When we go to a commercial theater, one of the things
we usually see on the screen before the movie starts is some information
about the theater itself.
It might say, "Welcome to the Cine-Twelve Theater
located in Redwood City, California. We hope you enjoy the show."
Well, how would you like to have something like that
for your own home theater?
A company called Bitstream Animation makes just such a
product, and it is very inexpensive.
After looking at their website, you simply choose which
DVD Custom Introduction you wish, send them the text that you want to appear
in the introduction, and it will be delivered to you on a DVD within a few
The basic character in the DVD Custom Intro is called
CERT, which is a robot of sorts, with eyes that look like the red, green,
and blue CRTs in a projector (CERT's photo is shown above).
The easiest thing to do now is to have you click
HERE to see the custom intro that I got for the Secrets lab. Take a look
at it and then come back to this review. Note that the *.wmv file shown
here is compressed and is two-channel stereo for the sake of server disc
The intro plays for about 2 minutes and there are 480p,
720p, as well as 1080i versions on the disc for you to use. The sound track
is in DD 5.1 as well as DTS 5.1. You can also get it with a DD 5.1 EX or DTS
6.1 sound track. Blu-ray and HD DVD versions, with 7.1 sound tracks, will be
available in the next few months as well.
For this particular intro, I chose it to say "Welcome
to the Secrets of Home Theater Test Laboratory," but there are other options, which can
be seen on their website. If you just have a standard message, such as,
"Welcome to Our Home Theater," it is $40 instead of $60 for the disc, but
that's no fun. Get the custom message with your family name on it.
Also included on the disc are the classic versions of
"Let's all go to the lobby", and other things for you to use if you like.
OK, so you might think, "How do I show this intro and
then the movie if they are on separate DVDs?"
Good question. The answer - until we have DVD players
with a GB of RAM to store such things, or unless you have a media server or DVD
changer - is that you need two DVD players, unless you are content to play
the intro, then get up and change over to the movie DVD for the evening.
I have two DVD players (and I suspect that many of our
readers have an old unused DVD player sitting around somewhere), so it is
simply a matter of putting the CERT disc in one player, and the movie disc
in the second player.
The intro is really quite amusing, and it does tell you
that all of your speaker channels are operating, including the subwoofer, as
CERT goes to each of them, one at a time. This in itself will interest your
guests, especially if they are not familiar with surround sound technology.
Definitely, this will get some surprised looks on your
guests' faces when you have them over for a DVD showing. Down the road a year
or so, this kind of thing will be everywhere, so if you want to have the
unusual in your home theater, get one now. For $60, how can you go wrong?
It works, it has high def versions as well as regular 480p versions, and it
- John E. Johnson, Jr. -