Monday, October 31, 2005

Integra DTX-10 and DTX-5 7.1 AV Receivers, DPS-6 DVD Player

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Integra ( Lexus of Onkyo ) has introduced 3 new products: DTX-10 and DTX-5 AV Receivers and DPS-6 universal player.
DTX10 is the flagship 7.1 channel receiver that is THX Ultra2 certified that boosts 200W for each channel with THD at < 0.08%. DTX-5 is the midrange 7.1 channel AV Receiver and outputs 115 Watts per channel with THD < 0.1%. Both receivers have i.Link, Ethernet, and RS232 connections along with every possible analog inputs and outputs. Price for DTX-10 is set to 525,000 Yen ( about $4500 ) and DTX5 - 105,000 ( about $900 ).
Both receivers decode Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital, DTS 96/24, DTS-ES, DTS Neo6 and AAC. As with all recent products, Onkyo includes VLSC ( Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry ) digital noise removal circuitry and a new WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) that promises a clean and pleasant amplification. DPS-6 Universal DVD player is obvioulsy universal and can play back DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, CD,DVD-R/RW,PCM/WMA/MP3/JPEG. I only do not get where the SACD is? That does not make it universal. And the DPS6 is priced at 84000 Yen ( $720 ) Source: AkihabaraNews

Posted by Mike at 2:25 PM
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Sunday, October 30, 2005

M. Night Shyamalan Comments on Quick DVD Release

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M. Night Shyamalan, director of "Sixth Sense", "The Village", comments on quick release of DVDs. The proposal is to release the movie and the DVD at the same time. According to Night, most of the movie theaters will close. And that is true. As much as I like home theater and everything around it I am too against the same time release of movie since movie going is another experience that one cannot substitute even the best equipped home theater. There are pros and cons of movie going such as the price you pay. But there are very good sides to watching a movie at the theater. First, most of the time there is a company you spend the time with, go for a coffee afterwards, and share your thoughts. This becomes even better if you are sharing the experience with a loved one - can't beat that.

According to Mr Shamalayan:

When I sit down next to you in a movie theater, we get to share each other's point of view. We become part of a collective soul. That's the magic in the movies.
I am with him on this one. Some would argue that the same can be done at home at your leisure, but I still can't see the full emotional part of the experience at home. And of course some people do like to watch their movies at home for the convenience of it. You can pause, lye on the couch, change sits, talk on the phone and that's what most of us do when we rent the movie. Anyways, I think movie theaters should stay and hope that DVD releases are pushed back.

Source: CDFreaks via ABC News

Posted by Mike at 10:09 AM
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Griffin BlueTrip Connects iPod with Stereo

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Griffin announced preorder availability for BlueTrip - an accessory to iPod that will help you stream your music to your stereo via bluetooth. BlueTrip obviously consists of a receiver that has digital coax, stereo RCA and a headphone outputs. I do understand coax and RCA outputs but have no idea why someone would route the music through the iPod over bluetooth and listen to it using headphones plugged into the BlueTrip base? Strange. The transmitter is designed a la iPod and snaps right on the top of the player and sucks the music and the batteries out of the iPod. However it does turn the iPod into a remote control but limits your travel distance to 30 feet in radius from where the base is. Overall, this is a nice device to have for $150 with one caveat - support for only 3G, 4G, iPod Mini and Photo. Griffin does not even mention if it is compatible with Nano or latest Video iPod? I guess not, cause everyone would ask for video streaming.


Posted by Mike at 11:27 PM
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Q100 Digital Music Entertainment System Incorporates Unique Touchscreen

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., October 24, 2005 – Offering consumers the easiest user interface found in any digital music server, Qsonix™, Inc., announces the Q100 Digital Music Entertainment (DME) System, a digital music management system that incorporates the industry’s first “drag and drop” graphical user interface technology.
Q100 Digital Music Entertainment (DME) System
Capable of storing up to 7,500 CDs, users simply utilize their fingers to manage their music collection with the industry’s best-in-class touchscreen display panel, as they drag and drop individual tracks or complete albums to create, manage and play their music playlists, eliminating the use of frustrating menus or complicated steps found on other systems. The Q100 DME, which comes with either 160GBs or 400GBs of hard disk storage, and a 15-inch TFT LCD touchscreen controller, can be integrated with leading home automation solutions and are designed for both residential and commercial applications. Both are available now.

“Qsonix has taken a new and incredibly intuitive approach to music management,” said Mike Weaver, president of Qsonix. “Qsonix re-unites users with their music by incorporating an intuitive, engaging and visual presentation that allows music
to be accessed with the simple touch of the finger. Designed for even the most technology-phobic users, our system can be mastered in minutes and enjoyed for years by the whole family.”

Unique GUI Let’s Your Fingers Do The Walking

Accessed through the Q100’s 15-inch LCD touchscreen controller, the company’s innovative GUI (graphical user interface) puts all the unit’s features right at the user’s fingertips. Accessing the company’s unique Album Browser™ music navigation system, users can quickly browse through their entire music library, as each album is presented graphically with it’s cover artwork, artist, genre, year and song track information right on the screen. Music can also be easily sorted by artist, album, genre, or year, as well as by keyword. Any music selection can be quickly queued up for playback or can be added to a playlist simply by dragging them to the appropriate list, and tracks can be added to or deleted from any playlist or from the “now playing” queue at any time the same way.

Fast Preview™ allows users to preview songs without interrupting a current playlist. When a song is chosen for preview, the first few seconds of any song are played, before the system reverts to the previously selected playlist. And to further enhance the user experience, the Qsonix playback engine includes Softfade™, a patent pending technology that delivers professional user controllable volume control and cross fading effects. All transitions including music start, stop and track changes will fade in and out smoothly for an enhanced listening experience.

CD Loading

The Qsonix Q100 system also features a robust, high-speed CD ripping engine that automatically acquires all album art, track, artist and album information and places it directly in your music library. The system offers customized storage capacity, supporting three compression ratios: CD Quality Lossless Compression, High Quality (320Kbs), and Normal Quality (192Kbs). A typical 70-minute CD will automatically load in three to four minutes, and custom compilation CD’s can be loaded using the Q100’s built-in, onscreen data entry wizard, allowing the entry of all information about your custom CD quickly and easily using the touchscreen.

Five-Minute Installation

Designed with the end-user in mind, the Q100 features a simple to follow setup wizard that reduces installation time to as little as five minutes. Once the Q100 is connected to the main audio system via the unit’s analog or digital audio connections, it automatically activates its onscreen setup wizard that guides the installer through initial set up, including Internet connections and preferences. The Q100 can be utilized as a stand-alone source component or integrated into a custom installation using its comprehensive RS232 serial control interface. The system also supports two-zone capability, allowing independent library management and playback of different music in each zone.

Available through a variety of custom installers, professional audio/video dealers and retailers internationally, the Q100 has an MSRP of $5495 including touchscreen controller.

About Qsonix

Located in Agoura Hills, California, Qsonix is a market innovator and leader in providing user-friendly digital media technologies. With its world-class user interface, Qsonix offers the most reliable and truly friendly digital music management systems available. Qsonix products address a wide variety of lifestyles, tastes and environments. Consumers and Businesses alike can quickly and easily store, organize and playback music without the hassle.

Qsonix’s entry into the Home Entertainment market is focused on music enthusiasts that are typically served by the custom installer channel for discrete audio and home theaters, as well as more complex whole house distributed audio environments.

Qsonix also markets to the commercial market, which consists of public venues where background music playback provides an important role in the mood, entertainment or theme of the establishment. Public venues include bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, eateries, coffee houses, hotels, department stores, retail outlets and professional offices.

