When we first reviewed Anthem’s Statement D2 in the December 2006 issue, HDMI switching was just emerging. But it wasn’t as crucial as it is today, now that next-gen audio and video applications are firmly established. There’s a story to be told in how the Statement D2 increased its utility in the connectivity tumult of these last two years. And there’s another story in its ability to stand tall even now, as onboard decoding of the advanced audio formats is now emerging in AVRs and pre/pros. The Statement D2 has adapted to the evolving standards and features that HDMI carries. Now at $7,499, the Statement D2 offers an advanced auto-setup and room-calibration system that furthers its value. It’s worth a fresh look.
I admit I’m surprised by the controversy caused by removing the product review ratings. Most who’ve written want the ratings back and accuse HT of running scared from advertisers/manufacturers. I want to set the record straight, elaborate on the reasons we eliminated the ratings, and engage in some meaningful debate about them. I also want to note that while the ratings in their original format will never return, I’m not totally opposed to a revamped system if you readers still think it’s necessary. There are some features coming up that I think will make you miss the ratings less, and I’ll explain those below.
Last Friday Senior Editor Tom Norton and I were treated to an up close look at Panasonic's new DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Disc player at Panasonic's Hollywood Lab facility. And I'm thrilled to report, at long last, that there's a standalone player that can be recommended without any significant functional caveats.
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).
Sony’s gaming console still the Blu-ray player to beat.
[Update: The best just keeps getting better. Sony has announced at long last that a firmware update available April 15th will allow the mighty PS3 to decode lossless DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution, a lossy, higher bitrate version of its codec. This was the last technological hurdle for Sony's mighty gaming console. For those with HDMI switching and an AVR or pre-pro that can process multichannel PCM the PS3 is unequivocally the Blu-ray player to beat. It's not only the fastest and most reliable BD player, it's the cheapest and most advanced. Look to this space for an update to this review once I've had a chance to experience DTS-HD MA and BD-Live. -SCB]
In the quest for deeper blacks and ever better contrast-ratio specs, dynamic irises that close down and open up the projector's light output automatically depending on the program material are all the rage. But there's no free lunch here. While the best auto-iris designs deepen blacks and increase contrast and are invisible in operation, there are inevitable issues with the varying black levels and brightness compression involved in this sleight of hand.
Late last week I had a chance to speak directly with Ken Graffeo, who has a high ranking position with Universal Home Entertainment and is co-president the HD DVD Promotional group. Ken and the group wished to clear the air on the running rumor mills and talk about Universal and HD DVD's plans in the post-Warner decision world.
Marantz has been the industry's #4 hitter in delivering high-end, single-box AVRs that sound great for some time. In Q2 of 2008 Marantz gets outside that single-box with the AV8003 preamp/processor (pictured above) and MM8003 multichannel amplifier.
Marantz is joining the Blu crew in 2008 as well, with a high-end Blu-ray Disc player, the BD8002. And actually, high-end doesn't even cut it. Marantz is calling this player "ultimate quality" with built-in Silicon Optix processing for superb DVD upconversion, and the press materials indicate internal decoding of both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.