Home Theater Reviews

Sony KDS-R50XBR1 Review

sony KDS-R50XBR1

I stumbled across this great writeup for one of Sony’s new SXRD rear projection HDTV models. This is a 50″ job that runs about 4 grand.

This model represents the second line offering SXRD, after Sony’s Qualia offerings which require at least one rich dead uncle or primo lottery ticket to afford.

This review gives an 8/10.

I love this TV. It has almost everything that a person could be looking for out a large screen set. Besides having crappy sound, I have no major issues with it. The blacks are not incredible, but they aren’t bad ether. I would like to start seeing front HDMI ports on higher end TVs but that is not something to mark this TV down on. The jacks are spread out but at least there is every kind a person could need.

If you are looking for a great picture from DVDs and HD, consider this TV. Sure it is expensive, but man the picture is amazing.

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

Full review – HD Beat
Found Via HDBlog

BenQ PE7700 DLP Projector

benq pe7700
A great full review is up over at Ultimate AV. Here are a few specs of the PE7700:

6 Color Wheel Segments
5x Color Wheel Speed
1280×720 Pixels Native (16:9 aspect- WXGA)
HDMI, component

Their final thoughts:
As I was wrapping up, I took one last look at the BenQ vs. the Yamaha. An unfair comparison to be sure, given the nearly 4:1 price spread between the two projectors. But when we want to know what advantages an expensive projector has over a more popularly-priced one it’s not unjustified. When I switched back to the Yamaha I immediately noticed how much sharper it looked—even on the relatively ordinary-looking National Treasure DVD. The deeper blacks of the Yamaha were also evident, though to be fair the PE770 is a significantly brighter projector (unless you open the iris on the Yamaha all the way, which seriously compromises its black level).

But that’s judging the BenQ against a very high standard. The fact that more money will buy you more projector is hardly a surprise; even BenQ has its own, more upscale PE8720 to tempt you with. (We just received our review sample, so stay tuned). What’s important here is just how much video projector you can buy today for relatively little money. That alone makes the PE7700 an exciting addition to the video market. The fact that it’s also a fine performer makes it a must-see before finalizing any purchase decision. I definitely recommend it. ”

Full Review

Found Via HDBlog

Yamaha RX-V557 Receiver – Review

yamaha rx-v557About reviews this XM-enabled receiver from Yamaha.

Street price on this puppy starts at around $270, and I think it’s worth a look.


* Sound quality very good in both stereo and surround modes.
* Video signal conversion composite or S-video input to component output.
* Incorporation of an XM-Satellite Radio tuner
* Extensive speaker setup and adjustment options.
* Well designed front panel controls.


* No dedicated phono (turntable) input. (HTDude – what’s a turntable? 😉
* No Oscreen Menu Display option.
* No S-video or digital audio input on front panel.
* Needs a second AV input/output loop to accommodate both a VCR and DVD recorder or DVR.

Full Review

HP PL4200N 42″ Plasma HDTV Review

hp pl4200n plasma

The PL4200N looks to be one of HP’s better plasma offerings. Cnet Reviews:

The good:
Deep blacks result in excellent contrast ratio; solid video processing with 2:3 pull-down; comprehensive feature package.

The bad:
Poor color decoding; somewhat limited connectivity; can’t change aspect ratio with HD sources.

The bottom line:
Despite some trade-offs in color fidelity, the HP PL4200N delivers a surprisingly solid picture with excellent blacks and plenty of punch.

Full Review

Found via 1080Eye

Sony KLV-S26A10 26-inch BRAVIA LCD HDTV Review

sony klv s26a10 I came across a review of Sony’s 27" LCD 720p offering, another great looking screen. As always, you have to pay for the Sony name, but you get the Sony quality.

The Good: Excellent picture quality; immense versatility thanks to a nice variety of inputs; beautiful, minimal design.

The Bad: Like all LCDs, it can be difficult to make out details in darker scenes; the weak speakers will do in a pinch, but they lack power and clarity; second- and third-tier brands hold a clear advantage in terms of price.

The Verdict: You may find similarly sized LCD HDTVs with more attractive price tags, but you aren’t likely to find any with better image quality.

