Extras: 4/5 As a serial killer terrifies the San Francisco Bay Area and taunts police with his ciphers and letters, investigators in four jurisdictions search for the murderer. The case will become an obsession for four men as their lives and careers are built and destroyed by the endless trail of clues.
Extras: 3.5/5 When a secret government agency lets out a deadly chemo virus causing the reanimation of the dead, the first place to get hit is Rhino's, a hot underground strip club. As one of the strippers gets the virus, she turns into a supernatural, flesh-eating zombie stripper, making her the hit of the club. Do the rest of the girls fight the temptation to be like the star stripper, even if there is no turning back?
Mitsubishi showed off their new Diamond line 1080p front projector at the show. The HC7000 uses three tweaked in D6 LCD panels and delivers a 72,000:1 contrast ratio with their dynamic iris system along with 1000 lumens. It also runs at a silent 17db.
B&K delivers their new Ref 70 surround sound processor equipped with 6 HDMI inputs and 1 output. The processor does not boast inboard audio processing of the new HD Audio formats but the rep claims an update will be made available for free to owners in the near future.
Price: $7,999 Highlights: Excellent HD video processing • Impressive calibration options and color management • Middling dynamic-iris implementation • Inconvenient onscreen menus for calibration.
BenQ’s New Flagship Arrives
I had the chance to review and live with BenQ’s spectacular 1080p DLP projector, the W10000. I became a big fan of that design. It was sharp, provided excellent contrast, and the design was quiet and simple to use. I still consider it to be one of the most underrated 1080p values on the market today. I was excited when I saw that BenQ was quietly showing its follow-up, the W20000, at the 2007 CEDIA Expo. BenQ said it would include some significant improvements, such as a new menu system, a dynamic iris, and a video processor from Silicon Optix. The W20000 has now arrived.
2D Performance 3D Performance Features Ergonomics Value
Price: $2,999 At A Glance: Sets the bar for 3D playback and performance • Extremely bright • Weak contrast performance and black levels • Bright, vivid image
It seems like only yesterday that DLP was the belle of the ball for front projector technologies. Oh, how things have changed these last few years. Now we see a polarized market made up of budget entry-level offerings or cost-no-object three-chip designs with little in the way of middle ground. I don’t know how much this has to do with Texas Instruments almost abandoning development of consumer-based chips (we haven’t seen any developments in DMD design for quite some time) or consumers’ leaning toward the higher contrast numbers of LCOS and SXRD designs. Or maybe it’s the price/performance that LCD has brought to the table. One thing is for sure, though: DLP is still a very capable technology that, when properly implemented, can throw a mesmerizing image. And now with 3D being a key feature in the market, maybe it’s time DLP’s popularity got a significant boost.
Toshiba is still giving the Blu-ray camp the proverbial finger and instead has focused their efforts on making your existing DVDs everything they thought they could never be. Their new XED DVD players squeeze every ounce of picture data from your DVD library and apparently increase the fine detail and colors to HD quality.
Price: $1,299 At A Glance: Reference audio and video • HDMI and digital audio inputs • Built-in 192 kHz audio upsampling
They say that imitation is the ultimate form of flattery; I say if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. In the last few years, we’ve seen a few high-end Blu-ray players use the popular Oppo Digtal Blu-ray player as the core of their design, with at least one manufacturer having even taken it as far as dropping a complete Oppo BDP-83SE chassis into a different cabinet with a new faceplate and charging $3,000 more for it (only to be exposed later).
With the Azur 752BD, Cambridge Audio utilizes only the core video components and transport, which adds its own analog audio section and execution.
Make off like a bandit with a masked home theater.
I ’m always on the lookout for new and innovative improvements to make to my home theater. One of the best I’ve seen to date is from screen manufacturer Carada, which directly sells its products online and over the phone. The company’s Masquerade screen-masking system features motorized panels that eliminate those obnoxious black bars that appear when you watch a “scope” movie on a 16:9 screen. The system accommodates any projected aspect ratio between 1.78:1 and 2.70:1. It also provides a big increase in perceived contrast and depth. Additionally, Carada’s innovative, motorized system costs less than most motorized masking systems on the market. Since you can mount it over your existing fixed-screen frame, you won’t need to invest in a new frame or screen.
Carada was showcasing their new Masquerade systems at their booth including their new solution for constant image height screens. We just reviewed their horizontal Masquerade masking system in this months issue and loved it. The Masquerade system simply installs right over your existing fixed frame eliminating the need for a new screen.