Friday, December 23, 2005

Sony to Unveil 82-inch LCD TV in January

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TheRegister reports that Sony is set to unveil an 82-incher next month at CES in Las Vegas. Not much is known at the moment but seems that it will be a 1080p with 1200:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time. Just give it about 10 days and all will come out of the closet. So what would be the brand BRAVIA or QUALIA. What you think?

Sources:

Posted by Mike at 1:11 PM
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sonos Digital Music Server on the Top

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AV Revolution top 100 list covers the best home entertainment products of year 2005 and is, to my surprise, topped by Sonos Digital Music Server. BusinessWeek also has a place for Sonos in its just published list of best products of 2005. I can somewhat agree that Sonos has made a great and easy to use product as well as flooded every blog site with an advertisement but truly I have no idea how it made past numer 30 in the list of AVRev. Share your thoughts. I am confused, is it thaaaat great as a multizone music provider?

Sources:

Posted by Mike at 2:17 PM
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Niles Audio Ships On-Wall PHD Speakers

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Niles Audio started shipping 3 models of new PHD (Plasma High Definition) series on-wall loudspeakers that are a close match to a flat panel display look. The lineup features PHD30, PHD42, and PHD60 (shown) priced $400, $600, and $900 each respectively. Speakers cover frequency range from 55Hz ( 63 for PHD42, 70 for PHD60 ) to 21,000Hz frequency with sensitivity of 90Db for PHD60, 89Db for PHD42, and 88Db for PHD30.

... All feature a patent-pending Cone Forward™ driver design that positions the woofer cones to the front of the baffle, which allows sound to radiate freely into the room. Value steps between models are dictated by cabinet size and driver configuration with the top two models featuring an adjustable dispersion-controlling pod that enables more precise imaging and sound staging and can be rotated to accommodate vertical or horizontal placement. The model numbers are organized to identify the flat panel applications where the PHD30 is ideal for flat panel displays of 30-inches or greater. Likewise, the PHD42 matches flat panel displays that are 42-inches or greater and the PHD60 is for flat panel displays that are 60-inches or greater.
All three models can be ordered with a choice of a black or silver grill at no extra charge and come with a wall-mount bracket. Dimensions ( width and depth only) , which is an important factor for those who are in need of on-walls are pretty good as well: 6.2" wide and 5.9" deep.

Source: eCoustics
Product Page: Niles Audio

Posted by Mike at 1:56 PM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NeoDigits HVD2085 1080p DVD Player Review

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CDFreaks.com has very thorough review of NeoDigits HVD2085 DVD player. This one can upscale up to 1080p and has loads of outputs including HDMI and, in case you want to use your CRT monitor from old days, a VGA connector. One of the things that catches the attention is it can play NeoDigits own 720p high-def DVDs. Apparently, the company made this player go beyond the standards ( not video but recording ) and play proprietary DVDs. One of the low points is that MPEG4, DivX, and XVid are not recognized which is not what you expect from a component that was just released. Anyways, read the review and decide for yourself. I'd say again it is thorough. And the price is $245 just in case you decide to buy.

Read

Related Stories: NeuNeo HVD2085 Reviewed - Twice today

Posted by Mike at 8:57 PM
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PRESS RELEASE: Scientific-Atlanta at CES: Company to Showcase Promising Home Entertainment Technologies for the Digital Lifestyle

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— Highlights for 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show include the company’s award-winning DVR with recordable DVD player and cordless voice modem —

ATLANTA, GA – From digital video recording (DVR) to IPTV to high-definition TV (HDTV) and Voice over IP (VoIP), consumers are presented with more and more choices in an ever-evolving digital world. At the 2006 International CES, Scientific-Atlanta will demonstrate its pioneering role in designing and developing dynamic and powerful consumer products for consumers that promote ease of use, expanded content options, enhanced navigation and innovative personal applications that further entertainment mobility. Visitors to the booth will see how Scientific-Atlanta is helping consumers ‘live simply’ with multi-purpose devices that do more for you and take up less room in your living space. The company will also offer ‘a peek behind the curtain’ at what is next in concept for whole-home entertainment, future interactive television applications and on-demand content services.

Booth Demonstrations include:

Consumers: Ways to Download and Watch Content on Your Terms:

  • DVR with built-in DVD Recorder/Player – No more changing inputs on your TV and juggling remotes. Scientific-Atlanta's DVR with built-in DVD recorder and DVD player, is three powerful devices in one – a high-powered digital set-top box, a DVR and a DVD recorder/player – with only one remote to operate. The DVD recorder/player is powered by Sonic Solutions' AuthorScriptTM DVD engine, the same DVD creation technology used by Hollywood. The first and only networked set-top of its kind, the DVR with DVD Recorder/Player enables the creation of personal DVDs from DVR content libraries, and the ability to take recorded shows and watch them on the go. Scientific-Atlanta's DVR with built-in DVD Recorder/Player has received the Consumer Electronics Association's "Best of Innovations" award for Video Components in the CES Innovations 2006 Awards competition.
  • Voice, Data and Wireless – Named an “Innovations 2006 Design and Engineering Honoree” by the CEA, Scientific-Atlanta’s DCP2223™ Voice over IP cable modem with DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephony) enables the consumer to use cordless handsets in the home to access VoIP service. Scientific-Atlanta will also be showing its wireless gateway, wireless caller ID functionality, and a full line of voice, data and wireless products.

