It’s more than a little ironic that Tim Burton’s best film as a director, from top to bottom, is about one of the most notorious bad filmmakers who ever lived. Actually, Edward D. Wood Jr. (Johnny Depp) is known for two things: spectacularly bad sci-fi/horror movies that are ridiculously fun to watch, and being a cross-dresser before it was cool. Both traits are given full attention in Burton’s 1994 love letter to offbeat movies and their makers, Ed Wood.
I was strolling through Costco the other day, looking to buy 55 gallons of something I don't need but can't resist at the price, when I saw this flier attached to all the store's HDTVs (forgive on the photo quality- I was shopping and had to use my iPhone's camera).
The most recent projector I reviewed here at UAV was a real standout, Epson's Powerlite Pro Cinema 1080p. This projector is among the more marvelous packages of peformance and price I've seen. Especially susprising was that the color fidelity was so pristine and on this LCD projector, along with a relaxed and naturally detailed image with real depth. The only thing that held this proejctor back was slightly dim light output and softer image. The Pro Cinema 1080p UB is here to settle both scores.
The Pearl SXRD projector was not Sony’s only significant product introduction yesterday. Also shown to reporters and reviewers for the first time was the STR-DA5200ES AV receiver. This product shows that when Sony is big on something it shows up in all its products. That something here is 1080p.
In spring of 1999, while the masses were jacking into The Matrix, braver souls were leaping into the alternate gaming universe of David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ. Ostensibly, über game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is on a promotional tour with her newest game and game pod, which is an electrical organism that creates its virtual reality by plugging directly into the gamer’s nervous system via spinal cord bioport. She and her marketing man, Ted Pikul (Jude Law), come under attack and flee from realists who object to extreme gaming’s impact on humanity and its reliance on endangered mutant amphibians for gaming pods (!).
My recent post on extended surround surprised me with the response it drew, both quantitatively and qualitatively. I think what surprised me the most was how many of you have already moved beyond 5.1. Myself and most of the writers for the magazine are still using 5.1 as a base system, and occasionally jury-rigging extended surround on an as-needed basis for testing. I can’t answer for all of them, but I did want to pass along more of my own thoughts and experiences on the subject and why I’m still using 5.1 and not at all likely to change that anytime soon.
Years ago, I experimented extensively with both 6.1- and 7.1-channel surround sound, both with a single surround back channel and with two surround back channels. I was then in a dual-purpose living room space, and the 6.1 with the single surround back channel was most effective, but not enough to totally sell me on the concept. My last two rooms have been dedicated media spaces, and each has been in the neighborhood of 25x16, with a first a 10’ ceiling and now just under 9’. The first house was new construction with a ground-up media room build. It was a big room, and I pre-wired the back wall for 7.1 as a precaution. It turned out I never felt I needed it and when I moved to my current house, a retrofit job, I didn’t give any consideration to 7.1, let alone height and width expansion. Let me speculate on why.
Extended surround sound is nothing new. The staple surround sound configuration for movie theaters and home theaters is digitally delivered, discrete 5.1-channel surround sound. But in both arenas there have also been numerous pushes to move beyond that paradigm. In the DVD era we were given a number of options for expanding our surround sound experience toward the back of the room, from the base 5.1-channel paradigm to 6.1- and 7.1-channels. Although only select DVD titles were encoded with extended surround, within a few years virtually every AV receiver and surround processor in existence offered tool sets that would decode these soundtracks- or any 5.1-channel soundtrack- to 6.1- or 7.1-channels on playback. And just about any AVR you look at today will include seven channels of amplification.
Be Careful Buying A Flat Panel On The Internet
Flat panels, and especially plasmas, are big, relatively heavy and very fragile. Internet sites often offer the best price, but be sure you know who you're dealing with and what their return policies are should your TV be defective, or if you just plain don't like it. A flat panel is a big, expensive item to ship. A local retailer might charge more, but offer invaluable service should you not be happy with your purchase or have a defective unit.
Audio Plus’s John Bevier totally brown-bagged me. He grinned unabashedly and led me to a darkened demo room. To see what? To hear what? Soon, I was watching a 2.35:1 image on a really big screen. Universal’s Wanted on Blu-ray, an absolute guilty pleasure, roared into its dynamically brutal train crash sequence. The sound was spacious, articulate, and punchy. You figured it out before I did, but the cute little Dome system pictured above, with speakers the size of grapefruits, is where all that sound was coming from. Walking among Focal’s impressive (and sometimes imposing) line of speakers had been a setup from the start. The Dome costs $2,500 for a 5.1 channel system, and in addition to the splashy colors, they can be mounted on stands, on wall, or plopped onto a piece of furniture. They can be swiveled any which way for optimal sound. This is a design solution that rocks!
Fox and MGM joined the Blu-ray studios in ramping up its support for the HD format in a major way. It announced that its major release titles will be day and date with DVD from now on, including movies currently in theaters like Night at the Museum and Eragon when they're released to home video later this year.