DVDs Released This Week

Filed Under: Media - Movies - Games

Popular new releases on DVD this week:
war of the worlds DVD
War of the Worlds directed by Steven Spielberg is a sure hit.

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

the polar express DVD The Polar Express is another great flick for the family, and should get us on the roll for that holiday spirit.

On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home.

Rent either or both at NetFlix – free 2 week trial. (DVDs sent to your mailbox with a free return mailer.)

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Vizio Annonces HDTV Price Drops

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush that begins this Friday, Vizio have announced price drops on their popular LCD and Plasma HDTV sets.

The price drops are as follows:

* L37HDTV Broadens Big-screen LCD Market with $1,499 Everyday Price

* VIZIO 50″ Plasma Hits Magic $2,499 Price Point

* Most Popular 32″ LCD Gets $100 Price Drop to $899

Full Press Release

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Mitsubishi WD-62628 Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Rear Projection

Mitsubishi WD-62628
Cnet reviews this 62-inch DLP rear projection 1080p HDTV.

They give it a “Good” 6.9/10. However, it seems that the biggest complaint they have is color decoding, but it doesn’t seem that they first calibrated the set?

I wouldn’t let that deter me, as I would calibrate my hdtv before drawing any conclusions. Also considering the 6 user reviews averaging 9.0/10 I’m not so sure they got this one right.

CNET Review

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LG LRM-519 DVR Powered By Windows Media Center

Filed Under: Home Theater News

lg dvrThe world’s first dedicated “digital media recorder” with the Microsoft Program Guide service is now available at leading consumer electronics retailers nationwide, LG Electronics announced today.

The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder is a combination digital video recorder (DVR) and DVD recorder powered by Windows Media Center Technologies with a 160-gigabyte hard drive for unparalleled recording flexibility.

Continue Reading “LG LRM-519 DVR Powered By Windows Media Center”

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HDTV Calibration

Filed Under: Misc - Other

test patternAll HDTVs should be calibrated. Here is the quick lowdown.

What is calibration?

Calibration is the finding and using the optimum settings for all of your HDTV’s display controls. These settings include (but aren’t limited to):

Black (or White) Level
Color Correction (tint and color levels)
Geometry Correction
Audio Settings

Why should I calibrate my HDTV?

Well, just like any other fine piece of technology, why have it if you aren’t getting the most out of it? You wouldn’t own and regularly drive a high end sports car without it being properly tuned and maintained, so why not do the same for your high end HDTV?

Some HDTVs look very good out of the box, but oftentimes, we can make them look even better. Sometimes, considerably better. With the chance to get more vibrant colors, better shadow detail, and more immersion in your home theater, you should want to calibrate your set.

How do I get my HDTV calibrated? Continue Reading “HDTV Calibration”


Sony HS-60 Review

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

Sony VPL-HS60As front projector fans anxiously await the availability of the Sony HS-60 front projector, here is a review from avbuzz.

“The black level is so impressive that you never imagine such solid black coming from an LCD projector. The black is pure [and] does not have green bugs like DLP projectors… The picture is sharp and clean. The color is vibrant and vivid, but not over saturated.

Although the HS60 is more expensive than other 720p LCD projectors, its build quality is worth the extra cost. Sony has already eliminated or minimized the typical weaknesses of LCD projectors. Nothing is perfect. I hope Sony will improve the response time of the dynamic iris to get rid of the blinking effect… Comparing DLP projectors in the same price range, I reckon the HS60 presents better color than Benq 7700 and the Sharp Z2000. The contrast is not lagging behind the DarkChip2 DLP Projectors. ”

If you are looking for a 720p LCD projector, make sure you include this model as an option.

Sony HS-60 details – AVS Forum

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Review :Yamaha YSP-1 Surround Sound in One Box

Filed Under: Audio, Home Theater Reviews

yamaha ysp-1 Yamaha has a great product for those of us who want surround sound without the pain and hassle of wiring and installing rear speakers.