Source: QSonix

Posted by Mike at 4:46 PM
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Budget Speakers Compared

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AVReview UK compares 4 pairs of bookshelf speakers in the price range of up to £200:

... certain sacrifices have been made to cut costs. Trademark Kevlar drive units have
B&W Model DM303
been foregone in favour of a simple two-way design featuring a 160mm woven fiberglass dome mid/bass driver accompanied by a 25mm metal dome tweeter. But the design does share a similar Nautilus tapered tubing system to that found in far more expensive B&W speakers – the premise being that sound radiating back from the tweeter is absorbed to improve clarity and reduce time smearing.

Plus points: Quality construction; detailed, expressive performance
Minus points: Low frequencies lack control
This loudspeaker has just come out and is an improved version of m30i from Missions' Home Theater collection:
Mission m31i
... low frequencies stand firm even in the face of the most challenging bass-heavy tracks producing surprising weight, depth and scale for such small speakers. Bi-wiring options allow dynamics to extend further creating an all-encompassing soundstage. And the once murky midrange now delivers vocals full of detailed expression and subtle changes in natural intonation. Only the faintly upfront treble causes a case for concern but partnering the speakers with a smooth-natured amplifier, like NAD’s C532CT, will even things up.

Plus points: Competitive price; surprising bass performance; improved midrange
Minus points: Treble can sound occasionally aggressive
Monitor Audio Bronze B2... the B2s produce an unbiased, honest performance enhanced by an energetic sense of tuneful timing that’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping. The refined sound carries plenty of detail, especially from the expressive midrange, and extensive dynamics satisfy all sorts of musical tastes without ever seeming sonically stretched – a rarity at this price point. At normal levels, low frequencies are tightly controlled and authoritative but raising the volume to extreme levels can leave the sound a little rough around the edges.

Plus points: Great value for money; engaging upfront presentation
Minus points: Slightly short on refinement
The sound succeeds on every level although it’s the speaker’s superb integration that reigns supreme, giving them a wonderfully clear and cohesive sound. Considering the cost, detail and dynamics are nothing short of exceptional creating a true to the original sound full of natural expression and subtlety. Only bass depth can be bettered but that would risk compromising their wonderfully contained composure.

Plus points: Quality construction; versatility; class-leading clarity and superb integration
Minus points: Bass could delve deeper

And, in conclusion, AVReview's heart goes to Diamond 9.1 and here is why:
  • Wharfedale’s Diamond 9.1 claims the class-leading title. The beautifully balanced, refined delivery sounds effortless with any assortment of musical affection. And few speakers can equal their insightful subtlety without sacrificing scale or authority – an absolute gem in every aspect.
I must say that all of these speaker available in US and most likely anywhere in the world. The comparison review is very useful since I know there are a lot of folks who are in search of bookshelves. For one, a friend of mine faced the same problem in choosing bookshelves. He ended up getting B&W DM303. I am sure he would have been more aware of what's out there and what to look for if this review was available. But hey, he is happy and that's what counts. And please take any loudspeaker review as an advice only and do not base your purchase on it. Have a listen. You may or may not agree with the review.

Source: AVReview UK

Posted by Mike at 12:38 PM
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Sony 4K SRX-R110 SXRD Projector Shipping

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Sony SXA-R110 SXRD 4096 x 2160 ProjectorSony has announced that their 4K SRX-R110 SXRD projector is ready for shipping. They have been demonstrating the projector in Burbank, CA and will be showing it in ShowEast trade show in Florida. Here is an excerpt from the press release

Thirty-three years after Sony introduced its first electronic projection system, the KP-7200, the company maintains its position as an industry leader and innovator. The SXRD 4K projector offers superb contrast, vivid color, and 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution, which displays images at nearly four times the resolution of current high-definition displays.

The new SRX-R110 model is specified at 10,000 ANSI Lumens and is designed for screens up to 40 feet wide.

"The progress made to date is impressive," said attendee Michael Karagosian, a partner of Karagosian MacCalla Partners. "The display of the media block card was unexpected and very welcome. This is a central element toward a digital cinema-centric solution."

Sony plans to follow up the debut screenings with another round of demonstrations at this week's ShowEast trade show in Orlando, Fla. In addition, a request will be made that NATO organize and set specifications for a side-by-side test of 2K and 4K technologies and work in conjunction with the Digital Cinema Lab/Entertainment Technology Center and the ASC to set parameters for these tests. Following ShowEast, Sony will present a white paper at SMPTE/NY on the latest developments for SXRD 4K front projectors.
What can I say, if you are one of those that have a 40 feet wide living room, get ready to become a happy customer. And please share your feelings starting from the moment when the freight is delivered! Oh, and no wonder that shows are held in Burbank and Orlando. First for movie studios and second for "individuals".

Related story: Sony's 4096 x 2160 SRX-R110 - lots of pixels
Source: eCoustics Press Releases

Posted by Mike at 1:09 AM
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Marantz SA7001 SACD / CD Player

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Marantz SA7001 SACD / CD Player
Marantz adds another SACD / CD player to its line. This one is priced at 63000 Yen ( about $550 ) and sports very high quality specs such as frequency range of 2Hz - 50Khz ( -3Db ) for SACD playback and 20Hz - 20KHz for CD with THD at 0.002%. Sampling rate for SACD is 2.8224MHz and 44.1KHz for CD. SA7001 integrates Cirrus Logic CS4397. For those of you who are familiar with SACD line from Marantz, SA7001 complements the higher-end model - SA8001.Unit is going to hit the shelves in December of 2005 in Japan and comes with gold colored aluminum front panel.

Source: AkihabaraNews

Posted by Mike at 12:36 AM
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Review Roundup

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First was Peter Putnam from HDTVExpert and now ProjectorCentral shares their thoughts on PLV-Z4. What I really like about these 2 reviews, they pretty much say the same except that Peter Putnam thinks that colors are perfect whereas Evan Powell sees some places that can be improved. Overall opinion is Z4 is much better that its predecessor PLV-Z3.
So far PLV-Z4 has been the buzz among LCD Projectors and will probably be for the next year.
So here you go with the list that I plan to update as reviews as they pop up:
The PLV-Z4 is one of the best HD-resolution LCD projectors I've ever tested and a big step up from its predecessors. Color quality is improved - it's as good as the Panasonic PT-AE700U — contrast levels are up, and grayscale tracking is getting better. The dynamic iris has a lot to do with it, but so do the expanded color controls. Dynamic irising is all the rage now; numerous LCD projectors and some LCD rear-projection TVs have incorporated it to kick out better black levels.
Thus we would say this to underscore the point: Currently the PLV-Z4 has a street price of about $2,200. If you are about to lay down $12,000 for a high end single-chip DLP home theater projector on the theory that the more it costs the better it must be, do not miss the opportunity to audition the Sanyo PLV-Z4. The Achilles' heel of single-chip DLP has always been color, and a side-by-side demo with the Z4 will illustrate in convincing terms why LCD is not dead. Heck, you might just save yourself $10,000.
Cine4Home's review is in German and I have used Google and Babelfish to translate it. The review is real good in term of posting graphs and pictures of some test patterns. A picture is worth thousand words, isn't it? Even if you read the automatically translated text.

Great projector for the bucks! Sanyo has done a great job with the Z4, starting with a zoom lens with more placement range, and lots of lens shift. But what earns the Sanyo Z4 home theater projector its hot product award, is image quality. A very sharp image, excellent contrast for a projector in its class, and a projector with plenty of setup flexibility to deal with various ambient light conditions (within reason).

