Sunday, February 26, 2006

DLP vs LCD?

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I have posted my commentary on Tom Norton's review of Sony VPL-Vw100 and stated that if not his comparison of VPL-VW100 with Yamaha DPX-1300. Tom's observation is that Yamaha has more light output and accurate color compared to Ruby. Since I have not seen Ruby myself and my comment is solely based on Tom's review and my own observations of LCD technology in general ( call it SXRD, LCOS, D-ILA, etc ).

One of the readers commented that there is no DLP projector that can go neck to neck with VPL-VW100. I have a strong opinion about this particular topic but I would love to get more people involved in the discussion. Generally speaking, LCD vs DLP, and in particular VPL-VW100 vs other similarly priced DLP front projectors. I am not aware, but if there is another LCD projector - bring it on. Lets talk! And thanks to Charlie for his comment!

Posted by Mike at 3:25 PM
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mitsubishi HD4000U WXGA DLP Projector

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Mitsubishi today announced an addition to the DLP projector lineup - HD4000U WXGA ( 1280x768). HD4000U boosts 2000 lumen with 2500:1 contrast ratio. The projector is based on latest DDP3020 chipset from TI featuring TrueVision™ Image Processing with BrilliantColor. HD4000U is capable of accepting video signals ranging from variations of NTSC, PAL, SECAM to 1080i, as well as computer resolutions of up to 1280x1024 in compressed mode. Video inputs include RGB 15pin D-SUB, HDMI, RCA composite, S-Video and 3-RCA component. It is suitable for home theater for its ability to perform 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown. Another notable fact is the usage of a 10-bit ADC for analog inputs.
HD4000U features a digital vertical shift and keystone correction. While digital corrections are noparticularlyly good for the picture quality, it does give some installation flexibility.
HD4000U is available right now with MSRP of $2995.

Press Release: eCoustics
Product Page: Mitsubishi Presentation

Posted by Mike at 3:10 PM
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Monday, February 20, 2006

Wireless 1080p! At last.

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Radioshpire Networks is another semiconductor company eager to share the fame with startup Amimon and veteran IBM. This year at CES they have presented the first wireless chip that's capable of transmitting HDTV up to 1080p without compressing the source signal.In conrtast, both Amimon and IBM do not handle 1080p. IBM's prototype is the only one with compression.
The new chipset solution consists of a SiGe RF transceiver chip, ADC/DAC, and a CMOS baseband device. It operates in the 3.1-4.8GHz range to avoid interference with 802.11b/g/n and 802.11a devices that operate in the 2.4 GHz and 5.1-5.85 GHz bands, respectively. The 720p/1080i configuration is sampling now with 1080p to follow in 2H06.
Everything seems to be just perfect except that the range of transmission is limited to 15 feet for now. Until then Amimon is the closest in delivering a wireless HDTV. And come to think, 1080p is great, but do we really need it? Isn't 1080i the best broadcasters can do? I know what you think, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are around the corner with true 1080p material. Do you think wireless 1080p is a necessity or will be in a near future?


Related Stories:
Read the press release: Radiospire Networks

Posted by Mike at 10:32 PM
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Sick Pleasures!

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No one said that TV is a living room "appliance". They come in many different diagonals, enclosures, and disguises. If you are that kind of a person, La Scala bathtub TV/DVD with surround sound may just seem to be logical. I would not mind having one of these La Scalas as a replacement for the tub I never use. Imagine the dramatic increase of statistical data under the column name"men taking a bath"? I will be a statistic for sure. I'll even take a survey. My inner voice tells me that this is the system with the best picture quality and the best sound despite the fact of unpublished technical specifications and the price. With that floating remote control it definitely is a Sick Pleasure!