The only truly noticeable picture quality issue with the KLV-S26A10 is its rendering of blacks — a problem suffered by all LCDs. Liquid crystal displays require a backlight to illuminate the screen. As a result, all colours — including blacks — are the product of projected light, meaning black is never truly black. This makes it difficult to make out detail in darker scenes that feature shades of grey that are close to black.

Sony has taken a couple of measures to combat the black problem. The most basic is a black correcting feature, which helps deliver truer blacks but doesn’t really work to fix loss of detail in dark scenes. A more effective — and time consuming — approach is to adjust display settings according to the circumstances. The KLV-S26A10 provides users with a wide range of image adjustment controls, but I found minute adjustments to the brightness setting often helped bring out detail in darker scenes without sacrificing much in the way of black values.

Sony KLV-S26A10 Full Review

Oppo OPDV971H DVD Player Review

oppo dv971h
Audioholics has done an exhaustive review (whew! I’m tired after reading it!) of the Oppo OPDV971H DVD Player.

With an MSRP of $199, this is an afforable machine.

AH scores it:
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Value Rating: 4.5/5

* Excellent video performance when using DVI output
* Basic DVD-Audio support
* Nice small form factor

* Component video outputs only support 480i
* Atrocious manual that goes through the settings labels without explanation
* Menu button on remote located out of reach
* Sub-par bass management and distance delay options for DVD-Audio
* Runs hot
* Slow button response and cycle time
* Inaccurate black/white level setting for factory default
* Macroblocking enhancement bug present when properly calibrated


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.

Audioholics said it, you can believe it. HTDude approved. Full Review

Home Theater Calibration Discs

AVIA, Digital Video Essentials, and Sound & Vision

I noticed a decent review of the 3 popular HT calibration DVDs. The conclusion pretty much sums it up:

Each of these calibration discs fits a different type of user. For the beginner, Sound & Vision’s offering is more than enough to help you get your feet wet and perhaps pique your interest in the more advanced discs.

The AVIA Guide to Home Theater is an excellent mid-range disc, with an enormous selection of test patterns and a helpful description for each, extending its usefulness from the new home theater owner to the experienced projector user.

Finally, Digital Video Essentials offers updated versions of many of AVIA’s most useful test patterns, and its introductory material, while sometimes steeped in jargon, is still the most up-to-date of the three discs. And it sells for a much more attractive price than does AVIA at the moment.

Discerning htdudes should go for the DVE disk. If you already have DVE, Avia is a good addition.

Full Write-Up

PCHDTV.com HD-3000 HDTV PC Tuner Card Review

pchdtv hd-3000

$170 HD-3000 PCI high definition television tuner card supports over-the-air HD broadcasts and even some HD cable, as well as standard US television.

Note: The tuner is officially supported only in Linux, but the company graciously includes experimental drivers for Windows too.

I’m not sure I’d want to depend on linux guys for windows support (especially experimental support), but if you like your htpc box with penguin style, this card is worth a look.

Full Review at Newsforge

Optoma MovieTime DV10 Portable All-In-One Front Projector Review

optoma dv10This is an interesting rig, an all-in-one front projector from Optoma. Talk about gettin’ it done, this thing has a built-in dvd player and a couple of small speakers.

The design warrants a tabletop or bookshelf mount, since you’ll have to access the dvd player. Obviously audio will suffer with 5-inch speakers, but this looks like a great unit for a portable setup.

This machine retails for $1495, and you can get an optional subwoofer.

If you’re new to the home theater scene and don’t want to worry about mounts and wiring dvd players up, etc, this could be the ticket to get your game on.

Or, if you are constantly on the prowl, like to do your thing when and where you feel the urge, this portable system could just rock your world.
“Come on baby, I’ll bring my bling to your house.”

Full Revew

Carada Criterion Projector Screen Review

carada criterion screen

  • Excellent customer service
  • Magnificent construction, fit and finish
  • Elegant design
  • High screen performance for all types of projectors
  • Huge bang for the buck


  • None

This reviewer really liked this screen, it looks like a great value for the quality, and it was wife-unit approved! Carada is definitely on the htdude approved screen list.

Carada Projector Screen Review