On the downside, color could be more accurate In addition shadow detail could be a bit better, and "blacker" black levels, are not quite as good as the best in the price range. Perhaps more serious, it's handling of low resolution sources is sub-par, but for overall viewing of DVD's and Hi-Def (HDTV), the Z4 is certainly one of the best projectors in its price range.

Related stories:
Similar LCD Projectors:

Posted by Mike at 10:23 PM
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Denon DHT-S7000 Wireless Home Theater System

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I am not a big fan of packaged Home Theater systems but this one caught my attention. As far as I care boxed HT systems should offer convenience in setup and use, with an acceptable quality. Denon goes beyond my expectations with their new DHT-S7000 system by offering a system with wireless speakers. No one wants cables laying around. However, Denon goes all the way with the warning that people with 2.4 GHz phones, WiFi, etc should expect some noise once in a while when the other equipment is in "active state". But who cares: if I am out there buying an HT package I will go for convenience all the way regardless of some noise as long as it is not constant. I might even purchase a 5.8 GHz phone just for the convenience of wireless speakers. And with DHT-S7000 Denon might be a hit.
There are few great things about the AVC-S7000 amplifier - it can work in 2.1, 3.1 Dolby Virtual Speaker that simulates surround sound. That makes me believe that you have an option to purchase only speakers that you want. Sounds meaningful for Japanese apartment. The headphone jack is capable of Dolby Headphone virtual surround sound and to top all of this you can plug your iPod into analog mini-jack. No digital connection and no control but still is great to have option.
And one more thing, there is another system Denon is announcing with DHT-7000, DHT-M370 which is not wireless and comes with a smaller receiver either in silver and "wood grained" colors and will be available at the end of October in Japan only. You can find the details on Denon's website. DHT-7000 ships in Japan sometimes mid November with pricing to be determined.

Source: Denon Japan

Posted by Mike at 8:17 PM
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Denon AVC-4320 720p/1080i Upscaling AV Receiver

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Denon Japan introduced a new upscaling 7.1 channel AV Receiver - AVC-4320. This beast features HDMI output, 720p/1080i upscaling, native iPod support, USB port, 1080p pass-through, and all the conventional AV receiver stuff for less than $2000. This is the model that will be the same as recently announced AVR-4306. AVR4306 press release was missing details of the output resolution on the HDMI. So, as I said, AVC-4320 can pass through 1080p which obviously enters the unit via one of three HDMI inputs and most likely the decision to pass-through 1080p is based on output capabilities of DVD-A1XVA 1080p DVD player.
AVC-4320 is rated at 130 Watts on all channels at 8 Ohm with THD less than 0.05%. Receiver capable of Audissey MultiEQ room correction ( same as 4306 ). Denon used Analog Devices SHARC ADSP-21360 32-bit DSP as the brain for the system, 192KHz/24-bit DACs ( most likely Burr-Brown ). AVC-4320 decodes following formats: DTS-ES, DTS96/24, DTS Neo:6, DTS, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, AAC, HDCD. AVC4320 features tons of analog audio and video inputs and outputs that can satisfy even the worst of us.

As far as I can tell, AVC-4320 and its US sibling would be one of the best selling AV receivers for next year.

Source: Denon Japan

Posted by Mike at 12:37 PM
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monitor Audio Radius 720 Super Subwoofer

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Monitor Audio introduced an addition to their Radius line of subwoofers : Radius 720. HiFiBitZ has not been happy with Radius 320, the previous model from the lineup and they hope 720 will be an improvement.
Radius 720 is designed as a twin downward-firing with two 8-inch treated paper cone drivers are mounted within a ported enclosure. Built-in amplifier shoots 250 watt. This subwoofer also features automatic power functionality that shuts the unit if there is no signal for 15 minutes. There is of course automatic power up as well when signal detected. Crossover control range is 40Hz -180Hz.
Price of the subwoofer is £500 ( about $800 )

Source: HiddenWires

Posted by Mike at 6:49 PM
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Artcoustic PA300 Power Amplifier

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Artcoustic, manufacturer of on-wall art covered flat speaker panels jumps into electronics with a PA300 power amplifier that according to the press release is "designed and engineered to match Artcoustic loudspeakers' impedance and tonality, making the perfect partners".
Specifications are following: Stereo 120 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms / 150 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms or 300 Watts RMS for mono channel. Amp features balanced inputs ( XLR3 )as well as RCA connectors. Also, it has Hi-current bi-polar technology to prevent output clipping. The amp is cooled with heatsinks and there are no fans.
Price in UK will be £499 or $880. The company expects to start the delivery by end of November and is taking pre-orders.

Source: HiddenWires

Posted by Mike at 6:36 PM
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Axiom W Architectural Series In-Wall/On-Wall Loudspeakers

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Axiom today introduced In-Wall/On-Wall W Series loudspeaker models whose design is based on M series bookshelf speaker that were around for a while. According to Axiom "many current in-wall speakers rely on the cavity behind the wall for speaker loading but have widely variable performance because the sheetrock wall surface vibrates with the rear output from the drivers, producing deeply colored and inaccurate sound.".
Axiom's solution to said problem is simple - an enclosure that is deep enough to fit the wall. Another advantage of this design is that speakers can be used for an on-wall installation.
So, Axiom calls the series Architectural and there are 3 in the lineup: W2, W3, and W22 similar to M2i, M3ti, and M22ti bookshelfs. M series have gotten pretty good reviews but one cannot automagically transfer the fame to W series due to difference in enclosure. Thus, the verdict is to wait for reviews.
Axiom's "W" Architectural Series On-Wall/In-Wall speakers are priced as follows: $220 each for the W2, $245 each for the W3, and $325 each for the W22.

Source: eCoustics

Posted by Mike at 5:28 PM
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Onkyo iPod Nano Adapter for DS-A1

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Onkyo DS-A1 iPod Dock
Onkyo says that DS-A1 iPod dock is technically compatible with iPod Nano because the connector is the same as with other iPods but, blaming nanosizing, Nano will be unstable when plugged in and will probably fall down and scratch itself. ok, they did not say the falling and scratching part but to solve the problem Onkyo came up with an adapter and will generously mail it for free to everyone who provides a right serial number at The little piece is basically an extension to the existing rounded soft pad that your non-Nano iPod rests. Japan's Nano/DS-A1 owners will start getting their adapters starting middle of November while the rest of the world will watch how their Nanos shake in the cradle. DIY solution for the time being is to put some white cushions around.

Onkyo iPod Nano Adapter for DS-A1 Dock
Source: Onkyo Japan

Posted by Mike at 3:38 PM
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Denon DVD-A1XVA 1080p DVD Player

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Denon DVD-A1XV DVD Player
Denon took the 1080p seriously and came up with DVD-A1XVA - DVD player that can output in native 1080p (1920x1080). A1XVA uses ABT Electronics' ( aka DVDo ) integrated circuit for scaling up to 1080p. DVD-A1XVA is sharing its specifications with DVD-A1XV with only one obvious difference: 1080p output. Other than that Denon refers to DVD-A1XV for specifications. Both players can output either in HDMI, DVI, IEEE1394 ( with Denon Link ), and all known analog video types of output. However, note that 1080p can only be outputted on HDMI. Denon did not mention if DVI can be used for 1080p but I assume that would be redundant. Both DVD players use DACs from Analog Devices: 216MHz/14-bit for video and 192KHz/24-bit for audio.
One interesting option of these DVD players, which will be appreciated by audiophiles, is that when listening to audio, video circuitry can be turned off to a minimum with a touch. This is in my opinion an incredible feature. Also, to audiophiles attention, these units have a disk spinner stabilization which brings the errors of reading from the disk to a minimum.
Both players can do DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and CD-R/RW and understand MP3, WMA, and JPEG.
DVD-A1XVA is priced at 451,500 Yen which is a bit short of $4000 and will be available in Japan in the middle of November.

