even if you've never heard of Bela Fleck, you've probably heard his music, as he's appeared on a ton of pop and jazz albums. He's won Grammys in the country, jazz, classical, and pop categories, but his roots are pure bluegrass.
A new crop of entry-level projectors makes big-screen 1080p more affordable than ever.
There’s been a lot of fuss over the rapid drop in price of big-screen flat panels, but that ain’t nothing compared with the free-falling MSRPs you’ll find over in the 1080p projection realm. Two years ago, the going rate for one of the first 1080p projectors was about $10,000. Last year, we saw a number of high-quality offerings around the $5,000 mark. This year, companies like Optoma, Sanyo, and Mitsubishi have released 1080p projectors priced under $4,000. These entry-level models feature a nice complement of advanced image-adjustment options and all of the desired video inputs: HDMI 1.3, PC, and component video. But the important question is, how does their performance measure up with pricier competition? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Remember the days when interlaced was a term used primarily by basket-weavers, and scaling was something the dentist did to your teeth when you didn't floss? Ah, those were good times. . . simpler times, when you didn't need a degree in electrical engineering to pick out a new television set. As we enter the era of large-screen 1080p displays, video processing—or the ability to convert all signal types, from 480i SDTV and DVD to 720p/1080i HDTV to 1080p high-def DVD, to a TV's native resolution—plays a more important role than ever before in overall performance. Even an average TV can make high-quality HD sources look good; the real test is how good a lesser-quality 480i signal looks when blown up on that big 1080p screen.
By mere coincidence (or perhaps not), I sat down to review this new hybrid SACD on the rare rainy day in Los Angeles (although not quite as rare this winter). The two were a perfect fit. The Jazz Kamerata has a comfortable warmth about it, inviting you to wrap yourself in it and settle in for a lazy afternoon.
Sony's press conference. Somewhere out there, Sir Howard Stringer is announcing the release of the XEL-1, an 11-inch-diagonal OLED TV that's just 3mm thick. The XEL-1 sports two HDMI inputs and a MemoryStick slot for photo viewing, and it's available now for the wee little asking price of $2,500.
Vizio also showed off two 1080p plasmas: the 50-inch VP504F, priced at $1699, and the 60-inch VP605F, priced at $2899. The 60-incher, shown here, will sport a nice titanium-finished bezel. The press release gives a June release date, but our gracious tour guide said July or August for the 60-inch model. We'll see which one is right.