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AIG REVIEWS

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver - An Anthem That Is More Than Patriotic!

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver“Before I delve into the installation, a little more info about the MRX 700. It is the top-of-the-line A/V receiver from Anthem, and sports a polite and tidy front panel with a brushed black face. All the basic buttons are present to navigate, but, as with most A/V products you need your trusty flat screen TV to set everything up. A nifty thin sliding door reveals easy front access for a USB input, headphone jack, and RCA audio/video jacks…”

Audio Ideas: Is 3D For Real, Or Just Another Gimmick? And Is It Dangerous For Some Viewers?

3D glasses“I’ve been following the recent 3D hype for over a year, wondering when all the dust will settle. As a youngster, I lived through the first 3D bubble, which like a balloon, quickly deflated as the thrill wore off. I remember ducking the arrows in Massacre At Feather River, and watched quite a few 3D movies at the Seneca Theatre In Niagara Falls with either red/blue or polarized glasses. There were a few that were in black-and-white, which kind of took the edge off the realism.”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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…”

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-710 HD 64 inch Rear Projection TV

Pioneer Elite HT Pro 710

“My wife didn’t buy it, but for the last year or more I’ve felt handicapped in reviewing the latest video gear because I didn’t have a high resolution digital television. That meant no component inputs, no progressive scan capability, and limited resolution in image display. OK, work with me on this…I needed a newer, bigger, better video centrepiece…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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