Service Providers: Ways to Simplify Launch of Services

  • IPTV Solutions – Whether your networks are DSL, FTTx or HFC, you will want to see how the combination of our latest IPTV set-tops in development and a robust switched video network can deliver new and exciting entertainment services to consumers. Enhanced navigation experiences, next-generation digital video recording and expanded personal applications are just a sample of the new enriched IPTV services on the horizon.
  • OCAP – With an eye on the future and support of interoperability of OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) applications across cable networks, Scientific-Atlanta is committed to the development of next-generation platforms. Our solutions are designed to provide new revenue-generating opportunities for operators as they expand their services, while simplifying the launch of services.

A Visionary Leap:
While booth demonstrations of these products are futuristic concepts, and the products are not currently in production, Scientific-Atlanta is exploring these innovative technologies to complement consumer trends.

  • DVR to Phone Applications – Provide the access and control your consumers are looking for, using their mobile phone. At CES, Scientific-Atlanta and Sprint will demonstrate applications that enable subscribers to check what’s on television tonight from their mobile phone; program their DVR from their mobile phone; stream broadcast television to their mobile phone; stream previously recorded programs from their DVR to their mobile phone; and even track the location of their child’s mobile phone on the television.
  • High-Definition Multi-Room™ DVR – With Scientific-Atlanta’s High-Definition Multi-Room DVR, you can one day view, control and share recorded DVR content in both standard-definition and high-definition programming. A concept demonstration will show how simple it is to use, explain the benefits of having all content stored in one place, enable consumers to see how to access stored content from multiple rooms, and highlight the convenience of everyone watching what they want, when they want, where they want - with true clarity.
  • Media Center – A concept demonstration that streams MP3 audio, digital photos, games and home movies stored on a PC to a television using a Media Center set-top. Using your advanced digital services, video, music, pictures and games truly converge, providing subscribers with all they need, in one network.
  • DVR Direct to Disc – Scientific-Atlanta will showcase a business model demonstrating a feature of our DVR with built-in DVD Recorder/Player that includes the ability for service providers to one day offer downloads of content on-demand, including movies and music, giving consumers the power to purchase content and directly burn copies of DVDs and/or CDs using their set-top box.
  • Residential Gateway — A demonstration of Scientific-Atlanta’s prototype xDSL modem with integrated HPNA3 IP Over Coax technology highlights the ability to reuse existing cabling in the home to easily connect next generation IPTV devices.

*Note to Editors:
Scientific-Atlanta will be exhibiting at CES Unveiled, the official press event of the 2006 International CES show, on Tuesday, January 3, 2006, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM in the Bellini Ballroom of the Venetian Hotel (next to the Sands Expo and Convention Center). For more information and an invitation to attend and preview Scientific-Atlanta’s show highlights, please contact Sara Stutzenstein at sara.stutzenstein@sciatl.com.

To request an at-show briefing with a Scientific-Atlanta executive attending the Show January 5-8, please contact Sara Stutzenstein at sara.stutzenstein@sciatl.com.

About Scientific-Atlanta
Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. (NYSE: SFA - http://www.scientificatlanta.com) is a leading supplier of digital content distribution systems, transmission networks for broadband access to the home, digital interactive set-tops and subscriber systems designed for video, high-speed Internet and voice over IP (VoIP) networks, and worldwide customer service and support.

"Forward-looking statements," as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, may be included in this news release. A variety of factors could cause Scientific-Atlanta's actual results to differ from the anticipated results expressed in such forward-looking statements. Investors are referred to Scientific-Atlanta's Cautionary Statements (Exhibit 99.1 to the Company's most recent Form 10-Q), which statements are incorporated into this news release by reference.

###

Contacts:
Sara Stutzenstein, Scientific-Atlanta, +1.770.236.2181, +1.770.236.3088/fax, sara.stutzenstein@sciatl.com
Peggy Ballard, Scientific-Atlanta, +1.770.236.7871, +1.770.236.3088/fax, peggy.ballard@sciatl.com

For more information visit http://www.scientificatlanta.com. Writers and editors may access a variety of information on the company and its product, as well as downloadable images, by selecting News Center from the home page. Scientific-Atlanta, the Scientific-Atlanta logo and Explorer are registered trademarks and Multi-Room, 8000 and 8300 are trademarks of Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.



Posted by Mike at 8:45 PM
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

DTS will Demonstrate DTS-HD Master Audio

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DTS will finally demonstrate its DTS-HD Master Aaudio format at CES 2006 in Las Vegas. Its initial announcement came in October of 2004. Here are the highlights from the press release:

  • DTS Digital Surround (DTS' core 5.1 technology) has been selected as mandatory audio technology for both Blu-ray Disc (BD) and High Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD-DVD).
  • DTS-HD has been selected as an optional feature in both formats
  • DTS-HD is a set of extensions to DTS' Coherent Acoustics audio coding system which encompasses DTS Digital Surround, DTS-ES 6.1 discrete, DTS Neo:6 and DTS 96/24.
  • DTS-HD™ is the only technology that will deliver lossless surround sound for these new disc formats, ensuring the highest quality audio performance available in the new standards.
  • As a mandatory technology in the next generation standards, a DTS decoder will be built into every HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc player.
  • One single DTS-HD datastream on a disc can carry everything from standard DTS 5.1 playable on virtually all existing 280 million plus DTS decoders, all the way to lossless for next-generation systems.
Read the press release ...