Related stories: Denon DVD-A1XV 1080i Player Can be Upgraded to 1080p
Source: AkihabaraNews and Denon

Posted by Mike at 2:59 PM
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Outlaw LFM-2 Subwoofer

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Last week Outlaw Audio introduced in a press release a new addition to their subwoofer line - LFM-2. It is honestly said in the press release that the subwoofer is developed with help of Dr. Hsu of HSU Audio - manufacturer of successful subwoofers. My say here is that the new LFM-2 is just a rebranded version of Hsu's STF-1. The specs are the same for both: down firing 8 inch driver, 150 Watt RMS amplification ( tops at 800 Watt ), 28.5Hz - 180 Hz frequency response, variable crossover from 30Hz to 90Hz with 24Db octave with bypass option ( in Hsu Audio's terminology: defeatable). Good part is that Outlaw sells this subwoofer for the same price as Hsu: $299.

HSU STM-1 has gotten good reviews in its price category which makes Outlaw an instant winner. Isn't that a great marketing?

Read the full press release ...

Posted by Mike at 2:21 PM
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

GoodGuys are No More!

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As you know, CompUSA acquired GoodGuys store chain. Was it last year ? Do not remember. But today's fact is that GoodGuys California stores close. For good. All the Good stuff is moving over to CompUSA and I doubt they will be able to offer as much as GoodGuys did.
Well, one store less ... Here is a part from the announcement:

All California GoodGuys stores close, while home entertainment products and expertise expand within CompUSA locations. In response to consumer buying preferences and demands, GoodGuys is closing the doors to its 46 locations. But don’t worry. The same home entertainment products and experienced staff you know and trust will soon be found exclusively inside California & Hawaii CompUSA stores. Store closings mean huge savings! These store closings mean huge savings for customers in Good Guys locations, where you’ll find the best in high-end entertainment products, including televisions, video, home audio, cameras and car stereos -- all available with steep discounts.

I just hope CompUSA keeps selling Monitor Audio stuff.

Source: GoodGuys

Posted by Mike at 4:14 PM
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Marantz OPSODIS ES-150 System

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Marantz will demo its version of virtual surround sound with 3-speakers. They call it OPSODIS which stands for OPtimal SOurce DIStribution Technology and is developed by Marantz at Southampton University with help of Kajima Corporation. The technology allows to achieve surround sound impression of a 5.1 channel setup and, amazingly, without requiring the sound to bounce off the walls as Yamaha, Polk have done with their single piece loudspeakers.
The surround sound effect is due to specific angles each speaker driver is setup. There is a caveat, only the right spot will be in true surround "zone". However, this is true even for a regular stereo listening - only one spot in front of the loudspeakers is the right for critical listening.

And here are some tech details:
The ES-150 system is driven by 3 TI DSPs and covers 20Hz - 20KHz frequency range with THD of analog stereo and 1 multichannel ( I wonder what this means 5.1, 7.1 ... ? ) Speakers cover 40Hz - 20KHz and can handle 100 Watt of power. Crossover frequencies are as follows: 180Hz/1.8KHz/5.6KHz.
One thing I cannot understand is why this system has only 2 outputs and 3 speakers. Where do you hook the third speaker?

Price of the system is 367,500 Yen - about $3200

Source: Marantz Japan

Posted by Mike at 11:20 PM
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Onkyo MHP-AV1 Wireless Surround Sound Headphone

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Its funny but I could not believe Onkyo had a wireless headphone over infrared. I suppose they knew that plasma displays make a lots of infrared noise. So if you are one of those lucky Onkyo headphone owners and just unpacking that new plasma, don't expect anything else but image quality. Your headphones gonna kill you. Or ... if you are dead serious about your relationship with Onkyo, wait a bit. They do have a new headphone - MHP-AV1 that works on 2.4 GHz radio frequency. That might cause some trouble with your telephone headsets but that's minor in compare to what IR can do to you. So, MHP-AV1 is capable of doing "Dolby Headphone" which is virtual 5.1 channel with only 2 speakers. The headphone system has power saving feature which turns the headphones off if there is no signal detected. I am sure this will be appreciated by watch-full-season-at-once mothers while baby is asleep.

MHP-AV1's transmitter is equipped with a digital optical and stereo RCA inputs. And, of course, there is a 3.5mm jack for your iPod (ok, and others) to hook in. Transmitter can decode Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II, DTS, PCM, and MPEG-2 AAC. The drivers are 40mm and reportedly are bigger than previous models which should make the sound better.
These cans will be available in Japanese stores in mid December and will run for 35700 Yen (about $311).

Source: Onkyo Japan

Posted by Mike at 5:34 PM
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Oppo OPDV971H Review Roundup

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Oppo OPDV971H is an upscaling DVD player with DVI output that is priced fairly well at $199.00. Oppo can playback virtually any type of audio and video format: DVD Video/Audio, Divx(VOD,3,4,5) / MPEG4, VCD, SVCD, CD, HDCD, WMA, DVDR/RW, CD-R/RW, Kodak Picture. Scaling to 1080i/720p and deinterlacing is done with the help of Genesis/Faroudja DCDi chips. Moreover, it supports NTSC as wells as PAL disks and can output the video in those formats besides DVI. Basically this is the John of all trades of DVD players. Read the full specs at the manufacturer web site by clicking here and come back to read the review collection below:
Exceptional video quality; compatible with a ton of codec’s and recordable media formats
Cheap looking remote and DVD tray; buttons on the remote are not backlit
The Oppo OPDV971H is a very impressive player at its price. Its video and audio quality are equal to or better than anything in its price range and its video surpasses many more expensive players as well. It has also been proven to be a very reliable player, as there are a very low percentage of returns for defect. The customer service provided by Oppo is a revelation at this price point and hopefully we can look forward to more great products from this company. For it's terrific video performance (which is the main reason to buy this player), I'd give it an overall rating of 4-1/2 paws.
If you are in the market for a budget DVD player, with DVI output, and which has exceptional video performance, the 971H definitely meets those criteria. This player passes below-black, has no pixel cropping, and there are no signs of Y/C delay. I personally can’t wait to see what Oppo has in store for us next.
So what makes the Oppo OPDV971H DVD player so hot? While its form factor is sleek with a low profile and uncluttered look, its digital performance is without equal at apparently any price based on the 2005 DVD Player Benchmark shootout by Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity that ended last month. The Oppo OPDV971H digital output (DVI) beat 39 other DVD players from 11 other companies including Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, Onkyo, Teac, Oritron, Harmon Kardon, and McCormack. The price range of these products was $199 to $13,000. Guess who sells for $199 . . . Oppo.
When all is said and done, the Oppo OPDV971H is a tremendous value at its budget $199 asking price for owners of DVI-compatible HDTV displays. It still has some minor quality issues to be worked out, and it may not truly rank with the top-end players on the market (it has been somewhat unrealistically compared to the $3,500 Denon DVD-5910), but the generally excellent picture it produces is a decided step up from other players in its price range. With its DVI output, upscaling capabilities, and region-free playback, it's a real winner. Considering Oppo Digital's dedicated customer support, I expect further refinements to this player as they continue to work out the bugs, and hope to see other exciting products from this company in the future.
The high Secrets score and growing praise online for the OPPO may make it an appealing choice for folks shopping for a new DVD player, but there are some definite caveats to keep in mind. First, if your HDTV lacks a DVI or HDMI input, the 971 is not going to provide you with much benefit: the component video outputs are limited to 480i, just like the largely-defunct interlaced players of old. If you have a standard definition TV and have no plans to upgrade the display for a while, it may be possible to find a player that will offer nearly the same s-video or composite video performance on your existing display for less money. The target audience for this player is the owner of a DVI or HDMI-equipped HDTV or someone planning to upgrade to such a display in the near future. For that audience, the OPDV971H is an excellent value.
This player has been hyped almost to the point of being the holy grail of DVD players. In all honesty, for the $199 MSRP it really is a great player. The differences come down to black level, build quality, audio capability, bass management, and the responsiveness and usability. For the price you really can’t pass up the video quality of this player – especially if you’re looking for a source component to match with a digital display.

