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Sony BDP-SX1000 Portable Blu-ray Player - HD redux!

Sony BDP-SX1000 Portable Blu-ray Player

“This player was very impressive right out of the box, especially with Blu-ray music discs, with a truly photographic picture that is yards ahead of my Samsung 10″ DVD portable, which died on me a couple of years ago. The first generation Blu-ray portables proved to be very expensive, as were the early DVD ones (I paid $1500 for my first Panasonic), so I waited a bit on this one, finding the BDP-SX1000 on eBay at prices from $288.88USD (what I paid) to well over $500…”

HD Projector Project Update - The Anthem LTX-500v

The Anthem LTX-500v (small)“One significant improvement is the reduction in fan noise to 19 dB. Though the previous model was also so rated, this new one is definitely quieter. With the projector just behind my right shoulder, this is a very good thing, and I don’t find it intrusive, even when listening at night with the volume quite low. Another is the improved remote control, which makes operation easier, especially in the dark. It has a centrally located Light button that saves battery wear from automatic backlighting, and the major improvement is a group of buttons at top for the 6 inputs; the previous remote required scrolling through repeated button presses to change inputs…”

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player“I was interested in this player as much for its audio capabilities as its video quality. That said, I started my evaluation with our standard Blu-ray and DVD video test discs through the Anthem LTX-500 1080p projector onto our Vutec 92″ pull-up screen. The discs included Joe Kane’s Digital Video Essentials in both Blu-ray and DVD editions, and the FPD Benchmark Software disc. There are tests for colour, resolution, greyscale, geometric performance, and motion artifacts, to mention some of the main criteria…”

NAD/PSB Image Series Home Theater System

NAD T775 Receiver“At the suggestion of Lenbrook Industries Consumer Product Marketing Manager, Denise Babin, I agreed to do a complete review of this one-company/two-brand home theatre system. Maybe I should have thought about it a little longer; it was a pretty big project, as it turned out: an upper echelon NAD Blu-ray player, a powerful and very versatile HT receiver, and 6 channels of PSB Image reproduction. I brooded about this while I spent the better part of a day or two unboxing and measuring all the speakers…”

The Audio Ideas HD Projector Project #4 - Anthem LTX 500 LCOS Projector

Anthem LTX (Detail)“Projectors have been coming down in price lately, and most of these are full HD 1080p. But there are differences among them in picture quality, even at this high resolution. Other factors come into play, including contrast ratio, grey-scale reproduction, colour accuracy, and geometric precision. There is also that almost indefinable quality, the natural and lifelike quality of the picture. Not many projectors, especially budget-priced ones, deliver this kind of performance right out of the box, and some can never attain it, even if they are 1080p capable…”

Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray/DVD Player

Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player
“I haven’t seen a Blu-ray player for $49.95 at Costco yet, but prices are coming down, as this recent model from Samsung attests. The BD-P1500 is being sold for close to $200 in Canada, and for as low as $150 in the US. But it’s not a stripped down model by any means, with HDMI 1.3 output for full 1080p at 24 fps, and Samsung’s Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) connectivity, “which allows you to operate compatible HDMI products with a single remote”, according to an online blurb…”

The AIG HD Projector Project #3 - The SIM2 Domino 80E Evolution

SIM2 Domino 80E Evolution“We’ve reviewed several SIM2 projectors over the years, and they have always excelled in their optics, with better lenses than most, and a near-perfect picture right out of the box, the HT300 E-Link being a prime example, making the utmost of 720p. Here we have the company’s version of a near-budget 1080p model, the D30 being the real entry model in the Domino Series…”

Crystal Cable New Standard Certified 1.3B HDMI Cable

Crystal HDMI Cable - detailCrystal Cable was founded in 2004 with the aim of building audio cables from a special balanced formula of gold-infused silver that increases conductivity because of its extraordinary purity, 99.9999999% conductive metal. The driving force behind Crystal Cable is Gabi van der Kleij, a trained concert pianist, who has assembled some very innovative engineers to develop and manufacture the cable materials and do final construction. All their cables are wound using special techniques that employ, as well as the proprietary gold/silver alloy, such materials as Kapton and Teflon for insulation purposes…”

KURO Plasmas & Blu-ray from Pioneer

Pioneer Elite Blu-RayLate last year, I spent an afternoon in the Pioneer Canadian showroom watching and testing these Elite products with a variety of Blu-Ray discs and DVD test material, including Digital Video Essentials, and a new Blu-ray disc that’s very revealing of such things as motion artifacts, called FPD Benchmark Software, which comes from Japan. With both TV/monitors hooked up via HDMI to another Elite product, the SC-09TX receiver, I was able to get a good look at just about the finest plasma performance I’ve ever seen. More on that below, but first a brief description of the two HTDVs and the Blu-ray player…”

The AIG HD Projector Project #2 - The Sanyo PLV-Z2000 LCD

Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Front Projector“Can a projector that costs about the same price as a large-screen plasma or LCD set deliver a superior, as well as, larger picture? I suppose that’s the first of quite a few questions posed in this review, and possibly answered. I guess I was spoiled somewhat by the Knoll DLP, which worked almost to optimum right out of the box, but this was not the case with the Sanyo…”

