Tomorrow I'm off to our 2006 Home Entertainment Show at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport—LAX to the locals. We'll be blogging on line from the show, including gobs of photos and comments about all the new products we see. Check it out, starting tomorrow evening, Thursday, June 1.
Avoid a Blue Tuesday by capping off your holiday weekend plans with the end of the world! Whether we will become extinct as a species from within or without is the subject of two movies on DVD, one an environmental-disaster flick of dubious distinction, the other a classic loosely based on the Victorian novel that in turn has inspired a current remake. Thomas J. Norton and Fred Manteghian report on 2004's The Day After Tomorrow: All Access Collector's Edition and 1953's The War of the Worlds.
The final installments of my Blu-ray players saga are coming soon to a computer monitor near you. They will cover the analog outputs of the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition and the Pioneer BDP-320. Also coming is a listen to all of the players from their digital outputs.
Quality home theater demos were thin on the ground anywhere at CES, but particularly rare in the Venetian hotel. This is the venue for high performance audio, which for far too many audiophiles does not leave room for either multichannel music or any combination of audio and video. But the Wolf Cinema room was an exception, combining the $25,000 Wolf DCL-200FD LED-lit DLP projector with an ISCO anamorphic lens ($10,000) on a 120" wide, 2.35:1 screen. The latter was said to be a 1.4-gain Screen Innovations design, but I need to check up on that, as the only 1.4-gain screen listed in SI's brochure is the dark gray, Black Diamond HD. The speakers were from the Sonus Faber Toy series, together with three T-1 REL subwoofers. The result was exceptional video and audio, even if the former cost several times the latter. The pre-pro was a Primare, no longer distributed in the US by Sumiko (Sumiko distributes Wolf projectors).
Last week, Home Theater editor Shane Buettner, UAV editor Scott Wilkinson, and I visited the Hollywood facilities of The Best Practices Laboratory. BPL is an independent technology laboratory located at the historic Raleigh Studios. Established under a different name in 1915 (it became Raleigh in 1980), Raleigh today is primarily dedicated to the production of independent films, commercials, and TV shows. (When we were there they were filming The Closer, Private Practice, and Castle.)
Last week the History HD channel broadcast the multi-part documentary World War II in HD. Most of the footage was in color, dredged in an exhaustive two-year search from private collections or the back shelves of dusty museum storerooms. (Rumors to the contrary, it was not found in an Area 51 warehouse next to a crate with an ark in it.)
Zeus, king of the gods, enlists the help of his half-human son Perseus in defeating Perseus’ brother Ares, who has allied with Hades in an effort to release Kronos, the leader of the Titans and the father of Zeus and the other gods. But Perseus just wants to be left alone to live as a human with his son.