• Excellent DVI video
• First-rate deinterlacing from Faroudja DCDi processor
• Flexible video controls

• Unexceptional audio quality
• No progressive component output
• Poor remote

Posted by Mike at 4:40 PM
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Polk Audio SurroundBar

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SurroundBar is the same concept as Yamaha YSP series - one piece speaker that simulates surround sound by bouncing the sound waves off the walls. Polk seems to make the loudspeaker smaller than YSP models but then again SurroundBar does not have the built-in DSP which, in fact, makes me conclude that this unit does not have any manual or automatic room correction functionality. That means it may not do what it suppose to do in many open rooms. I am sure engineers at Polk have made an assumption that room size and geometry should be of certain type and they clearly know that SurroundBar is not going to work at its full potential in certain open types of rooms. Polk claims that its patented SDA technology makes this loudspeaker "push" the sound behind the listener if the speakers are located right in front.
SurroundBar consists of 7 3 1/2 -inch mid-ranges and 3 3/4 dome tweeters that in combination cover 100Hz to 20KHz frequency range. The speaker can handle up to 125Watt of power and its signal to noise ratio is 89Db. All of this is priced at $950 which in my opinion is a rip off. None of the parameters is in the decent area and there is no guarantee that loudspeaker will work in your room. Well, at least it comes with a 5 year warranty. And that is how Polk wins the hearts of an average consumer. If you are in need for a one piece virtual surround - check Yamaha YSP series. They are not perfect but I think are much better that what Polk offers at almost the same price. Or if you buy Polk, make sure you have an option to return it.

Source: Polk Audio

Posted by Mike at 1:09 PM
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LG 102-inch Plasma with DVR

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LG is now officially the second manufacturer to cross the 100 inch limit for plasma display. They showed 102-inch plasma and to somehow be different from the competitor - Samsung - they built-in a DVR with 160GB hard drive in the thing. It can hold 13 hours of HD or 63 hours of standard video. The display is native 1080p ( 1920x1080 ) - or full HD - as it is called nowadays and sports a 5000:1 contrast ratio.

Source: AkihabaraNews

Posted by Mike at 12:55 PM
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Samsung 80" Plasma Priced!

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MobileMag reports that Samsung's 80-inch plasma will cost $150,000 - hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Wow! They should have your name engraved on it for the price. And throw a power generator in there as a minor gesture.

Imagine what 102" plasma panel will cost? Somewhere at $900,000 ...

Source: MobileMag

Posted by Mike at 4:26 PM
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Sanyo PLV-Z4 Review

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HDVTExpert Peter Putnam is the first to review Sanyo PLV-Z4. He writes that it is one the best LCD projectors he has tested although not without slight problems:
With a 480i component signal, I also spotted interlaced scan line artifacts with video material and film content transferred to video. The PLV-Z4 had some trouble picking up 3:2 cadences from the Realta disc, in some cases jumping in and out of film mode and then back again all within one second. Switching to 480p mode from my Panasonic RP56 DVD player fixed all of these problems immediately.
That said, the author suggests an external processor for interlaced ( 480i, 576i ) signals whereas "praises" HD material reproduction:
HDTV is where this projector really shines, and the 720p football clips from Fox and ABC were tailor-made for the PLV-Z3. In fact, I was actually able to see some MPEG encoding artifacts in the Fox Super Bowl broadcast (macroblocks in the football field). Once again, color quality was comparable to my CRT monitor, the difference being a little less contrast "punch" on the PLV-Z4.
This is the first review and in my opinion pretty much covers all the aspects that home theater enthusiast is interested. What cannot be decided from this review are things like lamp performance in terms of hours and brightness over time, electronic and mechanical quality. These things require time and a widespread usage to surface but I doubt that Z4 will have any horrible mass defect(s) since it is the 4th generation of the product. Other than improvements, I do not expect any new "development"

Related stories: Sanyo PLV-Z4 Review Roundup

Source: HDTVExpert

Posted by Mike at 12:59 PM
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Sanyo PLV-Z3 Review Roundup

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Sanyo PLV-Z3 is probably the most popular LCD projector to date. Its price to quality ratio is definitely a winner. Sanyo has done a good job to capture the market for low-priced projectors with this model. The started it with PLV-Z2 which again was a hit at its time. Now, when Z3 is about to be replaced with PLV-Z4, following the trend of prices being dropped on older models, I thought to put up a collection of reviews from different sources in one place. This list by no means is complete but I will make sure to update with anything new that I find. So, here is the list headed by ProjectorCentral:
Sanyo has incorporated a lot of improvements into the Z3. Scaling and onboard deinterlacing have been improved such that overall image stability and sharpness are better on the Z3 than they were on the Z2. Owners of the Z3 will never want to bother with an external video processor like the DVDO iScan HD since the onboard electronics are already fully adequate to the task. DVDs are scaled as cleanly as we've ever seen on any product in this class, and those with particularly good transfers look almost high def.

The Panasonic AE700 and the Sanyo PLV-Z3 are both excellent products that push the envelope on LCD technology. They are both capable of delivering beautiful HDTV and DVD images in high resolution with their 1280x720 LCD panel format. The AE700 sells for a few hundred dollars more than the Z3. Based upon our comparative review, this price differential is justified. The AE700 can deliver a brighter image while retaining excellent contrast and color saturation, and it offers some unique flexibility for shelf mounting with its longer zoom lens.
Ignacio rates 5 out of 5 and writes: "I reserached different PJ units within the $2-$3K range for well over 2 months before deciding on the Sanyo Z3. I have to say not only does it perform like a dream but how can you possibly go wrong with the price ($1500) and warranty (3years). This is my first PJ and it's more than perfect for my needs and budget. I have my Sanyo ceiling mounted 12' from a 106" diagonal "Goo" Digital Gray Lite painted wall in my newly finished basement, seating area is 13' so right below the PJ ( by the way this unit is absolutely silent) The area is not a dedicated theater room so there is controlable ambient lighting." Read more ...
Sanyo’s PLV-Z3 front LCD projector is the third evolution of a series of widescreen, value-priced designs that are successfully holding market share against more costly single-chip DLP designs. It offers native HD (1280x720) resolution and such useful features as horizontal and mechanical lens shift, an HDMI connector, and (in a new twist) a small compressed-air bulb for cleaning dust out of the optical assembly.
The good: Displays high-definition images in native widescreen resolution; HDMI digital connection; high contrast ratio for deep blacks; lens shift allows flexible positioning of the projector.
The bad: Side air ventilation grille heats up quickly.
The bottom line: Sanyo's Z3 is an excellent LCD projector for watching widescreen DVDs and High Definition television (HDTV), provided you have a digital set-top box.

