Hot Gifts for the Season – from Wired

Filed Under: Home Theater News

Wired surveyed about 2000 peeps and came up with these top choices for gifts:

Top Three Gifts for Early Adopters:
1. Laptop
3. Digital camera

Top Choices for the Men on your List:
2. Home theater system
3. Laptop

Top Three Picks for Her:

1. Household appliance
2. Digital camera
3. MP3 player

Three Best Bets for a Grandparent:
1. Household appliance
2. Digital camera

Three Hot Choices for Kids:
1. MP3 player
2. Laptop
3. Digital camera

Interesting list, and I think the results are right-on. Why? Each top 3 contains an HDTV or home theater system, except for women and children. Why? Because their husbands and fathers already got it on their list.

Trickle down economics at their best.

Full Writeup

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Samsung DVD-HD950 Review

Filed Under: DVD Players

samsung dvd-hd950Samsung’s newest dvd player, the DVD-HD950 is one of the latest upconverting DVD players to hit the market.

Of note:

The new Samsung DVD-HD950 has unique features that can kick the butt of other players of its kind. It has an aspect-ratio control that can resize 16:9 and 4:3 content in several ways and can zoom and crop the picture to remove the thin letterbox bars from 2.35:1 movies or expand non-anamorphic wide-screen discs to fill wide-screen TVs. It also includes DVD-Audio and SACD decoding.


Good points: Plays DVD-Audio and SACD discs; slim design; jog/shuttle control on remote; upconverts to several high resolutions; aspect-ratio control; solid compatibility.

Bad points: Inconsistent image quality on horizontal-resolution tests; lack of smoothness on some difficult images; 768p output inactive.

Conclusion: Samsung’s DVD-HD950, a universal HDMI-upconversion DVD player, though falls a little short of videophile demands is a great and affordable DVD player. Technews gives the HD950 two thumbs up.”

Full Article

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NeuNeo hvd2085 1080i DVD player

Filed Under: DVD Players, Home Theater News

neuNeo hvd2085Wow, a 1080p DVD player – under 250 bucks!

Well, it’s actually 1080p over component, with a firmware upgrade for 1080p over HDMI. And then there’s the less than stellar review at AVS.


However, I wonder why I have to buy the player and then upgrade it? Why don’t they just do the upgrade themselves, that makes me wonder a bit.

NeuNeo HVD2085

Spotted at HDBeat

1 Comment

Shuttle XPC M1000 Review

Filed Under: HTPCs (Computers)

shuttle xpcm1000Anandtech reviews this slick-looking htpc from Shuttle. It looks great, and would fit right in with your other AV components in the stylish black case. Unfortunately, it handles HDTV poorly, and in some cases, not at all.

Bummer! I was hoping this thing could up my bling.

Full Review
Thanks Engadget for the HeadsUp

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BenQ PE7700 DLP Projector

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

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

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Yamaha RX-V557 Receiver – Review

Filed Under: Audio, Home Theater Reviews

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

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Dell W3706MC Announced

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

dell w3706cDell just announced their largest LCD panel – the 37″ HDTV widescreen W3706MC. Pricing is to be $2,299. Unit includes dual analog and digital tuners.

— Widescreen high-definition resolution with WXGA (1,366X768)

— Excellent viewing experience with a 16:9 widescreen aspect

— Slim profile 4.41 (W3706C) and 3.5 (W5001C) inches deep when
the stand is removed

— Rich visual detail with 800:1 (W3706C) and 8,000:1 (W5001C)
contrast ratios

— Excellent display of 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i resolutions
with video powered by Pixelworks(TM)

— Wall or stand mountable (mounting equipment sold separately)

— Exquisite images in various lighting environments with 500
cd/m2 (W3706C) and 1,100 (W5001C) brightness

— Over-the-air high-definition content with built-in tuners

— Sharp images with 3D Y/C Comb Filter

— Robust connectivity for almost any device that connects to a
TV, including dual HDMI ports, dual composite, dual S-Video,
dual component, TV in/coaxial (NTSC/ATSC), VGA/PC audio;
composite, S-Video and audio connectors added to the side for
easy connection of such devices as digital video recorders and
game consoles

— High-quality audio with two 15-watt (W3706C) and 20-watt
(W5001C) speakers that are stand, wall or TV mountable with
SRS(R) TruSurround(TM) virtual surround sound

Press Release

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Instant HDTV PCI Card

Filed Under: Home Theater News, HTPCs (Computers)

A new hdtv card for win xp is announced today, and it comes complete with PVR functions.

In addition to delivering high-quality HDTV , ADS Tech’s new Instant HDTV PCI Card is equipped with an analog cable TV Tuner as well, allowing the viewer to switch between HD, standard TV broadcasts and cable TV signals on their PC. Consumers can also archive TV shows to a CD or DVD for playback on their home DVD Player. Instant HDTV can even support video capture, viewing and recording from external video sources such as camcorders and VCRs.

Also comes with:
SnapStream’s Beyond TV Express
electronic program guide
NeroVision Express for dvd-authoring
(NeroVision Express supports True 16:9 Widescreen, Dolby Digital Audio, as well as dual-layer authoring )

remote control
IR sensor
a/v cables

Est street price is $129. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff for 130 bucks. I wonder how well this baby will perform. Time will tell…

Press Release

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HP PL4200N 42″ Plasma HDTV Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

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

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DLP or LCD Rear Projection?

Filed Under: Rear Projection

dlp or lcd rear projectionDigital Home Canada has a great article about deciding between LCD or DLP for rear projection TV. A couple of noteworthy points are:

The advantages of DLP over LCD include:

– higher contrast ratios ;
– more Consistent Performance throughout the life of the set ;
– no screen door effect;
– newer models offer greater resolution.

The advantages of LCD over DLP include:

– brighter images than DLP for equivalent wattage
– richer more natural colours
– no rainbows
– wider viewing angle

The articles goes on to tell how to be critical in viewing different models in stores. Great writeup.

Digital Home Canada – HDTV Insight: DLP or LCD Rear

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