Posted by Mike at 9:54 PM
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Denon S-101 Review

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Chief Audioholic Gene DellaSala reviews Denon S-101. He covers his experience from unpacking to DVD transport. In conclusion Mr DellaSala compares it with Bose 321 system that, you obviously guessed, is inferior in quality and feature set. Review is very thorough with tests of few DVD and CD titles. Here is what he had to say on S101 in the conclusion:
"The Denon S-101 makes a gallant effort of delivering all of the major surround formats into a 2 speaker + subwoofer, easy to use, and cosmetically appealing platform. While it can by no means replace what a good discrete 5.1 speaker system could achieve in terms of surround envelopment and dynamics, its value, ease of setup, and space savings make it an attractive package for people dabbling in home theater without making a big commitment in space, money, and the learning curve of setting up more elaborate alternative systems."
And I can only agree with him - while $999 can buy a decent audio system that will outperform Denon, it will lack many features and convenience that S-101 provides.

Read the full review here ...

Posted by Mike at 9:37 PM
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Onkyo D-312E Bookshelf Audiophile Speakers

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Onkyo Europe released D-312E tagged as an audiophile quality 2-Way bass reflex speakers. D-312E drivers are made of A-OMF, or Onkyo Micro Fiber that utilizes a pure cotton weave to absorb vibrations. It is claimed that thin yet rigid flexing diaphragm enables an extremely fast and accurate response. These are the main highlights of the product:
• New, improved A-OMF diaphragm for better transient response
• Supported by a large voice coil (65 mm) for power handling
• Oversized, high-strength ferrite magnet to maintain drive power
• Die cast frame construction to prevent vibrations
• New V-Line Edge to remove damaging vibrations from diaphragm’s surface
• Highly responsive ring-drive tweeter for high-frequency sounds
• Aero Acoustic Drive to cut off high frequency interference
• Wood-finished MDF cabinet
• Independent network circuit to mitigate woofer/tweeter interference
• Banana-plug compatible, bi-wiring speaker posts
• Frequency Response: 34 Hz-100 kHz
• Maximum Input Power: 200 W
Source: Onkyo Europe [PDF Link]

Posted by Mike at 8:36 PM
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Meridian Audio G91A DVD Player

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Here is another 'spensive piece from Meridian Audio - G91A DVD player with 1080p (1920x1080) support. It is priced at €6900 ( about $8200 ). For this price you would expect everything to be included, right? Wrong. This thing does not support SACD and the CD layer of DualDisk. It does not support anything above 480p and 576p on component input.
So here is what you get for $8200 - playback of DVD-Video and DVD-Audio, CD, MP3, and Video CD ( like we really need it ). There are 3 analog stereo inputs, which are unbalanced and digital S/PDIF: two stereo coax inputs and two stereo Toslink optical inputs. Audio outputs are analog 6-channel RCA, and 6-channel bitstream over HDMI. Note that this unit does not have a balanced XLR output which is kinda expected from an audiophile component. However, the company says they are available if preferred which means paying more.
On the video side, things are as follows:2 composite input and 1 output, 3 S-Video inputs and 1 output, 1 component input and 1 output, and and HDMI output. Ok, what I do not understand is availability of excessive number of composite and S-Video inputs and even more the outputs. Does Meridian really think that I would buy an $8000 dollar device and use a composite video output to my $300 27" RCA TV? And where are the digital video inputs?

Source: Meridian Audio

Posted by Mike at 5:18 PM
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Panasonic PT-AE900U Review Roundup

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Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector rivals highly acclaimed Sanyo PLV-Z4. According to some readings I have done over last couple of months, Panasonic is doing a better job than PLVZ4 although by specifications, Sanyo is a clear winner. Especially if you compare two by their contrast ratio. Basically, not counting a few properties, these two share the same feature set and for someone new to video projection image will seem the same. However, there is one major difference that will put my bias towards Panasonic - deinterlacing. Every review of PLV-Z4 states that projector lacks good deinterlacing and will be complete only when used with external video processor. Trust me that you will have more 480i output from various sources, such as that VCR which you still cannot part with or your cable set-top box, that will leave you with no choice but to go for a video scaler. There are many other reasons before 2009 for someone to care about deinterlacing and PLV-Z4 is not in the list of projectors that are "designed" for 480i video. In contrast, HomeTheaterHiFi does like the deinterlacing capabilities of PT-AE900U. And that is the major difference that makes me wander my preference towards Panasonic.

So here is a collection of links that will make your job much easier in making a decision.
Similar LCD Projectors:

Posted by Mike at 4:33 PM
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Wireless Uncompressed HDTV

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Amimon is a startup that is trying to be a new player in the wireless transmission field. Their innovation spreads into the area where no one else have gone yet - high-definition video. Scary, but the company has presented a semiconductor based on their WHDI( Wireless High Definition Interface ) patent pending technology that can transfer uncompressed video up to 1080i without wires given that data rates do not exceed 1.5Gbps. The technology, which has been already presented to some Japanese and Korean display manufacturers, will be presented to the public at CES 2006 in Las Vegas, and, according to the company's press release, will be put into mass production in the second half of 2006.
All I can say, it is impressive as long as what is claimed is what we get in a form of a projector or a flat screen without massive distortion in video. Convenience will be invaluable.
In addition, company says they are working on other technologies for compressed video delivery over UWB ( Ultra Wide Band ) and 802.11n

Read full press release ...