Source: A Bathroom Guide

Posted by Mike at 9:53 PM
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Sony VPL-VW100 Review Part 2

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Tom Norton of Guide to Home Theater finally published the second part of very much anticipated Sony VPL-VW100 ( aka Ruby ) LCD Projector review. The delay was caused by missing colorimeter which was apparently sent for repair so Thomas was not able to complete the full formal review of the projector. I think it is good since VPL-VW100 was destined to stay "under his supervision" for longer than expected and basically underwent a real world test. I was expecting more problems to be seen but luckily nothing major has been observed. The only problem was problematic power on due to a safety switch in case some nut would attempt to power up the projector with top cover on. Note, that this a pre-production unit and such problems will not face us. Even if they do, it will be covered by the warranty.
In my opinion, Tom's adjustments with gamma did not really make a difference compared to what Sony has out of the box. Charts at their web site actually show that.
Comparison testing has been done with Yamaha DPX-1300, a native 720p DLP projector. According to Mr Norton:
I've only spent time (just a few hours, so far) with one other projector that will give this one a serious run for its money. At a notably more expensive $12,500 the Yamaha DPX-1300 offers more light output (if you open up its manual iris, and admittedly I'm also viewing the Yamaha with a new lamp), more accurate color points, more adjustability, cheaper replacement lamps, and a somewhat sharper image. Yes, the latter observation sounds odd when you consider that the Yamaha has a lower native resolution (1280x720), but the apparent resolution enhancement might be due less to the Yamaha itself than to its Silicon Optix scaler—the current hot ticket in that department.
I have compared Yamaha DPX-1300 with Dwin TransVision 4 and myself prefer DWIN's picture. Actually, everyone in the darkroom shared the same opinion. The reason I bring this up is as much as Sony VPL-VW100 is praised to be the perfect projector, it is not the projector to go neck to neck with DLP's DarkChip 3 ( TV4 is a DC2 in fact ). If not the comparison, I would trust that Sony's projector is the best out there given that its black levels are second to none. But no, DWIN is the winner at the moment in all aspects - picture quality, high brightness, contrast ratio, and much less price.

Related: Sony VPL-VW100 Review Part 1
Source: Guide to Home Theater
Product Page: SonyStyle

Posted by Mike at 6:26 PM
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Video of Panasonic 103-inch Plasma

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CineNow.com interviews Fumi Taniguchi, Manager of Overseas System Marketing Team from Panasonic right in front of the 103-incher plasma display at ISE 2006 in Brussels. Gives you a great idea how big it is in case you missed CES 2006 or ISE 2006. You can very easily conclude how many kilowatts this beast consumes and how hot would it be to interview someone in front of it. Anyways, according to the lady from Panasonic, plasma's pixel bridge ( or the distance between pixels ) is similar to that of a 42 incher. If you do not know, 42-inchers are the most brightest among the family and capable of higher contrast ratio. Another interesting point, besides that it will be priced "reasonable", Panasonic lady says that you will need good content, meaning 1080p signal from the origin, to actually appreciate all inches of this display. She mentioned, that they are going to talk to broadcasters for a good signal - I say good luck.
Panasonic is trying to make it to the market before the end of 2006. Start saving.

Watch the video at CineNow.com

Posted by Mike at 5:32 PM
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Stereo CD and Amp Combo Review

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AVReview Group tests on their bench Stereo CD and amp combos from Cambridge Audio, Marantz, Denon and Arcam.
Here is the score list for each pair on a 10 point scale:
They also mention that the winner is the most expensive and that works against. However, it is the most capable of the four.
Conclusion excerpt:
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say we were blown away by each and every one of the combinations in this group. The standard across the board was highly impressive, and really puts out to pasture any doubts about the strength of the affordable two-channel arena – at least in terms of the quality of the products available. The Quad 12L (£500) loudspeakers that we used with each of the products enjoyed every minute of the workout, and have rarely sounded so good with price-comparable kit.
Source: AVReview UK

Posted by Mike at 5:04 PM
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Friday, February 10, 2006

