Dell W3201C Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

Dell W3201CHere’s a review of Dell’s 32-inch LCD panel HDTV from Cnet.

This 1366 x 768 resolution piece can accept 1080p signals via HDMI, and displays HDTV proper at 720p.

The good: Accurate color; excellent selection of inputs; detachable speakers; slick external styling and menu system.

The bad: Relatively expensive; nondefeatable edge enhancement.

The bottom line: While we’d like to see its price drop a bit, the Dell W3201C’s impressive feature set and solid image quality definitely set it apart from the budget pack.

Overall, the Dell W3201C makes a compelling case for spending a few hundred dollars more than on no-name models, such as the Syntax Olevia LT32HV or the Maxent MX-32X3. The Dell’s copious selection of inputs, including two HDMI jacks, will definitely appeal to people with lots of gear, but people looking for the best bargain will probably still opt for one of the less-expensive no-name panels.

Dell W3201C Review

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Denon’s new AVR-4306 A/V Receiver

Filed Under: Audio

denon avr-4306Denon pump some new tech into one of their latest receivers, the AVR-4306.

The best thing since power windows, this baby comes with Ethernet for streaming media from your PC, a USB port that allows “full control of your Rio and Creative MP3 players” with two, yep two, iPod connection ports.

And just so you’ll know, she is satellite radio ready – just add antenna.

On the video side, you get HDMI switching with 1080i upconversion.

Denon’s new AVR-4306 A/V Receiver – Via Engadget

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EPSON PowerLite 550 Review

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

epson powerlite 550Projector Central gives the 550 Cinema projector from Epson the once-over. This is the same model we took a look at with projector reviews earlier.

This is a native 720p, (3) LCD 16:9 unit with 3000:1 contrast ratio.

Home theater inputs include HDMI, Component and VGA.

The review covers the fact that this machine is a solid contender among the latest 720p LCD units. However, they did find an issue with misaligned LCD panels causing color convergence and pixel structure problems. (Part of the screen had an obvious color tint, and half seemed a bit out of focus.)

Review Conclusion

“The Epson Powerlite Cinema 550 is among the strongest of the new high contrast LCD projectors released this fall. Those who make their projector selections based on manufacturer’s specs will tend to overlook the Cinema 550 with its official 3000:1 rating, and go for one of the competing units rated at 5000:1 or higher. They do so to their detriment, for the Cinema 550 is fully capable of meeting or exceeding the actual contrast, black level, and color saturation performance of the other high contrast LCDs in its price range.”

This machine could be a good choice, if you get one without the LCD panel alignment problem. If you buy this unit, make sure the dealer will work with you if there is a problem. Epson should work with you as well, but I think you’d be better off with a dealer who can ship something out faster and is very interested in keeping your sale.

Review: EPSON Cinema 550 Home Theater Projector

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HDMI Switcher with Remote – Cheap!

Filed Under: Misc - Other

hdmi switchbox
Here is an HDMI switchbox with remote for under 100 clams.

You generally get what you pay for, but switches can sometimes be solid even at discount prices.

I’m a bit leery of the no-name brand of this box, but it might be worth a look if you need an HDMI switch on a budget.

HDMI switch with remote

Via HD Beat

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Picking A Case and Power Supply for Your DIY HTPC

Filed Under: HTPCs (Computers)

htpc caseExtremeTech has a thorough tutorial for picking the base components of your DIY home theater computer, the case and power supply.

They cover the variables you need to take into consideration for cases:
Form factor
Noise control
Materials and construction

And power supplies:
Total electrical output
Cooling approach
Noise output
Power connections:
Electrical efficiency

The tutorial walks you through all the details and takes a look at a couple of case choices.

They wrap it up with a look at barebones package alternatives.

This is a great place to start if you want to build your own HTPC.

A Case and Power Supply for Your DIY Media PC

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Sharp LC65D90U Aquos – World’s Largest LCD

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

Sharp Aquos LC65D90U 65-inch LCD Whoever says size doesn’t matter obviously doesn’t have a Home Theater. Sharp comes along and Bang! here’s a 65-inch LCD. Man, that’s just huge for an LCD.

This is a 1080p set with 4000:1 contrast ratio. The LC65D90U has a built-in HD tuner, has a response time of 12 milliseconds, is wall mountable, and features a detachable speaker assembly.

The Jones’ just can’t keep up with this kind of bling.

Unit is shipping now:


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Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

LG 42LP1DR The new 42″ LCD from LG, the 42LP1DR, is due out.

This ain’t your Daddy’s LCD HDTV, it features a 160GB hard drive for recording HD shows and movies. It also includes a card reader for pulling photos off of your memory cards.

160gb allows for 13 hours of HD content storage, or up to 63 hours of SD content.

Via Gizmodo

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Star Wars Episode III – Must Have DVD

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

Star Wars Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith DVDFor a technical look at the latest Star Wars release, we get the thumbs up from HomeTheaterMag:

Video: 5
Audio: 4
Extras: 4

The film presentation itself, created directly from the original digital source material, is stunning in its richness of colors and amazing details. Everything you saw theatrically, from helmet glare to the subtle reflection of animated characters, is present and visible on the home screen. There is simply no flaw in the 2.35:1 anamorphic picture, ranking this as one of the best DVD presentations you’ll see.

This DVD is a “must have” for any home theater enthusiast. Unless, of course, you hate Star Wars. (What is wrong with you?)

This could also be a good reference DVD choice for calibration or HDTV shopping.
Rent StarWars Ep III at netflix. Free 10 day trial – movies sent to your mailbox with a free return mailer. See if you like it before you buy it.
Star Wars Episode III

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Shopping for a New HDTV

Filed Under: Misc - Other

Home Theater Mag has a new article about shopping for your new HDTV set. Jed basically skips the tech featuresets of various units, and tells you how to examine the image quality of different HDTVs.

He suggests to take your own reference DVDs (your own movies that you are very familiar with) to check them out on the sets you’re interested in.

“Make sure that some of the material has scenes of fast motion, as well as scenes with large areas of flat color, such as a blue sky or mostly dark scenes. This will let you observe the processor’s noise-reduction capabilities.”

He covers watching SD and HD material, and what to look out for. Great article.

Home Theater: Going Shopping for HDTV

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Marantz VP-12S4 DLP Projector Review

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

Marantz VP12S4 Projector
Well, while we’re covering high end projector reviews this week, here’s another one on the Marantz VP-12S4.

This high-end DLP unit uses the TI HD2+ DLP chipset with DarkChip 3. This means the pixels are closer together resulting in less SDE (screen door effect).

Other features include:
Vertical lens shift of up to 80 percent of screen height above the screen
O.R.C.A. (Optically Reproducing Color Accurately) filter
4500:1 contrast ratio
700 ANSI lumens
200-watt lamp
seven-segment color wheel
adjustable iris
sealed optical path
double-sealed cabinet
auto color temperature calibration system
black level selection

Though this machine costs quite a bit for a single-chip DLP, it is definitely worth a look.

“There is no doubt that the Marantz VP-12S4 is one of the best single-chip DLP projectors currently on the market. Many participants in the online video forums have expressed concerns about buying any 720p video device at this time. I understand their concerns but disagree. As I stated above, I believe it will take a couple of generations of 1080p DLP chips to get performance up to levels commensurate with the resolution. Second, mainstream 1080p sources are a rarity right now and probably will be a few years to come to market. So why not get the best possible picture you can get now and enjoy it now? That is what I did. I bought the sample projector to use for my reference system.”

Review: Marantz VP-12S4 DLP – Via HDBlog

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