Posted by Mike at 2:05 PM
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Jamo A 360 On-Wall Speaker

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Jamo introduced a new speaker that combines left, center, and right channels into one single enclosure and comes with a tiltable wall mount so you can adjust the direction precisely to your setup. So, the 360 series is to compete in a market of a single piece surround sound solutions among which there are Yamaha YSP, Polk Audio SurroundBar, Binaura. And when I say single piece that does not include a subwoofer since all of these speakers, including latest from Jamo does require a sub to cover all of the range. Jamo A 360 stuffed with 6 speaker drivers arranged in 2.5 way design. Price of the A 360 is £300 ( about $528 )

Source: HomeCinemaChoice.com

Related Stories:
Other Jamo Products:

Posted by Mike at 1:33 PM
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Pioneer PDP-4360HD Review

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CNET reviews Pioneer PDP-4360HD 42-inch 1024x768 plasma display scoring 8.0 out of 10 which as excellent rate by their system. One thing I was most interested when Pioneer announced these displays was 3:3 pull-down for film sources. Here is what CNET review says about it:

The video processing was decent, with 2:3 pull-down evident in the Standard setting of the Pure Cinema feature. The Advanced setting gives you 3:3 pull-down at 72Hz in an attempt to smooth the "jutter" that 2:3 pull-down from film transfers otherwise preserves. While we found it did indeed smooth the jerky motion on the opening pan of Star Trek: Insurrection, stationary objects, such as the buildings in the scene, became shaky and vibrated a bit. We found the standard 2:3 pull-down setting preferable. In fairness to Pioneer, the company literally pioneered this feature, and it has improved since last year, but in our opinion it's still not quite ready for prime time.
Street price of the display ranges from $3100 to $3500 and is a bit over the range of similar products, especially Panasonic.

Read ...

Posted by Mike at 1:20 PM
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Movie Theaters want your Cell Phone Jammed

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This is getting off limits. First we heard about 20 minutes of commercials before the movie starts, and now movie theaters went on to ask FCC to jam cell phones inside the theaters. These people do not understand that forcing things will not make us go to movies. Instead of creating more value for the buck, they make things really uncomfortable. I am for one will not consciously go into a place, be it a movie theater or anywhere else, where my cell phone would not work. As much as I do not like a phone conversation behind me in the movie theater, I do need my phone to be on 24/7 for unexpected. I can be hold responsible for not putting it on the vibrate or silent and if I talk while in the theater. Why don't they hire bouncers for each theater and politely enforce only those that do not abide by rules.

Source: Engadget.com

Posted by Mike at 1:06 PM
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ReplayTV Out of Hard PVR Market

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ReplayTV announced that it is going out from the market of PVR set-top boxes to concentrate on making software video recorders. They have partnered with Hauppauge, maker of TV tuners for PC to make the software compatible and probably provide software /hardware bundles. Other than the benefit of adding a competition in already saturated by Microsoft, SageTV, SnapStream, and tons of opensource recorder market, I do not see any new innovations coming from the ReplayTV camp. This is just a strategic move for D&M holdings, the owner of ReplayTV, to not close the company with an attempt to explore an avenue they see most fit.

Source: eCoustics
Press Release: ReplayTV.com

Posted by Mike at 12:54 PM
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Sony VPL-VW100 Review Part 1

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Tom Norton of Ultimate AV has published part one of review of Sony VPL-VW100 SXRD 1080p projector. Since its introduction, VPL-VW100 ( code name Ruby )has been a topic of tremendous interest even from people that do not recognize LCD projector for video. In this part of the review, emphasis is given to features and some basic tests. And obviously there is no conclusion although he says it should take an earthquake to make this projector a no go. Anyways, Sony VPL-VW100 is one of the best projectors in the market for $10,000 price range and in some cases it outperforms its bigger $30,000 brother Qualia 004. Here is an excerpt of choice:
The black level from the Sony is so impressive that it's easy at first to overlook its other attributes. It produces a very sharp, yet at the same time very creamy-smooth picture. Most of my watching so far has been to DVDs, and it isn't all that easy to see the improvement that upconversion of a 480i source to 1080p brings in contrast to the more common 720p. A number of other price-competitive projectors will equal the Sony with respect to subjective sharpness, detail, and color (though remember, a full color calibration of the Sony is coming in Part II), and some provide more flexible setup controls (though they're really only useful if you have test tools). Occasionally these will even look slightly sharper than the Sony on some program material. But then never look better overall—thanks to those great blacks. Nor are they less audibly intrusive—thanks to the quiet fan. And many of them are at least a little compromised by the rainbows that still afflict all single-chip DLP projectors (some more than others, but this is not a factor at all with the Sony's three-chip SXRD configuration). And all of those that challenge the Sony in other respects apart from its black level are priced as high or higher.



Here are the links to other Sony VPL-VW100 reviews.
Related: Sony VPL-VW100 Review Part 2

Posted by Mike at 11:46 AM
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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Polk Audio Surround Bar Review

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Ecoustic / CNET has a review of Polk Audio SurroundBar one piece surround sound speaker. Similar to Yamaha YSP series, this is a partial solution to "fooling" yourself into real surround sound but in the same time is a viable solution to many installations, especially retrofit ones.
The good: Sleek single-speaker surround system; five speakers in one; extruded-aluminum cabinet; flexible setup options; nonreflective virtual-surround effect works regardless of room design and layout; wall-mount bracket and table stand included.

The bad: Somewhat expensive; hardly an ideal choice for music lovers; you still need to invest in a subwoofer.

