Most "smart home" automation systems require a significant investment in additional equipment in order to smarten up your otherwise not-so-smart gear.
True story: The cable guy was over just last week, troubleshooting a signal-strength problem with our service. When he saw my CableCard-equipped media center PC, he said, "I've been wanting to do that with my computer, because Windows' channel guide is so much better than ours."
True dat. Windows Media Center offers a mighty sweet 10-foot interface, and when you pair your PC with a CableCard tuner, you've got everything you need for DVR awesomeness.
There are three such tuners on the market, and today's deal is for the most versatile of them. While supplies … Read more
Subscribe: RSS (SD) RSS (HD) iTunes (SD) iTunes (HD)
It's easy to go over the top when it comes to outfitting your dream home theater system. One minute you're checking out HD projectors, and the next minute you're trying to figure out how to convert your entire basement into a giant subwoofer.
But it never hurts to start with the basics. In this CNET Top 5, I asked CNET Associate Editor Matthew Moskovciak for the essential ingredients in today's modern home theater system.
Rumors abound that the next-generation PlayStation will be able to output 4K resolution.
Normally, I find rumors about as useful and interesting as other people's gas, but this one stinks on a different level.
Allow me to confound with reasons why I think 4K output with the PS4 is simultaneously likely, and pretty much irrelevant.… Read more
August 29, 2012: This is an update of my subwoofer setup article from 2008.
Merely buying a great subwoofer is no guarantee that you'll wind up with great bass. There are too many ways to squander its performance potential, and that's why putting in the extra effort to achieve proper subwoofer setup is crucial. This two-part guide will help you get the best room-shaking bass from your subwoofer.
Subwoofer Setup Part I:Placement and positioning While a subwoofer's deep bass is nondirectional, it would be unwise to … Read more
Rumors are still flying about the next great TV technology: organic light-emitting diode.
It's difficult to pry info out of the companies involved, but I figured it was worth putting down what we know, what we think we know, and what we know we don't know, ya know?
OK, go.… Read more
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about AV receiver feature glut. Today's receiver manufacturers put an inordinate amount of time and money into designing feature-laden receivers, and feature glut might be part of the reason why today's receivers don't sound as good as receivers did in the 1980s. I get it, today's consumers rarely compare one receiver's sound with another receiver, but they can count HDMI connections, so that's where the money goes.
It's not that Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Yamaha aren't trying to make great-sounding receivers, … Read more
CNET Reader Doug Hagemeister asks:Hello! I was watching a movie on Blu-ray the other day filmed in the 21:9 aspect ratio and I realized that it technically wasn't "1080p" since about 1/4 of the screen was taken up by the horizontal black bars (called "letter boxing," correct?). Anyway, I was just wondering how many pixels were being used on the TV. Thank you!
Ah, letterboxing, how I love you.
To understand letterboxing, we have to talk about aspect ratio. HDTVs are 16x9, or 1.78:1. Slightly wider than they are tall, they're pleasantly rectangular. Old-fashioned tube TVs were 4x3, or 1.33:1, so closer to square. … Read more
Editors' Note: An updated article entitled Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid was published on January 28, 2013.
A few months ago, hot on the multitude of 4K TV announcements at CES, I wrote an article called "Why 4K TVs are stupid."
I was shocked, shocked to find so many angry, contrary opinions on the subject. I mean, this is the Internet. Surely everyone is cordial and like-minded.
The comment section was the usual bog of ad hominem, straw man, and plain nonsense arguments. But buried deep within the chaff were a few good questions worthy of rebuttal. So if you'll indulge...… Read more