Slowly but surely, Sony's beginning to unlock more and more of that multimedia horsepower under the hood of the PlayStation 3. The 1.80 firmware upgrade--available as an automatic download to PS3s everywhere--adds a variety of features to the console, most of which bolster the system's AV prowess. The main upgrades are as follows:upscaling of games and DVDs: DVD movies, PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games can now be upscaled to HD resolutions up to 1080p (games can upscale via component or HDMI, while DVDs are only upconverted via HDMI). streaming of digital media to PS3 via … Read more
Among the first-generation Blu-ray players, Panasonic's DMP-BD10 was remarkable for its higher-than-average price tag ($1,300 versus the $1,000 norm) and the company's promise of a future firmware upgrade that would unleash the full sonic power of Blu-ray audio soundtracks. Having made good on the firmware upgrade in April, Panasonic has now shaved 54 percent off the price. In addition to sporting the upgraded firmware, the newly christened DMP-BD10A will retail for $600 and include five Blu-ray movies--Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Transporter, Fantastic Four, … Read more
Pioneer announced its new Elite BDP-94HD Blu-ray player today, following up on its first generation BDP-HD1. Besides the new model name, there doesn't look to be much of a change from last year's model. The biggest addition we can see is onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, which means it should be able to decode Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and send uncompressed PCM soundtracks to a compatible receiver via HDMI. Pioneer is also claiming to have revamped its Home Media Gallery feature, which allows for some basic network media streaming using the Ethernet port and supposedly the capability to download … Read more
For the past 12 to 18 months, astute readers may have noticed an increased bit of hedging in our reviews for AV receivers. Yes, even low-end receivers offer more features and flexibility than $1,500 models did just three or four years ago and yes, there are plenty of great-sounding receivers available out there at great prices. But smart shoppers looking for a no-compromise, future-proof AV receiver have been stymied, even if they've been willing to pay upwards of $2,000.
At least, that was the case--until today. Onkyo has become the first mainstream manufacturer to officially announce an array of home audio products that offer the two big features that have been MIA on home audio products to date: HDMI 1.3; and onboard decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks found on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The news itself wasn't a surprise, as most of the details had been leaked on the Web earlier this month. And there is no doubt that other manufacturers will be announcing similarly equipped receivers in the next few weeks and months. But because specs, pricing, and availability have been confirmed, we can now say authoritatively that Onkyo looks to be offering some of the most exciting--and surprisingly affordable--A/V receivers seen in recent years.… Read more
Just got an e-mail from the PR firm representing HD DVD, and the North American HD DVD Promotional Group has announced that "sales of dedicated HD DVD consumer electronics players reached more than 100K units sold in the United States, ahead of any other high definition format." I'm not sure why, but that figure doesn't include sales of HD DVD PC drives or the Xbox 360 HD DVD player, which the group says, "are also selling strongly."
I presume that Team HD DVD may not want to compare total HD DVD hardware sales to … Read more
And then there were two.
Samsung will join its archrival LG in releasing a combo HD disc player later this year. According to a brief press release, the Korean consumer electronics giant will introduce the BD-UP5000 "Duo HD" player this year. The release also specified that the player will "fully support both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats and their interactive technologies, HDi and BD-Java." No pricing or additional feature details on the Samsung BD-UP5000 were made available.
The official announcement of the BD-UP5000 confirms rumors that have been percolating for months. Most recently, Home Theater Blog … Read more
Earlier today, we noticed a small item that was little bit buried on Engadget HD. The post referred to a report from Hi-Def Digest that said that Universal Studios Home Entertainment was "lessening its support for the controversial HD DVD/DVD combo format," and had "reconfigured the planned April combo releases of The Jerk and The Nutty Professor to be HD DVD-only." The article went on to say that the "latest move by the Universal comes on the heels of news late last week that the studio is discontinuing two of its most popular combo … Read more
To: Fox Home Entertainment From: Caroline McCarthy, Crave Re: What's with the Blu-rays?
Fox, you have been all too generous. I'm not a movie critic. I'm not a DVD reviewer. I'm not even employed as a reviewer here at CNET. But it's always a pleasant surprise when a package arrives from you guys every few weeks and there's a complimentary Blu-ray Disc inside. Today, it was an especially nice surprise when Eragon showed up in my mailbox. (I'm a "so bad it's good" fan.)
But here's my dilemma. I … Read more
Ah, the art of blogging. Today, AOL's Engadget reported that according to some alleged retail insiders who frequent the AVS Forum message boards, the much-rumored price drop on HD DVD players is about to become a reality. According to said blogger, on April 1 the HD-A2 will be repriced at $399 MSRP (down from $499) and the $799 HD-XA2 will also shed $100. That all may be true, but the fact is a quick check over at Amazon would reveal that the price cuts are already in effect. The HD-A2 is $356.99 and the HD-XA2 is sitting at … Read more