The bottom line: A single-speaker surround system, the Polk Audio SurroundBar works best as a home-theater solution for small rooms.
Source: eCoustics.com
Related Stories:

Posted by Mike at 10:51 AM
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Morel Vario On-Wall Speakers

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Morel, known for its speaker drivers, is presenting a somewhat interesting idea in their new Vario line of on-wall speakers that are flexible in terms of size. So, you can pull those speakers from the sides so its length matches that of the plasma screen. Honestly, I have no idea why would someone be interested in such design. I think it is just a way of having something "different".
Although, these are on-walls, specs are promising: frequency range - 30Hz-20000Hz, sensitivity - 89Db, nominal power - 200 Watts with peak at 1000Watts. And to top this off, Morel offers a subwoofer that matches Vario speakers by design - technical and aesthetically.
Source: AVRev.com
Product page: Morel

Posted by Mike at 10:26 AM
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

JVC UX-HD1-M Mini System with hard drive

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JVC UX-HD1-M Mini System with Hard Drive
As far as I know - JVC UX-HD1-M Mini System would be the first one in the market ( don't get your hopes to high - Japanese market only) that embeds a hard drive and an ethernet port. This thing can connect to the Internet and download music from ANYTIME music store ( iTunes of Japan ) or just stream the files from you PC. Also, UX-HD1-M has a huge color LCD screen for managing 40Gb of music collection and displaying album art. If you still have a MD player, you can copy music from HDD to MD, or even better, the system has a front USB port so you can connect your ALNEO portable. I can assume that any other portable player will work with the USB unless JVC went real nasty on it.

Source: AkihabaraNews
Product Page: JVC UX-HD1-M

Posted by Mike at 2:24 PM
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Headphone Group Test

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AVReview UK puts to test 5 headphones in midrange price category. The lineup is:
Although, all of the headphones do make into a highly recommended list only one is noted to excel in all genres. And you have probably guessed which cans are those: Grado SR125. One of my favorites.

Read more ...

Posted by Mike at 3:31 PM
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Jamo R 909 Open Baffle Speakers

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It is obvious that Jamo looked very carefully at Orion speaker design from Mr Siegfried Linkwitz. It might even be possible that Mr Linkwitz had a word in R 909 series because both share so much in common, namely being a 3-way dipole although using different speaker drivers. But there is one big difference between R909 and Orion design. Orion uses active crossovers and drives each driver with a separate amplifier whereas R909 is similar to a regular speaker with a passive crossover built-in with cut off frequencies at 250Hz and 2000Hz.
Being a big fan of open baffle design I am biased and cannot really judge about R909 rather than saying they must be really good. Technical specs are nothing but real perfection, for example, frequency range coverage spans from very low of 25Hz to 20Khz. Even Jamo puts these speakers above their cabinet models. The company claims that these speakers eliminate coloration and reverberation and designed by following the theory that speakers should not have cabinets.
But R909 is priced not to fit budgets of most mortals: £7500 ( about $13000 ). Some may argue that price is just right but not for me. I think Orion by Linkwitz, the inspiration ( and the theory ) for all open baffle designs, costs from $6000 to $8000 with amplifier, crossover, and cables. Orions looks less sexy, but if one's demanding ear developed up to this level, the look should be the least of the worries.

Source: AVReview UK
Product Page: Jamo R909

Posted by Mike at 2:07 PM
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Denon AVR-4306 Released in Europe

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Ok folks, highly anticipated AVR4306 is released in Europe as Denon's UK sites indicates. It was first announced this summer and to refresh your memory, it is a 130Watt ( 8 Ohms ) x 7 channel receiver with native iPod support, similar to S301 and S101, USB ports for connectivity with memory sticks, external hard drives, or portable audio players. In addition it has an Ethernet port that can be used to configure and control the device as well as stream audio from the PC and YES, from Internet. This device features Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction that was reviewed by AVRev just recently with very positive feedback. AVR-4306 also integrates Faroudja FLI-2310 chip for video upconversion to 1080i on the HDMI input.
Denon AVR-4306 is truly an amazing device packed with features that one would get in multiple components. The price is also as wonderful as the device - $2000. That is cheap for what you get.

Product page: Denon UK
Source: Engadget

Posted by Mike at 11:24 AM
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Denon AVR-4806 Review

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AV Revolution has a very detailed review of Denon's AVR-4806 7-channel THX Ultra 2 certified receiver. AVR4806 is one step below Denon's flagship AVR-5805. Even though being not a top-of-the line, this receiver is, according to the author, can easily be compared with flagships of other manufacturers. The review covers details of setup, including automatic calibration ( MultiEQ ) with very positive results that very similar to manual calibration. In my opinion auto room correction with this quality is a very big advantage. Author also talks about his experience in listening to stereo as well as 5.1 channel surround sound. He does seem excited about the whole thing. And since all products have problems, review does tell you about problems AVR-4806 but they are not of the sort that would make anyone not to buy this receiver. Namely, big size of the component and the fact that it gets warm, too many inputs/outputs can cause lots of confusions and mess with cables, etc. I think those are problems that can be taken under the control especially after being warned by this review.

Read the full review at AVRev.com

Posted by Mike at 9:48 PM
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Toshiba Releases 2 new DLP Projectors - TDP-T9 and TDP-S8

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AkihabaraNews reports that Toshiba Japan has release 2 new DLP Projectors targeting presentation market. TDP-T9 features a XGA ( 1024 x 768 ) DMD panel and has 2000 Lumen and TDP-S8 - SVGA ( 800 x 600 ) with 1800 Lumen. T9 projector has a laser pointer on the remote that can connect to the USB port of the PC and control it.

Read Toshiba's press release...