The Z3 is a very easy projector to set up and use. The HDMI input worked flawlessly, but most of the time, I used component video. The image is bright and contrasty, but not as contrasty as DLP. On the other hand, there is no rainbow effect with LCD,and I am very sensitive to that. So, if I had to choose between more contrast but having the rainbows, and less contrast but no rainbows, I would choose the latter.
With its fold-down front panel and uninspiring plastic case, the Sanyo PLV-Z3 suggests nothing so much as a large (okay, very large) clock radio. In a world where, not so very long ago, video projectors were expected to require three or four strong longshoremen to deliver and set up, the newest digital designs still generate a sense of wonder. Even now, audiophiles continue to equate size and mass with quality, and "longer, lower, wider" are still the watchwords with car enthusiasts (though it's no longer politically correct to actually say so in polite company).
Besides reading what other people think it is wise to look at the specs as well. Here is the link to the PDF on the Sanyo website.

Posted by Mike at 11:53 AM
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Another Panasonic PT - AE700 Review

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Few days ago I have posted a roundup of PT-AE700 reviews from various sources. There is another one to add to the list.'s Asim Zaidi has put up a review of Panasonic's PT-AE700 LCD Projector. This review is more oriented towards office usage of AE700 and does not really cover home theater aspects. However, it is a quick read and can be useful for someone who is researching this projector.

Read the full review here

Posted by Mike at 3:29 PM
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Onkyo A-977 Digital Amp with C-777 CD Player

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Onkyo announced A-977 digital amplifier to go along with new C-777 CD player . The VLSI (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) is the main emphasis on the CD player and is reported to improve the noise reduction. I personally do not trust any buzzwords myself even if it is backed up by a patent. In some cases I turn out to wrong and hope to see that more and more. Anyways, A-977's VLSC reported to remove all pulse-width modulation noise that C-777 DAC introduces.

Here is the list of specs that matter and facts that one does not want to miss:


Power output:
2 x 100W at 8 Ohm 1kHz, THD of 0.5% or less
Frequency Characteristics:
10Hz - 60kHz ( +1dB/-3dB ) on CD
Signal to Noise Ratio:
100dB (CD IHF-A), 70dB (PHONO IHF-A)
Speaker Adaptation Impedance:
4 Ohm to 16 Ohm
7 Analog Inputs:
Price: 126,000 Yen ( about $1100)
Availability: Mid November 2005 in Japan. Rest of the world waits for now.


Playback: CD, CD-R/RW, MP3
Frequency Characteristics: 2hz - 20kHz -
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 111dB - Dynamic Range: 100dB - Total Height Harmonic Wave Total Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.0027% (1kHz)
DAC: Wolfson WM8740 192KHz/24-bit
Price: 73500 Yen (about $640)
Availability: Mid November in Japan

Source:AkihabaraNews and Onkyo Japan ( Google Translated from Japanese )

Posted by Mike at 2:10 PM
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Friday, October 07, 2005

More Than One Million LCD TV Shippments This Year

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As you know , Taiwan is the first in manufacturing LCD panels. According to ECN Asia, shipment of LCD panels in second quarter of 2005 has increased by 162%. The estimate for the year suggest that more than 1 million units will be shipped.

Shipment volume of the Taiwanese LCD TV industry in the second quarter of 2005 soared 162 percent year-on-year, or 31 percent sequentially, to 1 million units, according to the Market Intelligence Center (MIC). “The stimulation of market demand by price declines and large-scale growth in OEM/ODM orders received by some companies more than offset the adverse factors of sluggish market demand in the European market and unstable supply of 32-inch and larger display panels,” said an MIC analyst.

On a relevant note, DigiTimes reports that Korean manufacturers expect to reach 700,000
LCDs this year. And even more for the next year, since Samsung is on a mission of promoting their 40-inch LCD TVs whose market is estimated to be 2.4 million for the year 2006.
As we can expect, market report such as these two, suggest lower prices for OEMs which, at the end of the day will reflect on the consumer. According to predictions and estimates all around the Internet, not only prices dropping for LCD but also on plasma TVs. That lead me to form my opinion as follows: next year is going to go into the history as the year of Flat Panels and HDTV. At least in United States.

Posted by Mike at 12:43 PM
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sharp's Current Lineup

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This is the press release from Sharp for CEDIA 2005 and outlines all new home theater product for the coming year. My attention was obviously on 65" LCD display although DT-100 low end projector may also be a gem at $1300

PRESS RELEASE: Sharp Showcases Cutting-Edge Consumer Electronics Products Designed to Enhance Every Aspect of Modern Life

INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 9, 2005-- Largest Available LC HDTV and High-Performance DLP Front Projectors Headline Roster of High-Tech Products That Reinforce Sharp's Role as a Leading Digital Innovator

Sharp, the worldwide leader in Liquid Crystal televisions (LC-TV)*, continues to extend its consumer electronics leadership at CEDIA Expo 2005 with a product line-up that reflects the combination of cutting-edge technology and contemporary styling that today's consumers demand. Headlining Sharp's CEDIA offerings are the 65-inch AQUOS(R), the world's largest available Liquid Crystal High Definition Television (LC HDTV), and the XV-Z12000 MARK II, an upgraded version of the award-winning SharpVision DLP(TM) high definition front projector.

"CEDIA is the perfect venue to exhibit Sharp's huge selection of impeccably-designed, superior-performing products that enhance the decor of any home," said Bob Scaglione, senior vice president of marketing, Consumer Electronics Group, Sharp. "In addition to raising the bar in LCD TV, we are also showcasing our outstanding technology prowess in front and rear projection and audio products. Whatever type of home entertainment set-up a consumer wants to create, Sharp has the perfect solution."

Featuring a myriad of styles of AQUOS Liquid Crystal Televisions ranging from 13- to 65-inch screen sizes, the 2005 CEDIA Sharp Electronics booth is also packed with advanced digital technologies that complement the flat-panel TV revolution and one-of-a-kind new digital technologies. In addition to AQUOS, highlights include a range of DLP-based front projectors, flat-screen high-definition DLP Rear Projection TVs, and an array of audio products, including stylish 1-Bit(TM) Home Theater audio systems that blend aesthetically and technologically with flat-panel TVs.

Sharp will highlight the following key products at CEDIA. For additional details, please see individual product press releases.

AQUOS 65-inch (LC-65D90U):

Sharp takes the LCD market to a new level with the introduction of the largest available LC-TV in the world, the incredible 65-inch HDTV AQUOS Liquid Crystal Television. With unparalleled full 1080p (1920 x 1080) HDTV resolution, the 65-inch Digital Cable Ready AQUOS offers consumers the pinnacle of the DTV resolution formats. The LC-65D90U features a new four-wavelength backlight system that provides an enhanced color spectrum, producing more vivid and deeper reds than previously possible. The 65-inch AQUOS also includes a CableCARDTM slot, so consumers can enjoy all the latest HDTV offerings without the necessity of a separate cable-TV set-top box.** Additionally, the 65-inch AQUOS features: Quick Shoot video circuitry for fast response time of less than 12 milliseconds; contrast ratio of 800:1 and 450 cd/m(2) high brightness; HDMI, 1394 and DVI-I advanced digital interfaces. The 65-inch AQUOS HDTV LC-TV will be available in November for a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,999.

AQUOS 45-inch (LC-45GD7U/GD5U):

Sharp's new 45-inch AQUOS Liquid Crystal Televisions, models LC-45GD7U and LC-45GD5U, allow consumers to enjoy the latest cable-TV HDTV programming without the added bulk or expense of an additional set-top box. These Digital Cable-Ready LC HDTVs feature a built-in HDTV tuner with full CableCARD compatibility for "plug and play" capability. The models feature TV Guide On Screen(R), the consumer-friendly, free interactive programming guide that provides complete control over digital television viewing, as well as 1920x1080 resolution for full HDTV spec 1080p display. The new 45-inch models feature Quick Shoot video circuitry for fast response time of less than 12 milliseconds, HDMI and DVI advanced digital interfaces, high brightness and 800:1 contrast ratio. The GD7U is available in a titanium finish with detachable bottom speakers and the GD5U is available in a new piano black finish with detachable side speakers. Both models will be available in October for an MSRP of $6,499.99.

