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Computers Blend with Home Audio/Video

Sony VAIO® Digital Living System™VGX-XL3

First came the Media Center software, then companies such as Gateway attempted to make a home theater computers but none really took off. Could a higher class system with a Blu-Ray player/burner capable of full 1080P be the answer?

Light up your living room with the flush, understated design of the VAIO® XL3 Digital Living System™. Designed to integrate with your living room entertainment system, the VAIO XL3 is a full HD 1080 Media Center PC with Blu-ray Disc™ technology and DVR functionality. Watch Blu-ray Disc™ movies2 in stunning high definition (HD) clarity and record content to a single 25GB or 50GB Blu-ray Disc (MP2 format only). Supporting CableCARD™ technology, the VAIO XL3 also lets you watch and record live TV, including high definition and premium channels. And, it’s easy to use with a wireless keyboard and remote control, HDMI™ for single-cable connectivity and Windows Vista™ Home Premium with Media Center functionality for easy management of your pictures, music and videos.

Designed for the Living Room or Home Theater About the size of a traditional stereo receiver, this rack-style multimedia PC bridges the gap between your computing and entertainment worlds, adding an exciting new PC dimension to your home theater experience. With its sleek brushed aluminum, smoked acrylic front and optimized cooling for near-silent operation, the VAIO XL3 blends neatly and quietly into your living room entertainment center and home theater.

Watch and Record TV Enjoy high-quality TV on your terms. With built-in NTSC and ATSC TV tuners and CableCARD™ support, you can watch and record analog and digital TV directly to the hard drive for on-demand viewing, including premium and over-the-air HD content.

Watch and Record Cable and Premium HDTV The XL3 Digital Living System™ is digital cable ready and features an OCUR receiver, which is a digital cable receiver and interface that accepts a TV CableCARD. The CableCARD removable security module, which must be obtained from your local service provider, allows you to access the digital cable channels to which you subscribe without the need for a set-top-box. Windows Vista™ Home Premium with Media Center functionality acts as your DVR, letting you record and catalog your favorite TV programs to the hard drive. These innovative tools let you consolidate your entertainment center by replacing your HD DVR and digital cable set-top-box with the VAIO XL3.

Video Playback Beyond High Definition Watch movies in the best high definition picture quality available. Whether you’re watching a Hollywood title in HD or enjoying crystal clear video captured from your compatible HDV camcorder, the VAIO® XL3 Digital Living System™ is capable of playing high definition Blu-ray Disc™ movies in stunning clarity and incredible full HD 1080 resolution. And since the Blu-ray Disc™ optical drive is backwards-compatible with the format of your CDs and DVD collection, you can still enjoy your existing entertainment library.


Ultimate Home Theater Receiver

 

Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi

Introducing the ultimate A/V control center, and the top of the Elite receiver line. The hub of a phenomenal home entertainment experience, this Elite receiver gives you greater access to, and control of, an array of audio and video sources — including today's and tomorrow's high-definition innovations. Seven digital inputs include four HDMI inputs capable of transferring massive amounts of high-definition content — including 1080p signals — with one-cable connection to your HDTV. No tangle of wires, no compression, and no loss of quality. HDMI is even ready for the future of HD, including Blu-Ray Disc® players. High-definition or not — it will all come across richer, purer, better when passed through this Elite receiver. The Faroudja DCDi HD Video Scaler accepts and up-converts low-res video signals to 480p, 720p or 1080i resolutions for a better match to your HDTV or monitor's native resolution. If you're a high fidelity audiophile, combine the VSX-84TXSi with the Elite DV-79AVi DVD player and connect them through the iLink advanced resolution digital audio interface. This Elite A/V Receiver and DVD Player combination allows the Pioneer-exclusive PQLS (Precision Quartz Lock System) in the receiver to control the output signals from the DVD player for the absolute best jitter-free signal transfers of DVD-Audio and SACD music. So many entertainment possibilities. All delivered to you through one exceptional receiver

Your digital content, delivered - Unleash the full power of your digital content, in ways you never thought possible, through this Elite receiver. Enjoy your content from your iPod® player, and XM® HD satellite radio* in multi-channel surround sound, enhanced by Pioneer's new patent-pending Sound Retriever technology. A secondary main room remote control also lets you easily control your iPod player and XM Radio experience using familiar on-screen menus.

