Today, Sony announced two new HD radio products: one for the home and one for the car. Now, if you gave up on terrestrial radio ages ago--either for the iPod, Internet radio, and/or satellite radio--you're probably not all that concerned about new developments in that area. But for those who still enjoy AM/FM radio programming, HD Radio offers some compelling developments. Namely, it allows for a wider selection of channels via substations, and it provides better quality audio than standard AM/FM radio--"crystal-clear digital sound" by some accounts. We ain't talking CD-quality … Read more
For every person who loves the idea of 6-foot tower speakers at each corner of the room, there are 20 others who prefer their home theater to be heard but not seen. It's for that latter group that the Sony DAV-IS10 Micro Home Theater System was designed. The system crams an entire 5.1 home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) down to Mini-Me proportions: the 2-way 100-watt subwoofer barely outsizes a couple of phone books, the DVD/CD player head unit is a bit larger than a Mac Mini, and the five satellite speakers are--as Sony's press kit helpfully points out--"about the size of a golf ball." Despite the minuscule size, the DAV-IS10 will include the much of the same impressive features found on Sony's trio of Bravia HTIBs: DVD upscaling to 720p and 1080i via the HDMI output, automated speaker setup (which Sony calls "Digital Cinema Auto Calibration," or DCAC), and HDMI-CEC capability (the ability to control compatible TVs via the IS10's remote when connected via HDMI--"Bravia Theater Sync," in Sony speak). The system also features a Digital Media Port, so it can interface with Sony's quartet of proprietary digital audio accessories--though that's less of an enticement, now that we've been underwhelmed by the first two we've reviewed, the TDM-IP1 iPod dock and the TDM-BT1 Bluetooth interface. … Read more
Bugatti is a name that would never be associated with "ordinary," so it makes perfect sense that the music system for its "Veyron" uber-car would be something special. And they certainly didn't disappoint anyone with the German-made Burmester system that was created specifically to meet the unique needs and design of the Veyron, one of the world's fastest street-legal cars.
Here's why an off-the-shelf stereo from Best Buy wouldn't have done the trick: The Burmeister CD player alone is constructed to operate without a single skip at 250 miles per hour. Sybarites … Read more
An eon ago, when Sony was at the top of the world, it attempted a strategy to lock up entertainment by owning the source--Hollywood studios, for example--and making all the products that played their movies and records. We all know what happened to that brilliant plan, but Sony's failed history apparently hasn't deterred another company from trying its own version of that studio-to-store strategy: 154-year-old Steinway & Sons.
In this case, the origin isn't the content itself but the instrument that's used to produce it, the legendary Steinway piano. On the other end of the chain … Read more
DLO has announced its new HomeDock Music Remote for the iPod. It's a wireless solution for controlling your iPod from anywhere in your house or apartment. Your iPod simply rests in a dock, which doubles as a charger, and is connected to your home stereo. With the included OLED remote, you can navigate through all of the artists on your iPod or even create a playlist of your own. Adding even more functionality to the dock, it's also equipped with a USB port, allowing you to sync your iPod with iTunes.
Last week, I had an opportunity to sit down with the developers of MXPlay, beta jukebox software that lets you mash up your music with streaming movies, letting you create your own virtual music videos.
More interesting than the mashup features, however, is MXPlay's unique playback interface. A graphical interface lets you control the location of the listening audience and the position and direction of your speakers. Letting you tweak your own "room" does create better-sounding tunes. The MXPlay folks were very happy to compare its playback sound to that of iTunes, and I must admit I … Read more
If there's one aspect of parenting that didn't change with the new millennium (and probably never will), it's the natural right to brag on one's children. But as any insufferable parent knows, most portable digital viewers are either too clunky or too small (horrors) to get a decent look at the rugrats.
So we thought Discovery had found the missing link with its "Mini Recording Frame Set," which had a full display (the device measure 4.75 by 2.25 inches and only a quarter-inch thick) while weighing only an ounce. It also joins … Read more
With so many wireless headphones available, one might wonder why anyone would want something like the "TV Hear" remote speaker. Basically, it's a wireless "personal" speaker with a 30-foot range that lets you listen to the telly without disturbing a sleeping spouse or anyone else within earshot of average volumes.
But some people still like to hear things in the open air, and Brookstone says there are other uses for this speaker, such as listening to the TV while you "bounce from room to room--trying to cook dinner, for example, while catching the evening … Read more
YouTube has added a new feature to its TestTube section as of last night, called Active Sharing. With this feature enabled, YouTube will keep track of videos you watch, for both archiving and real-time interaction with other users. If you're watching a video with other Active Sharing-enabled users, you'll be able to see their names with a little green dot next to it to signify they're watching too. Clicking on someone's profile name will show you the last five shows they've watched using the service.
For the past 12 to 18 months, astute readers may have noticed an increased bit of hedging in our reviews for AV receivers. Yes, even low-end receivers offer more features and flexibility than $1,500 models did just three or four years ago and yes, there are plenty of great-sounding receivers available out there at great prices. But smart shoppers looking for a no-compromise, future-proof AV receiver have been stymied, even if they've been willing to pay upwards of $2,000.
At least, that was the case--until today. Onkyo has become the first mainstream manufacturer to officially announce an array of home audio products that offer the two big features that have been MIA on home audio products to date: HDMI 1.3; and onboard decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks found on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The news itself wasn't a surprise, as most of the details had been leaked on the Web earlier this month. And there is no doubt that other manufacturers will be announcing similarly equipped receivers in the next few weeks and months. But because specs, pricing, and availability have been confirmed, we can now say authoritatively that Onkyo looks to be offering some of the most exciting--and surprisingly affordable--A/V receivers seen in recent years.… Read more