Further dashing the hopes of all those who long for a return to the days when a really big big-screen TV occupied more space in your living room than a pair of side-by-side refrigerators (and just about as stylish), Sharp recently unveiled a prototype 65-inch diagonal LCD HDTV - giving them, for the moment, possession of the official "World's Largest LCD Color TV" plaque. Prior to Sharp's announcement, the people who get paid to pontificate on such things ("panel pundits") had proclaimed a probable production-size limitation in the mid-forty inches for LCD TV diagonals. (Stunned by seeing proof that such a large screen size was possible, many of these panel pundits quickly switched to politics or weather forecasting, neither of which require much accuracy or accountability.)
While we can't vouch for the scientific nature of a recent survey conducted by Quixel Research at Best Buy stores in three different USA locations, the results do fill our hearts with gladness that the average consumer-type person (or at least the average Best Buy visitor) can tell quality when he or she sees it. At least that's how we interpret the results. Sponsored by "several major CE and component manufacturers", Quixel's survey team had "TV purchase intenders" compare Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, front projectors, and MicroDisplay rear-pro sets side-by-side. After careful evaluation in the retail store environment, the consumers then told the Quixel Research scribes what they wanted in a new TV and how much they were willing to pay for it. Quixel claims that the study "is the first of its kind to compare all the products side by side in a retail environment across the USA."
We have heard the soundtrack of the High Definition future on DVD, and it's compatible with the jillion1 or so digital surround sound receivers currently delighting home theater owners around the globe - or so says Dolby Laboratories and DTS. In separate recent announcements, each company proudly touted the fact that their audio technologies have been selected as a mandatory part of both the High-Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD DVD) and the Blu-ray Disc high-definition video disc formats. The two rival disc formats are locked in a good-versus-evil, battle-to-the-death struggle to convince studios, manufacturers, consumers, and anyone else who will listen that their format makes the most sense (and cents) for the future of packaged optical media. Although most people immediately think video when they hear about High Definition on disc, the announcement of mandatory audio standards is an excellent reminder to all concerned that audio quality is just as important as video clarity.
Wireless audio/video senders are nothing new, but until now such accessory devices were limited to the composite video outputs of your DVD player, cable box, VCR, or discretely positioned X10 camera. Belkin Corporation's new PureAV RemoteTV not only lets you send analog audio and video from composite or S-video sources wirelessly, Belkin claims it's the first to incorporate component-video connectivity.
It used to be that truly high-quality video, the pristine jaw-dropping images previously available only to the "Golden Eyes" of Hollywood post production and broadcast facilities (and anyone else with a spare $60,000 to spend), was simply beyond the bounds of the typical home theater. But Silicon Optix intends on changing all that with the introduction of their new Realta with HQV single-chip video processor.
Seeing as how we tend to focus on "home" theater gear - hence the name "Home Theater Magazine" - it's not likely that you've ever heard us mention a twenty-some-year-old company called JL Audio. Although JL Audio has certainly a bigwig of boom for quite a while, they've existed pretty much under our radar because their main focus has been on car audio. (Unfortunately, the powers that be who write our checks won't let us cover events such as the Funkmaster Flex 2004 Celebrity Car Tour of which JL Audio is an official sponsor.) But all that is about to change.
Is it the seductively cool blueness of the analog-style wattmeters on the amplifiers or the allure of the full-front impervious-to-wear glass panels? Maybe it's the classic, great sound quality. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for gear from American-born-and-bred McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. So it's no surprise that the unveiling of a trio of new home theater components from the Binghamton, NY-based company would cause the drool to start forming at the edges of my mouth.
If you're old enough to remember the extremely popular (and still produced!) Klipsch Heresy speaker, you'll probably be a bit surprised by the look and feel of some of the latest Klipsch loudspeaker introductions. On the other hand, if you're young enough that the first thing you think of when you hear the name "Klipsch" is one of their svelte ProMedia personal audio systems, then you'll probably just say, "Cool!" Either way, you can't fault the venerable 58-year-old company for focusing its engineering efforts on keeping up with the times.
Denon calls it their "flagship" receiver; but if you want to fully carry out the nautical metaphor, you'd have to refer to the new Denon AVR-5805 as the biggest, baddest, boldest combination battleship/aircraft carrier/submarine/destroyer/frigate/(throw in some secret stealth technology reference here) ever to have floated on the home theater seven seas. Denon claims it's "the world's first A/V receiver with 10 built-in amplifiers and 16-channel output...[and] unprecedented multi-source and zone capabilities with perhaps the most comprehensive analog and digital audio/video switching configurations ever offered."