Need to connect a cable box, Blu-ray player, Xbox 360 Elite, PlayStation 3, or other device to your HDTV? Don't let your local big-box sales weenie talk you into spending $60, $80, or even $100 on an HDMI cable. Instead, head to eBay, Meritline, Newegg, or the like and scoop up a no-brand equivalent for as little as 10 bucks.
HDMI cables, which carry digital audio and video signals, are insanely overpriced. That's the consensus of Ars Technica, CNET, The Consumerist, and yours truly. There's ample scientific and anecdotal evidence that dirt-cheap generics perform just as well … Read more
I recently returned to the $6 million Kipnis Studio Standard for an afternoon of listening. Mostly to music and a bit of home theater fun, but the uber system's effortless power is what really blew me away. I was listening to the 11,315 watt system turned up nice and loud, but I had no idea how loud. Luckily, Jeremy Kipnis had a sound pressure level meter handy, so I took a reading, 105 decibels. Whoa, that's really loud, but the sound was so clean it didn't hurt. Bear in mind I'm no fan of loud movie theaters or concerts--in fact I always wear hearing protection when I hear music or movies in public. But here with the KSS loud wasn't a problem. I turned up the volume louder and louder, just to see how it would feel, and the sound just got better and better. If the goal of "good sound" is to reproduce music at the same volume as it would be in real life, you need a lot of power.
How many watts do you need? … Read more
So you bought a brand new computer for your home and want a desktop printer to go along with it, but don't have a ton of cash leftover? No problem. Prices for single-function inkjet and monolaser printers have dropped significantly in the past five years, and you can easily pick one up that'll handle the job for less than $150. Leave the high-volume documents for the laser monster at work and invest in a scaled-down, simple printer for the home. Take a look at our roundup of inexpensive printers for the home.
Some time ago we reviewed an LG home cinema system, which wowed us with its low cost and high performance. So when LG offered to send us its new HT762TZ 5.1 system, with a built-in DVD player and the added bonus of some stylish Champagne-flute speakers, we were understandably excited.
As we've said many times, in countless reviews, flat-panel TVs often let themselves down with poor-quality sound, so adding a surround-sound system--or at least a 2.1 system--is a very good idea, especially if you're a movie fan. One of the things we loved about LG's … Read more
Check it out, baby, check it out (sorry, been watching too much American Idol): Dell's rocking Inspiron 530s desktops for just $299 (plus 30 bucks or so for shipping, and possibly sales tax as well).
The configuration includes a 2GHz Pentium E2180 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and a DVD burner--all wrapped in Dell's sexy little slimline case.
Like games? Keep looking: The integrated Intel GMA 3100 graphics are more suited to Peggle than Portal. It's just as well, then, that Dell bundles Vista Home Basic, which lacks Aero, Media Center, and other … Read more
I had the chance to do a question-and-answer session with Tomoyasu Suzuki, president and co-founder of Plat'Home. Plat'Home makes a cool palm-sized Linux server, and is one of the early drivers of Japan's Linux market.
Suzuki, a graduate of Tokyo University, co-founded Plat'Home in 1993 and eventually took the reins as CEO in 2000, the same year it IPO'd in Japan. He has a wealth of experience pushing Linux into developing markets, making it a real treat to get some of his time for this Q&A:
Asay: After generating several billion dollars in value in two different satellite company IPOs in Japan in the early 1990s, you turned to energies to building a Linux company. Why?
Suzuki: Satellites and entertainment are certainly big business and continue to grow. Those were early days in the Japanese satellite industry, and it was exciting to be involved.
But, ultimately, I believe the opportunity for Linux expanding into a wide range of devices, including, of course, entertainment devices like set-top boxes, cell phones, and other mobile devices, radically dwarfs the opportunity for broadcast entertainment. Even today, when you search, when you make a phone call, when you do online banking, you're using Linux. And it's only the beginning. I wanted to be a part of that.… Read more
We just posted our review of Aperion's new Intimus 5B Harmony SD home theater speakers, and the verdict is in: Aperion's new system sounds seriously awesome. It's got a new remote-controlled sub, with adjustable EQ, which we loved for changing sub levels on the fly without getting off the couch. But the real selling point is the system's sonics, and resident Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg gives it a strong recommendation. We had some quibbles--the biggest of which was the difficult subwoofer setup--but overall we were really impressed with performance and build quality of the Intimus 5b Harmony … Read more
Despite the fact that competing DVRs from cable and satellite companies have made great headway in the past few years, we're still fans of TiVo's intuitive interface and constantly improving feature set. However, the knock against TiVo is that it's expensive--you have to buy the box and pay a $13 monthly fee, while a DVR from your cable company usually costs less than $10 a month with no up-front cost.
As of late, TiVo has been offering a lifetime subscription plan as a promotion that was slated to end in February, but the eagle-eyed TiVo fans over … Read more