Shure E4 Review

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Shure's earphones have gained popularity among iPod owners as a better alternative to Apple's own, recently sued, pair of earphones. Not offering a color choices to match the clothes, it does not spoil Shure's earnings to rise the same way as their E4's impedance rises at 15Khz as the tests at Audiophile Audition reveal. Besides the sharp rise of impedance at higher frequencies, reviewer is pretty happy with E4. Here is an excerpt from the article that pretty much says it all:
More recently my plane seat was right next to the large jet engine on an MD-80 and I had to rely on the E4 earphones to not only block out the majority of the noise, but to also provide me with high quality audio from my portable Neuros digital audio player. It's no wonder why these earphones work so well with performers on stage where its audio performance finds its way through the loud background noise.
And note that this review is coming from an audiophile and not a hip-hop listener.
Shure E4 can be purchased at Amazon for $299, $20 less than MSRP.

Source: Audiophile Audition

Posted by Mike at 6:40 PM
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Low Bit-Rate Audio

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It is about time for an authority to step up and talk about the junk that floods online music stores. And who else but Brits. Audio is their passion and they are doing something about it. Namely, British Federation of Audio (BFA) expressed its concerns that consumers are not getting most possible enjoyment with highly compressed downloadable music. BFA tests, as we already know, showed that most popular 128KBit rate compression is highly inferior to CD quality. Even 256kbit and higher do not come close to what CDs offer. True audiophiles are even bitter about CD quality vs SACD and good ol' vinyl.
The problem I see here is most consumers (especially teens) go after convenience and not the quality. Some just take the downloaded audio as if it is as good as it gets. In my opinion music download stores should have a disclaimer saying the quality of the downloaded music is worse than that of CD. Even better, record labels should probably claim the rate of the compression for that particular track on the CD. That would be my ideal world and it is not going to happen.

Source: AVReview UK

Posted by Mike at 12:00 PM
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Dell W5001C 50-inch Plasma Review

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CNET reviewed Dell W5001C 50-inch plasma TV and scores it 6.5 ( or Good ) out 10.

The good: Accurate color decoding; relatively deep blacks; independent memory per input; excellent connectivity, including two HDMI inputs; versatile PIP feature; anti-burn-in mode; optional detachable speakers.

The bad: Black and near-black scenes exhibit substantial false-contouring artifacts and noise.

The bottom line: Although promising on paper, in the real world the Dell W5001C's problems handling darker material prevent it from outperforming most other 50-inch plasmas.
After reading the review I am certain that at $3599 ( price as of today, regular is $3,799 ) one would be better off getting a Vizio P50HD [ manufacturer product page ] and save a grand.

Source: CNET | Dell W5001C

Related Stories:

Posted by Mike at 11:41 AM
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HDMI DVD Players Group Test

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AVReview put 4 HDMI DVD players on a bench for a comparison.
The victims participants are:
By price, all players except Pioneer fall into a low- to mid- range whereas Pioneers DV-989 priced above 800 UK Pounds and supposedly should be better. Or that's what you would think using the sane grey matter. AVReview has a different opinion based on their test. The good thing about these tests is that reviewers are not blind in saying - ok - this is it. They weigh in a lots of factor that might matter to the consumer and have a suggestion for most of our needs in a right direction.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Mike at 11:24 AM
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The DLP Story!

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Ed Milbourn of HDTV Magazine has a little article on what is DLP. Easy and an interesting read.

Ed's view - DLP

Posted by Mike at 11:21 AM
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Wireworld Flat Cables - From HDMI to Power

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Imagine all of the hassles of running a cable through the walls after you finished that remodeling. Get a drywall guy, then get a painter, or do it yourself. Not really pleasant and sometimes leaves undesired marks on the walls. In my opinion Wireworld has a solution for this particular problem by offering flat cables ranging from HDMI and DVI to power. So with a little imagination you could run these cables on the wall and ceiling without much visibility. Of course there is a premium to pay for flats but you will be up an running in an afternoon without strange guys drilling here and there.
HDMI and DVI cables can reach length of 20M ( 65.6 ft ) and is probably sufficient for most of the installs and are capable of handling 1080p signal due to the density of the shield.
Wireworld also offers flat Insta-Wire power and audio cables.