Posted by Mike at 4:41 PM
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Fujitsu/Hitachi Drops Smallest 1080p Plasma

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Today Fujitsu and Hitachi demonstrated the first 42-inch 1080p display. In the race to get smaller (which is kind of odd-sounding) Panasonic was the first to announce and show a 50-inch model few months. Ok, so the new 42-incher sports 3000:1 contrast ratio and peak brightness is 1000cd/cm. No pricing, no availability info at the moment.

Read what other write:
Source: Fujitsu

Posted by Mike at 12:05 PM
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

20 minutes of advertisements in movie theaters

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USA Today reports that ZenithOptimedia, a forecast company, monitored an increase in in-theater advertisement spending to 18% ( $400 million) which quantifies as 20 minutes of ads before the movie starts. Yep, another bad move by movie theaters. This is a move that will most likely make things even worse because people will simply refuse to sit through ads and instead turn to renting regardless of the quality of home theater equipment. In a recent post I have mentioned and agreed with Alexander Grundner from eHomeUpgrade, that movie theaters must improve by offering more. In turn, they add more inconvenience to the experience, some, including me, think are necessary for our social life. With addition of more adds, I do not think I will keep the same opinion. I'd rather have my friends over for a movie and a great time together.
Movie theaters ship is sinking and they are adding more weight to it.

Read the full article ...

Posted by Mike at 2:28 PM
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Sharp's 65-inch LCD TV in Canada

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Sharp announced December 2005 availability of Aquos LC65D90U 65-inch LCD television. To refresh your memory, this TV features a 1080p ( 1920 x 1080 ) full HD panel with 12ms refresh rate enclosed in slim titanium cabinet. The only caveat of LC65D90U is the price - $24999 Canadian's ( US $21,554 ).

Related stories:
Source: Digital Home Canada

Posted by Mike at 2:13 PM
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Marantz DV6600 DVD Player

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Marantz announced DV6600 DVD player with flexible HDMI output that can do 480p, 720p, or 1080i with a push of a button. I do not understand why it is called a DVD player: this thing is capable of reproducing almost everything including DVD-Audio, SACD, MP3, WMA9, and DviX ( up to version 5.1.1 ). DV9600 features 192Khz/24-bit audio DACs. Signal to noise ratio is 115Db, sensitivity at 100DB for DVD and 98DB for CD and total harmonic distortion of less 0.004% (on CD at 1KHz). Specs are pretty impressive for a device that is priced at 52,000 Yen ( or $430 ).

Source: Marantz Japan

Posted by Mike at 6:50 PM
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Marantz CR101 CD Player

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Marantz Japan announces CR101 Personal CD player which also features a clock, an AM/FM radio, and a sleep timer which makes it a bedroom "appliance". Wait, it also comes standard with a remote for lazy-asses not to bother.

Source: Marantz Japan

Posted by Mike at 6:35 PM
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Cambridge Audio Azur 640H Review

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Cambridge Audio Azur 640H is a CD player with a 160Gb hard drive. The device is priced at £600 ( about $1050 ) and is not just for regular listeners but will please audiophiles as well. 640H can store up to 30000 tracks of compressed music or 3000 uncompressed variants. It features Wolfson WM8740 24/192kHz DACs that, I am sure, will please audiophiles. The Azur 640H is a very connected device with ethernet and 3 USB ports. It can download or stream music from internet, retrieve album information for the CD. USB ports allow transferring music to and from portable audio players and external hard drives. In addition, you can burn your own compilation from the hard disk to the CD.
According to AVReview UK, 640H is an amazing piece that is perfect for CD playback, has a very intuitive and powerful database. Overall, this is a great device and once used one would rely on it. Although, as AVReview notes, there are some problems in the software but they are not stop-shows. After all, I think software always can be fixed and updated.

Read the review at AVReview UK
Product Page

Posted by Mike at 3:11 PM
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Panasonic news - Double Double Blu-Ray

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Panasonic announced that it has double capacity of Blu-Ray disks to 50GB thus marking another milestone in the war of high definition media formats. The company says that its plant in Torrance, California converted the single layer pilot production line to make dual layer disk thus doubling that capacity.
Read the full press release ...

Posted by Mike at 1:24 PM
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HDBeat has a Sony DHG-HDD250 ATSC Recorder

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Sony DHG-HDD250 ATSC RecorderSo, guys over at HDBeat got their hands on a Sony DHG-HDD250 ATSC Recorder and are sharing their first reaction about the device. The scoop is that it cost an arm and leg - $799. Interface sucks, remote is funny looking but has an HDMI and 2 QAM tuners.

Source: HDBeat.com

Posted by Mike at 1:19 PM
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Digital SDTV and HDTV Maps for Your Area

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HDTV Magazine has maps for each market that currently carry digital SD or HDTV signals. Very useful.
Source: HDBeat.com

Posted by Mike at 1:12 PM
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Samsung SP-P300MK - Pocket DLP Projector

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Samsung SP-P300MK Pocket DLP Projector
Samsung announced that it will present a new micro DLP projector at CES 2006 - SP-P300MK. The maximum image size of this projector is 63" from the distance of 2.8 meters ( a tad more than 9 feet) and is perfect for presentations. The contrast ratio is 1000:1 and the price is set to 800,000 Won ( about $774 ). Apparently, Samsung does not talk about DMD panel resolution and other features.

