It's a fact of life that not all people can fit speakers into their living rooms. This could be for size reasons or, shall we say, more personal reasons. This fact has not gone unnoticed in the speaker world, which has been struggling for years with a declining market for big traditional speakers. In-walls have been a choice, but even the best in-walls have to make compromises that often end up being audible. On-walls are a newer choice that manufacturers hope will take out some of the concessions inherent in in-wall mountings. More recently, several companies have begun offering "sound bars" that give you multiple channels of sound from one long speaker that you can mount under your plasma or LCD. Leon is one such company that custom builds all of their speakers. Before they can build you one, though, you have to choose a plasma.
The people at Microsoft are complete idiots. No, that’s not exactly true. They’re charlatans. They are purposely misleading the public. They recently announced a software upgrade will be available soon that will allow the Xbox 360 to output 1080p.
Yes, I know it’s stupid, sophomoric, and about two dumb guys doing some fancy driving in an old muscle car, but that’s what makes it great! OK, maybe “great” is too strong a word. It makes me laugh and has some of the best precision driving since Ronin. I wrote the DVD review for this movie a few months ago, and I really can’t think of anything else to say about it. Bo and Luke have to—I don’t know—save Uncle Jesse’s farm or something.
There’s something inherently fascinating about watching someone who is unquestionably the best at what they do. Bruce Lee was just incredible to watch, and, regardless of the quality of the films he was in, they are worth watching just to marvel at his greatness. Enter the Dragon, ostensibly about a martial-arts competition put on by one bad dude, is really just a showcase for one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.
It's rare that a product will get journalists from different publications all calling each other—and by rare I mean never. But that's what happened with Samsung's BD-P1000. There have been calls back and forth between different magazines, then different manufacturers. Even content providers have been keeping the phone lines busy for the past few weeks. At first, it was to see if everyone was seeing the same things, stemming from disbelief. Then, it was thoughts on what was going on. Next, it was trying to find answers. And it all started with this little DVD, er, Blu-ray player. (See my full review on page 126.)
With more than a little excitement, I hooked up the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player. Here it is, the first Blu-ray player to hit the world. I put it right on top of the Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD player, which I'm sure the Blu-ray people would love to hear, and the HD DVD people not so much. I ran the HDMI cable to the virtually reference-quality Yamaha DPX-1300 projector, put in my old standby The Fifth Element (of course), and sat back, ready to enjoy. The disc started up promptly (take that, Toshiba!), and, within seconds, there was Blu-ray. It only took a few seconds more before I uttered something along the lines of, "What the hell?"
Hitachi has a line of products in Japan called WOOO. You read that right. The WOOO line of DVD Recorders with hard drives is about a stylish product I’ve seen. It looks like a BMW M1. The shot here is the version with a Blu-ray drive. I doubt we’ll see either here.
As rumored, Toshiba/Canon showed off three 55-inch SED displays, proving without a doubt that they can make at least three SED panels. They looked as impressive as the oft-seen 37-inch, with a mix of pre-recorded (and motion filled) colorful images, and even a live action scene (with a camera on a person and puppet that was in sight of the audience). Here’s the bad news: They’re now saying the end of 2007, but with no definite pricing or quantity.
The most surprising demo at the show was a demo of a next generation Pioneer plasma that stole quite a bit of SED’s thunder. It had legitimate blacks (seemingly as good as SED). They’re claiming a 20,000:1 contrast ratio, and from the demo it sure looked like it could be close to that. I’d love to tell you more, but the entire presentation was in Japanese. I’ll put up some photos later of the Powerpoint, and you can try to translate them. At the earliest, it may be a model for next year. I’m sure we’ll hear more at CES.