Chris Eberle

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Projector

In the two years since 3D displays first became commonplace, I've seen many demos; and only a few of them really impressed me. When you watch for a few minutes and you get that "gotta have it" feeling, you know you've seen something special. So far I've seen exactly zero flat panels that affected me that way. They just don't immerse the viewer the way a projector does. I've found for the 3D effect to be truly convincing, the edges of the screen have to be outside my peripheral vision. Front projection is, of course, the answer; but 3D capable models are only just now trickling down to the affordable level. The Optoma HD33 is a DLP projector with 3D capabilities and has full 1920x1080p native resolution. All for less than $1,500.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB LCD Projector

Commenting on value in a review is always risky. The worth of a product is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. In the case of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB, I have every confidence that you will agree when I say, this projector is one of the best values on the market today. For less than the price of many big-screen TVs, you can have the front projection experience with plenty of light, accurate color, high-end video processing, and all at full 1920x1080p.

Toshiba 55SL417U 55″ Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

With all the hoopla surrounding 3D, the other big innovation in HDTVs has been largely forgotten – LED backlighting. For an image-quality geek like me though, this is a far more significant advance in technology. LCD panels can now play in the same black-level arena as plasma TVs. In some cases, they even exceed. As anyone schooled in imaging science will tell you, dynamic range is the single most important factor in perceived image quality. Let's take a look at this Toshiba 55" HDTV with edge lit LED backlighting.

Runco LS-10i 3-Chip DLP Projector

I am often asked when recommending projectors why some models cost upwards of $20,000. The simple answer is – light output. You can get a state-of-the-art projector for $8000 and have a superb image, as well as excellent build quality. But you won't be able to fill a 180-inch screen from 25 feet away and achieve 20 foot-Lamberts. For this you need a high output model, preferably a 3-chip DLP like Runco's new LS-10i. But, you will need that $20,000.

Nixeus Fusion HD Digital Player (Multi-media Streamer)

It seems only appropriate that I follow my recent review of the Apple TV with a look at another digital player, the Nixeus Fusion HD. This product is another example of a multi-media streaming device. It has the ability to play back a wide variety of formats for video, still photos, and audio. To this it adds Internet functionality in the form of a web browser plus access to services like YouTube and Flickr. It also offers file management in the form of BitTorrent and easy connectivity with your networked computers via Ethernet or WiFi.

Second-Generation Apple TV Media Streamer

Ever since Louis Daguerre took the first photograph and Thomas Edison lowered the needle on the first phonograph, media has been a part of our lives. The reproduction of still and moving images and sound is an art form that we are unlikely to see the zenith of in our lifetimes. Since the early part of the twentieth century, sound and video reproduction usually came in the form of magnetic tape, film or vinyl records. Now with the proliferation of digital storage methods, evolution has accelerated. The Apple TV second generation media streamer tosses the hard drive storage from first generation model. What does it add? Read our review to see for yourself . . . .

NextGen Copperhead Xtreme HDMI Cables

Ah HDMI. This now commonplace interface has had a storied history of controversy and confusion. Now evolved, it is still far from perfect but at least we A/V enthusiasts are living with it now. The most misunderstood part of the equation has traditionally been the cable. How long can it be and not cause signal deterioration, or even drop the signal altogether? NexGen addresses these questions with their Copperhead Xtreme HDMI Cable.

Toshiba 55WX800U 55″ LED Edge Lit LCD 3D HDTV

At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, every television manufacturer had at least one 3D-capable display in their booth. Over the next few months, new models trickled into the marketplace. Now that CEDIA has come and gone, the floodgates are officially open and every brand has at least one and in some cases multiple models to choose from. I attended CEDIA with the primary goal of securing as many 3D TVs as possible for review. Toshiba was kind enough to be the first to provide me a sample, the flagship 55WX800U Cinema Series 55" LED Edge Lit LCD HDTV.

Axiom Epic 80-800 Speaker System: M80v3 Tower, VP180 Center, QS8v3 Surround, and EP800v3 Subwoofer

When shopping for loudspeakers today, we assign many different criteria to our decision. Do we choose on price, sound quality, aesthetics, science or some other aspect? Of course a discriminating listener wants the best of all these worlds and there are many manufacturers ready, willing and able to deliver on all counts. Axiom is one who has been at their game a long time. In this review, we test their M80v3 Tower, VP180 Center, QS8v3 Surround, and EP800v3 Subwoofer.

Runco Q750i DLP Projector with LED Illumination

Since the first LCD units were pressed into service as home theater displays, digital projection has suffered from one limitation, the bulb. No matter the technology – DLP, LCoS or LCD – all digital front projectors use(d) either a UHP (Ultra High Pressure) mercury or xenon lamp as a light source. The use of LEDs as the light source in projectors is now emerging. Here, we review Runco's Q750i projector which has a single DLP 1920 x 1080 chip with an LED light source.

Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Stereo Amplifier

For nearly forty years, Nelson Pass has been designing simple, high-performance electronics. In 1991, with twenty years experience under his belt, he founded Pass Laboratories which has since become among the most highly regarded companies for high-end power and integrated amplifiers. His design goals couldn't be more clear: power, simplicity and performance.

Dream Vision Starlight1 LCoS Projector

Dream Vision, an emerging brand in America, has been developing and marketing high-end models in Europe since 1996. In 1999, they became available on this side of the Atlantic when they introduced, with the help of Audio Plus Services, the world's first consumer-targeted DLP projector, the DL500. Today their DLP and LCoS designs offer cutting-edge features and most importantly, high performance. They've also made some of the most stylish projectors I've ever seen. Created by leading French industrial designers; their chassis' make a bold statement as a centerpiece in a modern media room. With unique options like fixed anamorphic lenses, Dream Vision has projection systems to suit a wide variety of home theater installations. In this review, we cover the Dream Vision Starlight1, which is a three-chip LCoS projector.

Optoma HD8600 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

My favorite reviews are those of flagship products so I was understandably excited when the opportunity came to test Optoma's new HD8600 DLP projector. The HD8600 includes all of Optoma's latest features and advances. Topping the list is a special set of controls called PureEngine which include enhancements for detail, color and motion. This projector has joined its competitors in offering smoothing technology to eliminate the judder and motion blur inherent in 24 frames-per-second film content. Coupled with Pure Detail and Pure Color, you have at the call of the remote the means to add extra vividness and sharpness to picture if you wish. If accuracy is your goal, as it is mine, the HD8600 offers extensive adjustments for gamma, grayscale and a color management system.

Runco LS-5 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

When one thinks of home theater, it's difficult not to think of Runco. Since 1987, Runco has been at the forefront of home theater video technology. Founder Sam Runco is even credited with coining the term "home theater. " They are one of a handful of companies that concentrate solely on video products. Their product line includes LCD and plasma displays, DLP projectors and even two new LED projectors. They also market a video processor and an in-wall rear projection system. Runco's current line of front-projectors includes 13 models that cover every kind of installation. The LS-5 reviewed here is designed for small to medium theaters with screens ranging from 72 to 120 inches. It has full 1080p resolution, via a single DLP chip.