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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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 ...
Thursday, 01 May 2008 ,  Written by Adrienne Maxwell
Panasonic TH-42PZ77U Plasma HDTV
Introduction A lot of people are ready to sound the death knoll for plasma, asserting that the technology won’t be able to keep pace with LCD, in price or volume, over the long term. Rather than try to compete with LCD in a price war, companies like Pioneer and Hitachi are positioning their plasma HDTVs as higher-end luxury items. Panasonic, meanwhile, has chosen to remain in the mid- and entry-level rings and duke it out with LCD. They landed a good punch when they became the first plasma maker to offer a true 1920 x 1080 resolution at the 42-inch screen size, a category where LCD held a clear advantage. The benefits of 1080p at this screen size are questionable at best – at least in terms of how much resolution the eye can actually see from a normal viewing distance ...
Thursday, 24 April 2008 ,  Written by
Panasonic TC-32LX85 LCD HDTV
The Basics: Panasonic is known for its plasma HDTVs, but did you know that the company also offers LCD HDTVs? The company keeps a clear screen-size delineation between the two technologies: LCDs are sized 37 inches and below, while plasmas are sized 42 inches and above. This 32-inch model is part of Panasonic’s 2008 lineup and sports a 1366 x 768 resolution. All new Panasonic TVs include an SD card slot through which you can view JPEG photos; it’s also compatible with the GalleryPlayer system that lets you display professional photographs and works of art. This TV includes three HDMI inputs, including one on the side panel for easy access; these inputs do not accept a 1080p signal. Viera Link (HDMI-CEC) is available for more intuitive control of devices connected via HDMI. There’s only one component video input and no dedicated ...
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 ...
Wednesday, 19 March 2008 ,  Written by
Philips 47PFL9732D LCD HDTV
The Basics: This 47-inch, 1080p model hails from Philips’ high-end 2007 line and includes 120Hz technology, which doubles the TV’s frame rate from 60 to 120Hz to reduce the appearance of judder and render smoother motion. This TV also includes Philips’ Ambilight system, Perfect Pixel HD processing and a USB port through which you can perform firmware updates and play JPEG/MP3 files. Philips’ Settings Assistant automatically makes adjustments to picture controls by showing you a series of split-screen images; as you select which image you prefer, the TV adjusts the picture parameters accordingly. This TV offers a decent amount of image adjustments, including direct access to white-balance controls, but it lacks an adjustable backlight, offering only a light sensor that automatically adjusts image brightness based on your room’s lighting conditions. The connection panel lacks a PC, input but includes three HDMI ...
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