The AIG HD Projector Project #1 - The Knoll HDP460 1080p DarkChip4

Knoll HDP-450-F Projector“We’ve profiled several projectors over the years, but have yet to make a major project of it, so here we go! With picture quality going up exponentially, and prices coming down the same way, it’s time to find that perfect meeting point of both. There was a time, and not too long ago either, when a really good projector had a name like Vidikron or Runco, and cost about $40,000. Faroudja was a big name in video processing, and now they’re just a small adjunct to Meridian…”

Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1 Blu-Ray & DVD Player

Pioneer Elite Blu-Ray“It seems Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are fighting their marginal little format war in a dusty corner of some video arcade, Blu-Ray quite literally, as its main growth is in game consoles. Pioneer’s Elite division, arguably designer and manufacturer of the most consistently outstanding players of video discs in general, and DVDs specifically in recent history, has embraced the Blu-Ray format with this machine…”

Pioneer Elite System: PRO-1140 HD Plasma, VSX-84TX Receiver, DV-46AV Universal DVD Player

Pioneer Pro 1140 HD Plasma

“A company that still beats the drum for plasma while others cut and run, as our temporary prime minster would say, Pioneer has certainly made its statement in the quality of picture offered, and the progressive improvement since the introduction of these big screen flat panels. Price points have dropped at retail, though not quite so quickly as those of the competing technologies, for example, LCD, which has made a big charge in its various iterations by the different manufacturers, most recently Sharp, with its Aquos series. The Pioneer Elite PRO-1140HD TV/monitor is therefore a statement product in quality, if not in price, from Pioneer Elite…”

SIM2 Seleco HT300 E-Link 720p DLP Video Projector

Sim2 Domino 30 DLP Projector

“I started watching with input 9 (you turn on the projector by pressing the appropriate input; it then warms up for a minute or two, the picture appears, and then becomes brighter over a period of several minutes as the lamp is gradually brought to full illumination, a process that takes time, but also helps realize the 8000-hour estimated bulb life. This is an important concern when projector bulb survival rates are often mired in the 2000-hour range…”

SIM2 Domino 30 DLP Video Projector

Sim2 Domino 30 DLP Projector

“DLP projectors are getting better with each new generation of chips from DLP’s inventor, Texas Instruments. The Domino 30 uses the most recent, with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, which is native 720p. High resolution optics are employed with motorized zoom and focus adjustments. The projector bulb is said to have a service life of 6000 hours or more…”

Benq PE8700 DLP Video Projector

Benq PE 8700 DLP Projector

“A new name in the A/V firmamant, BenQ claims to be the 3d largest manufacturer of LCD panels in the world, and has come into Canada as a subsidiary of BenQ America Corp., and the parent company has manufacturing plants in Malaysia, Mexico, China, and Taiwan. The product presented here, however, is a projector that, like the SIM2 Domino 30, uses the newest HD2 Mustang 720p DLP engine…”

ISF for HDTV - Andrew Marshall on ISF calibration

ISF logo

“Some of us thought that HDTV sets would come ready to make the best of all images, and I assumed this when I acquired my 64″ Pioneer Elite PRO-710HD rear-projection TV a year or more ago. It has been superseded by newer, less expensive models in the same size, as HD prices have rapidly come down. The buzz these days is around the larger plasma sets (up to 60″), which can be hung on a wall…”

Pioneer Elite PRO-910 HD Plasma Display and Media Receiver

Pioneer Elite Pro-910 HD Plasma Display

“The PRO-910HD is the first Pioneer plasma in our experience to come with an outboard controller/tuner box, with ATSC digital tuner, as well as VHF/UHF reception. It also handles cable or satellite digital services. Connection to the display is via a single output that Pioneer calls their iLink (an IEEE 1394 “Firewire”) cable. However, the RO4U media receiver/processor has numerous inputs on both front and rear panels…”

SIM2 Seleco Grand Cinema HT300 DLP Video Projector

Sim2 HT-300

“It could be said that this new projector is a truly international product (at a truly international price, too), in that much of its technology comes from the US and it’s manufactured in Italy. It features the new Texas Instruments HD-1 Digital Micromirror Device 16:9 (1280 x 720 pixels) DLP chip to support 720p resolution, and uses the increasingly popular Faroudja/Sage DCDi chipset for deinterlacing and video enhancement…”

Pioneer Elite Pro-1000HD 50 inch Plasma Display

Pioneer Elite PRO-1000HD

“The Elite PRO-1000HD is either the third or fourth generation plasma model from Pioneer, and incorporates all the improvements they’ve made to this technology. Most of these are in the areas of resolution and motion artifacts, both serious considerations with fixed pixel displays. In the past, plasma sets have tended to work best when a scaler or line doubler is between the video source and the display to provide compensation for artifacts, and provide the exact resolution that works best with the particular display…”


  Outside the Speakers

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