AQUOS D4U/D6U Series HDTV LC-TVs (LC-37D4U/D6U, LC-32D4U/D6U and LC-26D4U/D6U):

Expanding on its line of Digital Cable Ready HDTVs, Sharp's new widescreen models raise the bar for LCD design, performance and technology. The newly-designed D4U series features a contemporary and elegant piano black finish with side speakers. All of the new models have 1366 x 768 resolution for 720p HDTV compatibility and include a CableCARD slot, so consumers can enjoy all the latest HDTV offerings from their cable company without the necessity of a separate set-top box. The models also include enhanced Quick Shoot video circuitry for fast response time of less than 12 milliseconds; HDMI and two HD component terminals; NTSC, PAL and SECAM video playback capability; high brightness level and 800:1 contrast ratio. The D6U series is available in a sleek titanium finish, and detachable bottom speakers. The LC-37D4U, LC-32D4U and LC-26D4U are available now for MSRPs of $3,499.99, $2,399.99 and $1,699.99 respectively. The LC-37D6U, LC-32D6U and LC-26D6U are available now for MSRPs of $3,599.99, $2,499.99 and $1,799.99 respectively.

High-Definition DLP(TM) Front Projector (SharpVision XV-Z12000 MARK II):

Recognizing the increasing consumer interest in integrated home theaters, Sharp has expanded the high-definition DLP front projector line with the newly-enhanced version of the award-winning XV-Z12000. This sleek-bodied, whisper-quiet product takes home movie projection to a new level of viewing enjoyment with an unprecedented contrast ratio (7000:1) and a high brightness level (1000 ANSI Lumen brightness in high brightness mode), for the clearest, truest-color images available today. The XV-Z12000 MARK II creates a cinematic experience anywhere consumers can imagine, transforming any media room into the ultimate high-tech home theater. Using DLP(TM) Dark Chip 3(TM) technology from Texas Instruments and Sharp's proprietary Computer & Video Integrated Composer (CV-IC II) System technology, the XV-Z12000 MARK II reaches previously unattained levels of projection excellence. A powered iris switchover function instantly changes multiple brightness and contrast settings with the touch of a button, allowing flexibility for varying home theater environments. The XV-Z12000 has a native resolution of 720 for true 16:9 widescreen movie viewing and a DVI/HDCP (High bandwidth Digital Content Protection) terminal that ensures a secure digital connection with high definition set top boxes. The true 720p high-resolution image quality is fully compatible with HDTV signals, making this the perfect movie-viewing vehicle for today as well as the future. The XV-Z12000 MARK II will be available in October for an MSRP of $10,999.99.

Entry Level Home Theater DLP Front Projector (DT-100):

Weighing just over eight and a half pounds, this portable DLP projector compares favorably to the leading entry level projectors. Using DLP technology from Texas Instruments, this stylish, feature-packed projector is ideal for consumers without a dedicated "media room" to watch TV, DVDs or play computer games on a big screen and then pack it all up and put it away, saving space and avoiding clutter. The DT-100 delivers a compact, lightweight product that will easily fit on a shelf, cabinet or small side table. The projector is ED (enhanced definition) true 16:9 aspect ratio, with a resolution of 854 x 480 that is high-definition compatible. Features include an extremely high contrast ratio of 2000:1 as well as 1000 ANSI Lumen brightness for brilliant clarity and a superior image. The low fan noise of 30 dB (in economy mode) ensures that a film's dialogue and special effects are the only sounds that movie-watching guests will hear. The projector is outfitted with a 6-Segment 5 X Speed color wheel that minimizes "color breaking" and provides high quality images with accurate color reproduction. The DT-100 will be available in October for an MSRP of $1,299.99.

Sharp Electronics Corporation is the Mahwah, N.J.-based marketing and sales subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer of the core technologies that are integral to shaping the next generation of home entertainment products, appliances, networked, multi-functional office solutions and mobile communication and information tools. Leading brands include AQUOS(TM) Liquid Crystal Televisions, 1-Bit(TM) digital audio products, SharpVision(R) projection products, Viewcam(R) camcorders, Carousel(R) microwaves, IMAGER(TM) digital multifunctional systems, Notevision(R) multimedia projectors, and the Zaurus(TM) mobile data terminal. Sharp Electronics Corporation employs approximately 2,000 people throughout the U.S. supporting more than 50 product lines.

* According to a 2005 report from DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based market research firm, Sharp Corporation is the global leader in LCD TV.

** Cable system must deliver HDTV programming. Consumers should check with their local cable company to determine available HDTV channels.

DLP is a trademark of Texas Instruments. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

In the United States, TV GUIDE and other related marks are registered marks of Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. and/or one of its affiliates. In Canada, TV GUIDE is a registered mark of Transcontinental Inc., and is used under license by Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc.

Source: Sharp USA

Posted by Mike at 10:46 PM
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LG showcases Plasma TV with built-in DVR

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LG introduced a new breed of 50 and 60 inch plasma TV sets with integrated DVR. The concept is not new but very hot. Plasma displays have 1366x768 resolution with contrast ratio rated at 5000:1. Units feature Seagate 160GB hard disk and can continuously record and keep the latest hour in case you decide to go back and watch again. Needless to say, PY2DR series have all regular DVR functionality and can record up to 13 hours of high def video or 63 hours of standard definition video. In addition, there is a 9-in-2 memory card reader for displaying pictures on the screen as well as storing them on the hard disk . This combo plasmas have been first presented at CEDIA 2005. There is no information as to when PY2DR is hitting the shelves or how much they will set us back.

Source: LG USA Press Release

Posted by Mike at 10:35 PM
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Panasonic PT-AE700EC HDTV LCD Projector Reviews and Ratings

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Panasonic PT-AE700, successor to PT-AE500 and predecessor to PT-AE900 LCD projectors, has been introduced to market last year but I can still say it is a hot buy especially with AE900 taking over. It is a known fact that resellers tend to drop the pricing for a product when a new model is going to hit the shelves. This is true for AE700 which in fact features 3 x 720p (1280x720) LCD panels and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. Pretty decent This projector has an HDMI input among with component, S-Video, composite and SCART ( for European models ). This model has been announced for US market at CEDIA 2004 and currently is off by 42% at Amazon.

Posted by Mike at 9:27 PM
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Gefen DVI Extender over CAT5

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Gefen introduced a DVI video/audio extender that uses cost effective CAT5 cables to run the signals for up to 150 feet. The package consists of a receiver and a sender (transmitter). The receiver units come equipped with DVI, analog audio and S/PDIF ports and is capable of handling digital 7.1 channel audio. Moreover, the DVI is HDCP compliant.

Source: Gefen

Posted by Mike at 9:33 PM
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Panasonic Develops the World's Smallest 1080p Plasma Display

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Panasonic has done it again. They shocked everyone in the plasma world by introducing a 65-inch native 1080p technology recently. Now they have announced the development of a 50-inch 1080p - the smallest full high definition - display.

Here is the press release:

PRESS RELEASE – Panasonic, the leading brand for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is best known, today announced the company has developed a prototype of a 50-inch plasma display panel (PDP) with 1080p (progressive) resolution. The prototype is the world's smallest PDP that delivers more than two million pixels (1,920 × 1,080) and the same brightness as its current high definition (1,366 × 768) model TH-50PX500. Panasonic unveiled the prototype at CEATEC JAPAN 2005 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. The exhibition commenced today and will run until October 8.