Let the experience surround you - Whatever your entertainment, this Elite receiver powers a sonic performance so real, so intense, so enveloping, you'll feel transported. High-impact home theater comes with THX™ Select2™ certification, twelve advanced surround modes, and a selection of Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, and DTS 96/24 surround sound. All delivered to you in 140 blistering watts across as many as seven speakers. Powering this performance is the third generation Sharc-EX processor from Analog Devices, coupled with a 48-bit Freescale processor. Once your multi-channel content leaves the digital processing stage, Pioneer's 60 years of amplifier design and innovation takes over with low-impedance, high-current, Advanced Direct Energy amplifiers with rigid trans-stabilizer construction, for minimal interference, minimal loss of energy, and maximum signal purity to deliver a high-fidelity sonic performance you'll want to hear over and over again.

Put the “home” in your entertainment This Elite receiver is the center of your customized home entertainment system. For professional-grade audio — without the need for a professional — there's the Advanced Multi-Channel AcoustiC Calibration System (MCACC) with Phase Control and Standing Wave compensation. Just put the included microphone in the room's sonic sweet spot, and Advanced MCACC automatically measures the acoustic characteristics of the listening environment, fine-tuning the performance of all connected speakers. For professional customization, this receiver is custom installation-ready. The RS-232c interface and discrete IR code online downloads make it simple for custom installers to add and program third party IR receivers, repeaters and touch pad remote controls — allowing control of multiple components in second and third rooms. 12-volt triggers can be configured by custom installers to do things like dim the lights when you are ready to watch a movie — all at the touch of a button. This Elite receiver puts you in complete command of your entertainment, across your home.

Suggested Retail $1500


Sony's Answer to Pioneer

Sony STR-DA5200ES 7.1

Deliver the digital world into your living room with the powerful STR-DA5200ES 7.1 channel A/V receiver. The STR-DA5200ES captures input from your audio and visual sources, including Blu-ray discs, DVDs, CDs and portables, and optimizes each signal for the best possible aural and visual quality. Enjoy hundreds of channels of crystal-clear digital radio when you connect the optional XM Connect-and-Play™ antenna.

At the same suggested price as the top of the line Pioneer Elite you'll have to decide which features are most important. For audio quality it hard to beat the Pioneer Elite while the Sony upconverts to full 1080p.

Optimized for Blu-ray Disc™ and Other HD Sources The STR-DA5200ES is engineered to be the ideal Blu-ray A/V receiver, fully compatible with the Sony® BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc™ Player. Superior video switching and audio performance ensure seamless compatibility with today’s demanding HD sources.

HDMI “Active Intelligence” The receiver can detect and receive the best possible video and audio signals from all connected devices—making connection and performance as simple as plugging in a single wire.

HDMI Up Conversion (Input sources up to 1080i) Composite, s-video and component video sources can be converted to HDMI output, minimizing the number of connections needed from the receiver to the television display.

Powered Multi-Room While you enjoy a riveting 5.1 channel surround experience in your living room, the receiver’s two additional amplifier channels can be routed to any other room in the house and independently play any device connected to the receiver.

Digital Cinema Auto Calibration An ideal listening experience is only a button away. Simply place the included microphone in your listening position, push a single button and speaker placement, distance and delays are automatically adjusted. XM Connect-and-Play™ Neural 5.1 Surround Sound Decoding A world of digital radio at your fingertips. Connect the optional Connect-and-Play antenna for XM subscription service and enjoy the variety and quality of digital radio with the superior sound quality of an A/V receiver. Portable Audio Enhancer The STR-DA5200ES is ideal for today’s portables. A powerful Digital Signal Processor expands the quality of sound from any connected device.


Eliminate Your Clutter of DVD Movies

Sony DVP-CX995V

Sony has made it easier to eliminate the clutter in everyones home theater. Most people now have several DVD movies stacked up on shelves or in cabinets, not to mention the CDs you have collected over the years. This unit has a capacity of 400 Discs covering just about every format except Blu-ray and HD DVD. The unit upconverts low resolution to high definition and has HDMI output.

Imagine tossing out all the DVD boxes after adding your movies, then all those CDs can be added, or compress them to MP3's and fit your entire collection of movies and music into this one unit.