This gem works by using 42 separate drivers and amplifiers with some super special digital processing. By sending the audio signal to the each of the (40) 1.6″ drivers with varying delays, our ears are tricked into hearing the sound from behind, beside, or in front of us. Pretty cool stuff…

The technique is remarkably effective-when you play the test noise used to adjust the YSP-1’s effect, it actually sounds as if you have left and right speakers positioned a few feet to either side of the unit. And what’s even more remarkable is that you would swear there are surround speakers on the sides of the room.

“I cannot believe how much the surround-sound effect resembles that of the Infinity TSS-4000 speaker system I reviewed for the July/August issue of Home Entertainment. Spaceships whiz past me, music from soundtracks envelops me, and I rarely get the impression that I’m hearing some sort of digital audio trickery instead of a full 5.1 system.”

This is a great companion to a plasma or projector screen, just mount it right up to the bottom of the screen. You’ll want to seriously consider a subwoofer, though. The (2) 4.3″ woofers just can’t handle solid bass.

Current Short Review
Thorough Review from AA

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Epson Cinema 550 Review

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

epson cinema550 front projector Here’s a new review from Projector Reviews, on the Epson PowerLite Cinema 550.

I’m not real wild about the projector reviews on that site, as the reviewer doesn’t calibrate the projectors beforehand. That can be a plus to some, especially if they just want something that looks great out of the box. However, I’m a tweaker. A $30 disk and a couple hours of tweaking adjustments produces worthwhile gains.

That said, on to the review:

Excellent “Living Room” mode for dealing with rooms with ambient light, yet produces very good color, and contrast balance
Good color in Theater Dark modes, but requires minor adjustment for best color accuracy
Brightest projector in its class
The greatest range in lens shift of any projector we have tested, for maximum flexibility in mounting, or allowing the projector to be placed well below the bottom of the screen.
Very quiet in Theater Dark modes
Excellent warranty with overnight replacement program
Many u ser savable settings
Excellent remote control
Many preset modes for handling everything from darkest modes for best black levels, to bright modes for dealing with ambient light.

Noisier than several other competing projectors in it’s non Theater Dark modes
Image slightly soft on DVDs (480 resolution)
Black levels are good, but others exceed the Epson’s performance

“Overall, the Epson is excellent for users with mixed viewing requirements, (sports, HDTV, movies, and probably gaming), especially if you don’t want to fully darken your room. For those primarily interested in DVD viewing, however other projectors do exceed its performance. While black levels and shadow detail are very good, a few others do better.”

From this review and other opinions I’ve heard, I would recommend thoroughly checking out the Sanyo PLV-Z4 or the Panasonic AE900U before making a decision. I think these models offer more bang for your buck than the Epson.

Epson Cinema 550 – Overview

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Studios Asked for Smoking Warnings on DVDs

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Media - Movies - Games

No, not for when your DVD catches fire, but for all those young and impressionable minds that are watching DVDs full of cancer-stick puffers and draggers.

I’m sure some will hate the notion, and I’m not so sure how effective it may be, but I think the intentions are at least good.

With a new study showing that exposure to on-screen smoking prompts many American adolescents to light up, attorneys general from 32 states want Hollywood to slap anti-smoking admonitions on all new DVDs.

They signed a letter sent this week to 10 movie studios asking executives to add anti-smoking public service announcements to all home-viewing releases that depict smoking.

Interesting factoid – Out of 6,522 adolescents asked, 38 of every 100 who tried smoking did so because of their exposure to smoking in movies. Wow.

News Article – USAToday

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Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

sanyo plv z4 projector

Here is another review of Sanyo’s awesome PLV Z4 Projector from HDTV Expert.

This machine is one of the top LCD projectors under $3500, and sits in the same class as the Panasonic PT-AE900U.

Review Summary:

“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.

The longer zoom lens is probably the best idea of all. The 145W UHP projection lamp has enough juice in it to overcome the smaller aperture of this lens, and my measurement of 350 lumens should be more than enough to light up an 82-inch to 100-inch diagonal screen in a controlled lighting environment with a 1.5:1 projection throw.

The PLV-Z4 does an excellent job with 480p, 720p, and 1080i signals. To put the icing on the cake, add a good video processor for 480i or 576i composite or component video sources and take SDTV signal quality to the next level.”

Full Review