Source: AkihabaraNews.com

Posted by Mike at 1:02 PM
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Toshiba RD-T1 and the RD-X6 DVD / HDD Recorders

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Toshiba has an upgraded HDD / DVD recorder in their lineup RD-T1 that boosts 1Terabyte of hard disk space whereas the RD-X6 features 600Gb. DVD recorder can accept DVD-RAM (4.7 GB single sided / 9.4 GB dual sided), DVD-R (one side 4.7 GB), DVD-R DL (2 layers 8.5GB) and DVD-RW. Recording is done using MPEG-2 format. There are also The device is available in Japan for 228,000 Yen (about $1800).

Source: NewLaunches.com

Posted by Mike at 12:44 PM
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Reviews

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Sanyo PLV-Z4 LCD ProjectorSanyo PLV-Z4 is the successor of ever successful PLV-Z2, PLV-Z3. According to all reviews that have popped up on the internet since shipping, collective opinion is that Z4 represents one of, if not the best LCD projector in $2000-$3000 price range. PLVZ4 boosts a 7000:1 contrast ratio due to dynamically adjusting dual iris and 3 high contrast 0.7 LCD panels. Newly introduced 2x zoom lens with vertical and horizontal shift makes the projector very easy to install regardless of the room size and, as one of the reviewers suggests, can be installed on a bookshelf behind the sofa and save you from the hassles ( I would also add price associated with it ) of ceiling mounting. Color reproduction have been improved but some reviewers feel that it could have been better. One feature that is collectively lacks quality is deinterlacing of standard video. Everyone suggests a external video processor for that purpose only. So, theoretically, this brings the price of the projector and the necessary equipment up by another $1000 or so for a moderate deinterlacer. Even with the deinterlacing problem, Sanyo PLV-Z4 is a steal at $2000 ( some online retailers even sell it for about $1800 ). So sit tight - here are the links to reviews that appeared on the net for PLVZ4:

Posted by Mike at 6:41 PM
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A Scratch-Less Disc

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A little tweak can do a lot of good. That is a case with a Scratch-Less Disc. The company named after its invention is claiming a method that will make an optical disk virtually scratch proof. To achieve this they added little bumps on the perimeter of the disk that prevents the surface of the disk to touch hard surfaces. It is all shown on the picture. All I can say is idea sounds and looks great. Will big guys pick this up?

Source: CDFreaks
Product page: Scratchless-Disk

Posted by Mike at 2:15 PM
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NeuNeo HVD2085 Reviewed - Twice today

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Ubergizmo reviewed NeuNeo HVD2085 DVD player. All I can say, it is flawed and does not really provide the correct information as to what this player is capable of. First of all, the test does not use the digital output because it did not come with the player. This is not acceptable because anyone who wants to buy this player will buy it for its digital output. Second, they compare it to a Windows Media Center without telling what software and configuration they use to play DVDs. Anyways, I do not want to bash - just my opinion on the review. The only thing that this review teaches me is this is how average consumer will have their system setup - without utilizing the full potential of the hardware. And of course I am saying that NeuNeo HVD2085 is a good player.

One the other hand, DesignTechnica has a really nice review of the product and goes in much deaper detail and does a good job on sharing the experience. Read it.

Review 1: Ubergizmo
Review 2: DesignTechnica

Posted by Mike at 11:36 AM
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PRESS RELEASE:Latest NXT Technology Announced

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This is a new technology unveiled by NXT, inventor of flat panel speakers.


23 Nov 2005

NXT plc, a provider of unique sound solutions, best known for its flat panel loudspeaker technology, announced the launch of its Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) technology at a press event in Huntingdon this morning.
BMR builds on NXT’s expertise in bending wave physics by using a unique balancing technique, which allows flat panels to be used in wide bandwidth drive units. The panels, which can be either circular or rectangular, are mounted in a chassis much like a conventional drive unit. This similarity aids the manufacturing process, allowing BMR drive units to be built using conventional loudspeaker techniques.
While BMR’s low frequency performance is equivalent to conventional drive units of the same size, the high frequency range is extended with the wide directivity characteristic of all NXT technologies. Increasing the bandwidth in this way means that the number of drivers required to cover a given frequency range can be reduced. As the technology is scalable, full range drivers are feasible, potentially eliminating any requirement for low frequency-specific loudspeakers.
BMR is suited to a broad range of applications, with the rectangular devices particularly suitable for slim line aesthetic designs. NXT Chief Technology Officer, Henry Azima, commented “Ten years after the filing of the original Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) patents, our development teams continue to invent and evolve our existing technologies. The latest NXT technology is a result of our commitment to inventiveness and underlines our expertise in the field of bending wave physics.”

Posted by Mike at 11:18 AM
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Friday, December 02, 2005

Flat HDMI and DVI cables

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Wireworld has a 4mm flat HDMI and DVI cables that claimed to reach 50-feet and are UL-C3 and CSA-FT4 rated. The company claims that flat cables eliminate timing errors cause by conductor length differential in round cables. What a great non-sense. There could be a differential but timing error caused would be in fractions of a nanosecond.
Price for the 50-feet cable - $2100. For $2100 I will be happy to look at timing errors. And how easy will it be to do a in-wall install of a flat cable. At least this company could say "under carpet install or even on-wall install" to win our hearts. And bring the price down.

