equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
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Sunday, 01 June 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Philips BDP7200 Blu-ray Player
Introduction Philips’ first Blu-ray player, the BDP9000, quietly crept into the market in late 2006. Upon its initial release, the player cost $1,000, did not support 1080p/24 output, and lacked any means of passing high-resolution audio formats. The new BDP7200 supports 1080p/24 playback and allows you to pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstream over HDMI … and its MSRP is $600 less than that of its predecessor. The player’s $399 list price puts it at the lowest end of the price spectrum for a new Profile 1.1 player. The Profile 1.1 designation (also known as BonusView) means the BDP7200 supports picture-in-picture playback, but lacks BD-Live support to access Web content. Philips’ timing is good: the BDP7200 is one of the first new entry-level Blu-ray players to hit the market since the format war ended in February, and the company hopes to ...
Thursday, 01 May 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Pioneer Elite BDP-95FD Blu-ray Player
Introduction Back in May 2007, Pioneer introduced their first Blu-ray player to the market. The BDP-94FD offered desirable Blu-ray traits like 1080p/24 output and onboard Dolby TrueHD decoding, and it added one distinguishing feature: Pioneer’s Home Media Gallery, which lets you stream music, photos and HD video from a PC or DLNA-compliant server. At $999, the BDP-94FD was priced competitively with many of the other Blu-ray players hitting the market at the time. Just five months later, Pioneer released their second-generation player, the BDP-95FD, which adds one highly desirable feature: the ability to send the native bit stream of a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD soundtrack over HDMI. While just about every other Blu-ray manufacturer has lowered prices to stay competitive, Pioneer opted to stick with $999 for the BDP-95FD. The company’s decision to remain positioned in the higher-end luxury market works ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray Player
Introduction When Warner Brothers announced in early January that they are going to release future titles exclusively in the Blu-ray format, most people heralded the end of the high-def format war and all the confusion it has caused. Sure, there are bound to be a few more skirmishes, but realistically, the war is probably over. What does that mean for the consumer? Well, an end to the confusion, of course, and a guarantee that the Blu-ray player you buy now won’t go the route of Beta and become obsolete. Not so fast. Blu-ray may soon be the only high-def disc format, but early adopters are still taking some risk if they buy a Blu-ray player now. Why? Because most of the players currently on the market don’t exploit the format’s full potential. The average consumer probably isn’t even aware that the Blu-ray ...
Saturday, 01 September 2007 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Samsung BD-P1200 Blu-ray Player
Introduction I’m sure you are all aware of the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD. Both sides seem to be dug in for a hard-fought and lengthy battle. Some consumers, still bitter over the last format war between SACD and DVD-Audio, are choosing to sit this one out. Others, myself and other writers included, are taking a drastically different approach. I personally have purchased more than five players from each of the two HD formats since they have been released and have been enjoying both formats to their fullest. There is simply no substitute for the increased resolution these discs offer over even the best scaled standard-definition DVDs. Samsung was the first company to produce a player with true 1080p output, the BDP-1000, and is now shipping their second-generation Blu-ray player, the BD-P1200. Carrying a retail price of $599, the new BD-P1200 promises to significantly improve on load times and the generally clumsy ...
Thursday, 01 February 2007 ,  Written by Ken Taraszka, MD
Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Player
Introduction This early in the development of the Blu-ray format, amidst a format war with rival HD DVD, Sony’s first player hits the market as one of the few real-world options for people looking to play back 1080p video on their HDTVs. Priced at $999, the Sony BDP-S1 competes with offerings from Samsung and Panasonic, as well as the hard-to-get Sony Playstation 3 game console. Included with the player is a copy of The Fifth Element (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment) on Blu-ray. A free Blu-ray movie, Talledega Nights, also accompanies Sony’s Playstation 3 game console. The Sony BDP-S1 came to my house the same day as Sony’s new 70-inch SXRD rear-projection TV, the KDS-R70XBR2, so all at once I was fully up for 1080p. I quickly unpacked the Sony player from its box and Styrofoam packing, unwrapped it, placed it in my rack and swapped its digital connection with that of another of my DVD ...
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