Check out WireWorld site for more information

Posted by Mike at 10:28 AM
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

IBM Wireless HDTV?

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IBM reported on a prototype chip that is capable of transmitting data at 630 Mbit/s over 10 meters ( about 30 feet ) on a 60 GHz unlicensed frequency and is to compete with Ultra Wide Band (UWB). IBM's technology is built to conform to IEEE 802.15.3c referred by the company as millimeter wave or mmWave. From the PCMag article's title it sounds that IBM is shooting for an HDTV but there is no mention of tests or intentions to do so. Although theoretically it would be possible to transmit compressed HDTV over 630 Mbit/s there is a better technology from a startup Amimon - WHDI that has been demonstrated at CES 2006 and is capable of 1.5 Gbit/s which means uncompressed HDTV. This is where in my opinion is the bang for the buck.

Source: PCMagazine
Related stories: Wireless Uncompressed HDTV

Posted by Mike at 12:31 PM
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Monday, February 06, 2006

Marantz SA7001 and SA7001KI SACD Players

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Marantz SA7001 SACD PlayerI have reported on Marantz SA7001 SACD Player back in October but that was the announcement for Japanese market. As expected, Marantz is ready to release SA7001 and SA7001KI in Europe.
There some very interesting engineering tricks in both players. One of them is display off to minimize any unwanted frequencies emitting from it. Other developments that put these devices in audiophlie category are shielded subsystems that have separate of power supplies for each of them. The SA7001KI is taken further from the standard SA7001 by selection of better components one of them being a toroidal transformer reported to have higher efficiency.
Suggested price for SA7001 is £430 and £600 for SA7001

Source: AVReview UK

Posted by Mike at 9:04 AM
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Friday, February 03, 2006

Sony Sony Introduces RDR-VH95 and RDR-VH85 DVD / HDD / VHS Recorders

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Sony Japan intros 2 new 3-in-1, or should I say, all-in-one recorders that feature DVD, VHS and HDD in one device. Big brother, RDR-VH95 comes with a 250HDD and smaller sibling, RDR-VH85 with 160GB. Both of components have 2 terrestrial analog tuners and 1 regular tuner for recording on a VHS. RDR series capable of program guide and scheduled recording. Both have i.Link firewire front input so you can dump all your movies on to the HDD or DVD.
DVD drive can handle DVD+RW/+R/-RW/-R, DVD-RAM disks. Recording time on a 250Gb model is from 60 hours to 430 hours ( you dont want to do this ) depending on the quality and on a 160GB its from 39 to 206.

Source: I4U News
Product Page: Sony [Google translation from Japanese]

Posted by Mike at 10:59 AM
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Blueado Mini 5 Series

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I am a fan of small devices and that includes HTPCs. Today I I4U News posted on a mini HTPC from Blueado. Obvious reaction is to check their web site first to see what is it all about. I really got disappointed with the amount of information they have on the web site regarding technical specs. So m5e is a new media center device that has a 200 GB hard disk, a DVD writer, has a DVI,VGA, and composite video out. Audio is said to be Dolby Digital and DTS capable but no info on the connector type - coax, optical, discrete RCA jacks for channel.
I would love to suggest to peeps at Blueado to review what is presented to the potential buyer. I would also love them to succeed since the lines of products they offer are promising. By judging from photos all, 500, 700, and mini series look appealing. We just need MORE INFO. So, peeps at Blueado, send me an email at theaterathome at gmail dot com, convince me that $1500 for the device is worth it. I'd love to know more. And on the sidenote, this guys are buy your old Tivo/PVR for $100 towards the purchase of their product. Don't you like that?

Source: I4U News

Posted by Mike at 10:11 AM
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