Actually having this unit myself has allowed my collection to be compressed and removed my bulky media cabinet. It is nice to have a small media stand to support my new 1080p LCD big screen with just enough space to hold a receiver and this 400 disc audio/video player. There is a keyboard port to type titles for each disc, but I did find more friendly to make a menu list with some icons for a coffee table booklet.

Features

A 400-Disc DVD/SA-CD/CD Mega Changer gives you the ability for CD's and movies with all the quality you have come to expect from Sony. The DVP-CX995V 400-disc DVD/Super-Audio CD (SA-CD) changer up-scales video to high definition (1080i/720p) resolution and transmits high quality audio through a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI™) technology 4. With libraries of DVD movies, shows and concerts, music CDs and image CDs growing rapidly, the new changer is the perfect way for people to organize their entertainment life. The product features Sony's Precision Cinema Progressive™ circuitry, Dolby® Digital and DTS® 5.1 channel outputs and compatibility with DVD-RW/-R/+RW/+R1, MP32, JPEG3 , CD-RW/-R, VCD and SVCD playback. The new jukebox from Sony.

  • HDMI™4 Interface for HD Ready TV Sets
  • DVD-RW/-R (Video/VR Mode with CPRM) DVD+RW/+R Playback
  • Super Audio CD (2 Channel/Multi Channel)
  • CD (CD/CD-R/CD-RW)/VCD/SVCD
  • MP3 Playback 2 (CD-R/RW,DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW) JPEG (CD-R/-RW,DVD+RW/+R/-R/-RW, Kodak)
  • Multiple Disc Resume: 40 Discs
  • Custom Parental Control: 400 Discs
  • Remote Control with Limited Multi-Brand TV and A/V Receiver Control Compatible with Most Major Brands
  • Back Ground Graphics Advanced SmoothScan™ Technology Smooth Slow
  • Instant Replay
  • Instant Search

Sony's Suggested Retail $399

Available at Costco for $359


LG Helps Consumers with the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray Decision

LG BH100 HD-DVD and Blu-ray Combo Player

Lets face it, the fight over Blu-ray and HD-DVD will continue for some time due to heavy support on both sides. LG has made the decision safe for consumers by allowing both formats to be played on one unit. I would expect others to follow, but LG was smart enough to look out for consumers interest first and LG deserves a big thumbs up for that.

 

LG introduced the first player capable of playing both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. LG demonstrated how you can seamlessly switch between HD DVD and Blu-ray, changing discs, skipping chapters, and watching true HD (1080p) movies in either format without the slightest problem. The exciting part is that the LG BH100 is ready for production.

Suggested Retail $1,200

The LG BH100 finally allows consumers to purchase high-definition discs according to which movie they like--not which player they own. The BH100 is a Blu-ray player that also happens to play HD DVDs. It doesn’t have complete HD DVD support. It is lacking the interactivity. So, the menus that normally come up over the movie are gone. Instead there is a menu the player creates. To access special features, you have to scroll through title by title, and all that is listed is the title number and the length.


Apple TV - Sync your ipod to your TV

Apple TV

Your computer is the center of your digital life. Your TV is the center of your entertainment life. But what if you want to watch movies, TV shows, movie trailers, podcasts, and photos from your computer on your TV? At $299, Apple TV brings iTunes to the big screen.

Say you just downloaded Cars from iTunes. Instead of huddling around your computer to watch, your computer wirelessly syncs your new flick to Apple TV. Then pick up the included Apple Remote to play your movie on TV.

If your TVs HDMI port is occupied by another device, or if your TV doesn't have an HDMI port, you can connect to Apple TV via component video and audio. So no matter what your entertainment system looks like, Apple TV connects easily. And since Apple TV has a built-in power supply, there's no unwieldy power brick to hide.

iTunes to Apple TV, wire free.

Apple TV connects to your TV via an HDMI port or component video and audio ports. Its built-in, superfast 802.11 wireless capability syncs your iTunes library to any Mac or PC in the house. Best of all, what's on Apple TV stays in sync: Anytime you change your library in iTunes, it changes on Apple TV - wirelessly, automatically.

Apple TV puts your iTunes library -movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts - plus movie trailers from Apple.com on your TV. And your digital photos from iPhoto on a Mac or Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Album on a Windows PC appear in high definition, so you can put on a stunning big-screen slideshow.

  • Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz
  • Photo formats supported: JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG
  • Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV

Take a tour of the Apple TV

 

 

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