If you’re reasonably handy and not afraid to cut into drywall in your home, installing in-wall speakers can be a fairly simple affair. You’ll need to assemble the basic tools, including a drywall saw, a stud finder, an electrical snake or fiberglass push rods to run the wires, a tape measure, a drill with a long bit wide enough to pass your speaker wire, and a screwdriver, most typically a No. 2 Phillips.
Two thousand bucks buys a lot of technology these days. Yamaha's RX-V3000 is a good example: with seven channels of amplification, auto-detect surround sound decoding, and a learning touchscreen, it's hard to beat.
Any custom installer will tell you that placement limitations are among the primary obstacles in turning residential rooms into home theaters. This may no longer be so problematic thanks to a new video scaler from Silicon Optix Inc.
Not too long ago you couldn't find progressive video output on any DVD player for less than $2000. Ditto for 96kHz or 192kHz digital sampling rates in the audio section. Now you can have both for substantially less than a grand.
This might be my favorite tent in the annual Home Theater circus. The Home Theater Top Picks of the Year are the very best components we’ve reviewed over the past year in all the major categories. We also call out an overall Product of the Year and a Budget Pick of the Year. This year we see a terrific mix of emerging new technologies—3D and next-gen media servers are both represented—and stalwart audio brands that deliver high-end sound year in and year out amid the constant churn of technology.
It’s always a blast around here to take a look back and see which of the hundred or so components we’ve reviewed in the last year really rose to the top. Of course, the best of these end up on our Top Picks list, but like watching a good movie whose message or performances resonate in the days and months that follow, there are always a few pieces of gear that prove themselves to be just a little more special over time.
Well, here we go again—time for another round of the best of last year’s best. As you’ll see (and forgive the old cliché), it was a year that was more evolutionary than revolutionary, but we were delighted to see the cost of excellent HDTVs and projectors continue to come down while the quality of some emerging categories, like soundbars, started to come up.