Superior characteristics of the PDP such as true-to-life color reproduction, dynamic contrast, quick response to moving images and wide viewing angles make it an ideal device for TVs. In the past, technical challenges in securing brightness and stable discharge from tiny pixels1 prevented manufacturers from obtaining 1080p resolution for 50-inch and smaller PDPs.

Panasonic has overcome the technical hurdles. The 50-inch 1080p PDP offers the same high aperture ratio and brightness as the current 50-inch HD model. To achieve the high aperture ratio and high-speed pixel drive, the company used its own technologies developed for the 65-inch 1080p PDP. Panasonic also established technologies to make ribs2 thinner and phosphors tinier. The prototype displayed at CEATEC JAPAN 2005 incorporates a new drive circuit that enables stable light emission. These technologies will enable Panasonic to offer PDPs in many popular-sized large-screen flat-panel TVs without compromising accurate and high-quality images that only PDPs can deliver.

Most of the current terrestrial digital broadcasts in Japan are 1080i (interlaced, 1,440 × 1,080) resolution. As some of these broadcasts are converted from standard definition (720 × 480), the current HD panels are more than capable of reproducing those signals. As digital HD broadcasting services are spreading and improving in the world, higher quality images, exceeding the current HD broadcasts, are expected to air in the near future.

Anticipating the future progress and increasing demand for such HD content, Panasonic has pursued development of 1080p-capable PDPs and succeeded in commercially producing the 65-inch 1080p PDP TV (TH-65PX500). The model will be available in Japan from November 1, 2005.

With the development of the 50-inch 1080p PDP, Panasonic will accelerate its efforts in furthering its high-resolution and high-quality picture technologies and continue to offer enhanced value to consumers.

Panasonic owns 21 Japanese and five overseas patents on the product including current applications.

Source: AvInfo and Engadget

Posted by Mike at 4:50 PM
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Monday, October 03, 2005

Denon S-101 and S-301 is Active! Has Been for a While

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Denon's S-101 / S-301 blog has been up since August. I have quickly glanced through it and on the first thought it is, as expected, is a promotion. And yes, there is no AdSense running on it. But there are some cool pictures ( promotional and live ) of the product. The show is run by Kaz, who says:
" I'm Kaz from Denon. Normally I'm engaged in work related to sales promotion. For the next two months, I would like to distribute information concerning the S-301 and S-101."

Visit them here.

Posted by Mike at 11:33 PM
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HiddenWires Registration Form - Brit Humor !

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This is the registration form for ezine. Another British humor :)

Here is the live copy

Posted by Mike at 8:23 PM
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Yamaha YSP-1 Review Roundup

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Yamaha YSP-1 is a perfect solution to get surround sound (although virtual) without having 5 or more speakers and all the wires associated with them. YSP-1 has been around for a while now and there are plenty of reviews on the net. For those who are making a decision on building or upgrading their home theater and are looking for a simple solution this loudspeaker definitely must be considered looking into. Also, note that Yamaha is planning on a release of a new version of YSP-1 - YSP-1000. There will also be a lower-end model, YSP-800, you might find interesting.

Here you go:
Overall, everyone is positive about the concept and the design. Price of the speaker is on the high side and the setup will still require a purchase of a subwoofer to cover the full frequency. The good about the product is that it also acts as a receiver and includes decoders for most major formats, so you can just plug in the optical cable and rest will be taken care of. The bad part is that unit does not deliver the quality of what can full blown home theater 5 speaker setup provide. But that is the tradeoff for having a single piece and I do not consider it as a stop show.
If you are in the market and do not find YSP-1 a solution to your problem, wait for YSP-1000 since it is promised to have a better sound quality.

Posted by Mike at 4:10 PM
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Sharp 1000000:1 Contrast Ratio LCD Display

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Sharp is the second after Brightside to jump into the super high contrast LCD displays. They actually have done 5 times better than Brightsides' 200000:1 display claiming 1000000:1 contrast ratio. Yes - it is one million-to-one. The company calls the technology "Mega-Contrast Liquid Crystal". Sharp is going to demo a prototype 37-inch native 1080p (1920x1080) LCD model at CEATEC Japan.

In my opinion, it is always good when something like this comes from a big and established company meaning that it will be developed to be something that hits the shelves in near future.
All we can wish is the sooner the better.

Source: I4U News

Posted by Mike at 1:28 PM
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Toshiba will Show HD-DVD Player at CEATEC

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Armored with "HD DVD is Real!" title, Toshiba comes forth with an announcement that it will demonstrate a HD-DVD player at CEATEC Japan this month.

Here is what Toshiba notes as strengths of HD-DVD.

HD DVD is standardized by the DVD Forum, the international association of some 240 companies, and its physical, file and application formats have been all approved by the Forum. In addition to a versatility that assures support for many applications, including players, recorders, PCs and automotive devices, HD DVD's main features are:
  • The same disc structure as DVD, two 0.6mm-thick polycarbonate discs bonded back-to-back, makes it much easier for HD DVD to achieve backward compatibility with DVD. It also assures easier manufacturing of discs and hardware devices, resulting in lower manufacturing costs.
  • Robust playability, with no need for a disc cartridge to protect against surface blemishes and fingerprints.
  • The ability to meet all capacity demands. The DVD Forum has approved HD DVD-ROM discs with a data capacity of 30GB, and higher capacities are on the way. High data capacity is achieved by adopting a shorter wavelength blue-violet laser and advanced data processing technologies, assuring the ability to store large capacity data sources including high-definition images.
  • Adoption of iHD technology to deliver enhanced user interactivity on PCs and assures optimization for both AV and PC applications.
Source: Toshiba

Posted by Mike at 12:36 PM
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Toshiba Releases Official Comment on Reports on Paramount

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Here is what Toshiba has to say about Paramount announcement to offer movies on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray:

3 October, 2005

Our understanding is that Paramount Home Entertainment also continues to support HD DVD, a position established in comments from Paramount officials in press reports. We see Paramount's continued commitment to releasing HD DVD titles as proof that the studio still recognizes HD DVD's advantages: accelerated time to market, greater proven capacity, lower expected price, and enhanced consumer features. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the studio in this important product area.

We understand that studios want to see precisely what will happen in the CE and IT industries, and that they will want to support all potential markets for their products.

However, once HD DVD comes to market at the end of 2005 in Japan, and early next year in the United States as planned, it will not take long to know which format really delivers the benefits of high definition to the consumer.

In terms of development, HD DVD is far in advance of Blu-ray. Volume production of discs will see decisive cost and productivity advantages in favor of HD DVD. On the strength of these facts, we are convinced that Hollywood studios and other content holders will eventually opt for commercialization in the HD DVD format.

The HD DVD format is the only next-generation DVD format defined by the DVD Forum, the international organization that determines DVD specifications. The Forum has approximately 240 member companies around the world, including major Hollywood studios and leaders in the CE and IT industries. The HD DVD format was arrived at only after extensive, open discussions and technical evaluations among the membership. Moreover, development of HD DVD is in the final phase, and we are proceeding with necessary preparations for commercialization.

HD DVD features compatibility with current DVD, and to this adds advanced characteristics, including efficient manufacturing of discs and hardware, cost efficiency, superior connectivity with PCs through iHD software. As HDTV and large-sized flat panel TVs continue their market penetration, HD DVD alone offers the ability to meet rapidly increasing consumer demand for high definition DVD content in a timely manner. Last but not least, HD DVD will adopt AACS, created by major IT and CE companies, and so realize Hollywood’s most pressing concern: robust content protection – a great benefit to content holders.

Posted by Mike at 12:32 PM
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