Source: HDBeat

Posted by Mike at 10:07 AM
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PRESS RELEASE: Velodyne SMS-1

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Velodyne’s SMS-1 Extends Digital Drive Bass Management Capability to any Subwoofer


Morgan Hill, CA (December 1, 2005) -- Leveraging their patent-pending bass management system previously found only in the Digital Drive® line of subwoofers, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of powered subwoofers for home-theater and consumer audio, has recently introduced the Subwoofer Management System (SMS™-1) as a stand-alone unit for use with any subwoofer.The SMS-1, configured as an outboard processor in a one-inch high chassis, offers all the features of the DSP-controlled Digital Drive room correction software and includes all the tools necessary to maximize the performance of any subwoofer. The SMS-1 comes with a full-featured remote control, a calibrated high precision microphone, mic stand and cables.“It’s the subwoofer’s job to integrate into the user’s system, not the other way around,” said Bruce Hall, president of Velodyne. “There are many factors that affect this integration from room size and shape, to where the sub is positioned, to how the main speakers perform, to the interaction between the mains and the sub. All of these create frequency response anomalies that negatively affect a subwoofer’s performance. The SMS-1 offers a simple and innovative solution to correct these anomalies by displaying the response of both the subwoofer and the main speakers in the bass region, and an interactive toolset to correct them. With the flexibility and adjustability of the SMS-1, bass will be noticeably cleaner with better definition with virtually any subwoofer.”The process for measuring and correcting room anomalies is as simple as placing the microphone in the user’s favorite listening position and pressing a few buttons on the remote control. The SMS-1 displays the system’s response visually on any TV and provides an 8-band digital parametric equalizer to flatten it. The unit includes an auto-EQ mode that automatically adjusts the equalizer. The SMS-1 also offers complete digital control over crossovers, slopes, phase, polarity and other settings to create a seamless interface between the main speakers and the subwoofer.The included remote control comes preprogrammed with four fully adjustable listening mode presets for action adventure movies, movies, pop/rock and jazz/classical, plus a fifth open preset that can be set to the user’s preference. Each of the five presets can be totally customized. There is also an EQ defeat preset that demonstrates the benefit of the SMS-1 equalizer. In addition, future revisions to the software for the SMS-1 will be available from the Velodyne website, enabling access to new features and functionality incorporated into later designs.
The SMS-1 is available now with a suggested retail price of $749.
About Velodyne
Velodyne Acoustics, Inc., founded in 1983, is universally recognized as the leading manufacturer of high-performance, low distortion powered subwoofers at all price levels. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, the company’s technically innovative audio products are available through a select group of authorized dealers, custom installers, and distributors worldwide. For more information visit www.velodyne.com.

Posted by Mike at 9:56 AM
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Sony VPL-HS60 10000:1 LCD Projector

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Sony claims that its new VPL-HS60 3 720p ( 1280x720 ) LCD panel projector is capable of producing 10000:1 contrast ratio with 1200 Lumen. These are the main features of HS60:
* HD Ready
* Sony 0.73-inch p-Si TFT 720p 3LCD panels
* 16:9 native aspect ratio
* W-XGA resolution, with 2.8 million pixels (1280 x 720 x 3)
* Contrast ratio of 10,000:1, thanks to Sony’s groundbreaking “Advanced Iris Control” function
* Brightness of 1200 ANSI lumen
* Screen size of 40 - 200-inch (1 - 5 metres)
* Superior lens enables wide and flexible throwing range (e.g. for an 80-inch / 2 metres screen throw distance is 2.4 - 3.7m)
* 1.6 times zoom lens (average on other projectors is 1.2 – 1.3 times)
* Fan noise of 23dB
* A superior All Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) lens to improve image uniformity.
* A beautiful, sleek cabinet design with black and silver colours
* Optional accessory ceiling bracket, model PSS-610NL
* Connections: HDMI, Compenent Video, S-Video, Composite Video, D-Sub 15-pin PC connection, and a 12 Volt Trigger out"
Source: HomeCinema Choice

Posted by Mike at 9:41 AM
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Doremi Labs V1-HD HDTV Recorder

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Not that you are going to buy one of these for your home theater but it will give you an idea what pros are playing with in HDTV land. V1-HD from Doremi Labs is a compressed HDTV disk recorder that is claimed to be a drop-in-replacement for any HD tape recorder. This beast can independently record and play at whopping 2K resolution. In fact, Doremi Labs, has showed V1-HD playing back 4 streams of 2K resolution on Sony SXRD 4K projector. Ok, so here are the highlights of the product:

* Compressed HD and SD video recording up to 300 Mbits/sec
* High Quality JPEG 2000 compression at 8 or 10bit (12bit optional)
* Simultaneous record and play operation (optional)
* Instant access to the recorded video, audio and time code
* Record multiple SD and HD video formats on the same storage
* Create video clips, loops and playlists from the front panel
* Smooth fast and slow motion playback
* Up to 6 channels analog and 8 channels digital audio
* 720p, 1080i, 1080p (24sf), 525 and 625 support
* Front panel video monitoring LCD screen (option)
* Frame accurate control via RS-422 using standard control protocols
* Dual Link 4:4:4, 10 or 12bit, 24p SF input (option)

And for those craving deep specs - here they are:
  • HD-SDI and SDI
  • 720p (50, 60 Hz), 1080i (50, 60 Hz)
  • 1080p (25, 30 fps), 1080 24sf,
  • 625 (50Hz) and 525 (60Hz)
  • DLNK-2K - Dual Link 4:4:4 24 SF (segmented frame) option (2048x1080)
  • Sync: Tri Level and Bi Level sync input
  • Audio: 2 Analog Audio Channels standard (up to 6 optional), AES/EBU up to 8 channels, plus embedded audio on SDI
  • Other: 2 RS-422 ports, Biphase, 100Base-T, Gigabit Ethernet option, GPI option
Read the press release at HDTV Magazine or check the product page at Doremi Labs

Posted by Mike at 9:23 AM
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