Home Theater Reviews…


Someone was asking about components for home theater. Man, there was lots of things going on.

“Sim2 HT5000”:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=799229 is an amazing 3-DLP projector. Expensive though. 3800 lumens and 6000:1. Most folks are worried about the 50% drop in light output as the lamp ages. The Sim2 HT3000 is 1-chip 1080p while the Sim2 HT5000 is 3-DLPs. Informal reviews show the 3-DLP has the most detail than 1-DLP. It ships with a single lamp at 250-300 watts. As an aside, the best $10K projector according to “projectorreviews.com”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/jvc/dla-rs2/index.php is the JVC DLA-RS2 which is $8K MSRP with a 3-LCOS and 600 lumens but a 30K:1 contrast.

“Atlantic Technology System 8200e Speaker”:http://www.hometheatermag.com/floorloudspeakers/707atechdia/. July 2007. 8200e LR $1660/each, 8200e C $1750, 8200e SR $1400/pair. Rating. Build Quality 90, Value 95, Features 94, Performance 95, Ergonomics 88, Overall 93.

“Rotel 15 Series”:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=15125069 are all Class D amplifiers. The RB-1572 is 2x250W Class D, 2U height $1300, 5x250W RMB-1575 in a 3U at $2700. They are so new, it is not clear how they will perform though.

“Pioneer BDP-05FV Blu-ray Player”:http://www.blu-ray.com/players/players.php?p=0&id=37&show=userreviews. Most folks think a little overpriced. Lacks Ethernet which most folks don’t know if it matters or not. The true high end folks should get the Elite player. Most others will be happy with a PS3. There have been some firmware problems as well. A $400 Panasonic DB55 has more features

“Velodyne DD-18”:http://www.velodyne.com/news/reviews.aspx?sid=372v314c is a well known name in subwoofers. They have “DD-18″:http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/subwoofers/velodyne-dd-18 at $5000 monster all the way to a DD-12 to a DD-18 with a monster 18” subwoofer. The DD-18 can get down to 15 hertz. Reminds me of the Definitive Technology BP-3000s that I currently have. Good to 10 hertz! “Stereophile”:http://www.stereophile.com/subwoofers/604velodyne/ says it is 18″ subwoofer with 1.5″ excursion and 1250 watt amplifier.

“JL Audio Fathom F113″:http://www.stereophile.com/subwoofers/907jl/ are some fine subwoofers. Even though they are only 13”, the woofers move 3 inches and it has a 2500W Class D amplifier in them. Two would blow you away! Side-by-sides say the F113 beats the DD-18 by a hair. There is also the “F112”:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1091257 which is about the same but costs less. Audiogen has the F113 for $2300-2600 and F112 for $1500-1700

“Monoprice.com”:http://www.monoprice.com/home/index.asp. There is a big debate as to whether these $1,000 per foot HDMI cables make any difference. Personally I’m skeptical.

“Denon DVD-2500BT”:http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=40467 It has DTS-HD MA and TrueHD. This unit doesn’t have built in scaling like the 3800 but doesn’t really need it since the Denon processor has it already.

“Vizo VW42LF”:http://reviews.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/lcdtvreviews/vizio-vw42lf-review.shtml is a low cost Chinese knockoff LCD TV. Got a 72/100 which is mediocre, but it cost just $1K vs. $1200-1450 for name brands

“LCDTVBuyingGuide.com”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/top10.shtml has a good top 10 list and a good “recommended list”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/best-lcd-tv.html which include:

At “37”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/37-lcd-tv.html which is a replacment area for a 32″ 4:3 TV:
* Sharp Aquos LC37D64U. Very thin. 10:000:1 dynamic contrast.
* Sony KDL-37XBR6. XBR from Sony and “HDTVSolutions.com”:http://www.hdtvsolutions.com/Sony_BRAVIA_KDL-37XBR6_LCD_HDTV_Review.htm agrees. 4.5/5. $1500 list ($1100 street).
* LG 37LG50. 4.2/5.0 just got dinged a little for setup but it is cheaper at $1300 ($834 street). So personally, I’d probably go for the LG in most circumstances since a 37″ TV really isn’t that big.
* “Samsung LN37A550”:http://www.hdtvsolutions.com/Samsung_LN37A550_LCD_HDTV_Review.htm 4.0/5.0 because it has a green tinge, so not for me.
* Toshiba REGZA 37RV530U. 4.2/5.0, 4.5 on picture quality which isn’t bad.
* “Vizio VO37L”:http://www.hdtvsolutions.com/VIZIO_VO37L_LCD_HDTV_Review.htm. This one comes out well 4.5/5.0 as good as the LG. A little higher price at $880 street though.

* Samsung LN40A750 40″ LCD
* Sony KDL-40XBR4 40″ which is an XBR TV when you realy want better quality.

For “46 inches”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/46-lcd-tv.html
* LG 47LGX. The winder model. 87/100 picture quality. Very good at upconverting 480i and 480p to 1080p so you don’t need an upconverting player. Overal 87/100.
* Samsung LN46A750. The follow on to the well reviewed A650 and A550. 93/100 picture quality. Has 120Hz amotion processing which has to be switched off for film sources, just use it for sports. Overall 91/10. “Pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/plasma-lcd-televisions/Samsung-LN46A750-46-LCD-TV/m67107236.htm/search=samsung%20ln46a750/sort_type=bottomline/st=sort/qlty=all has it for $1615.
* “Sony KDL-46XBR4”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/lcdtvreviews/sony-kdl46xbr4-review.shtml Pricey at $3K list. It has been superceded by the new “KDL-46XBR6”:http://www.hdtvlounge.net/sony/xbr6/ line. 92/100 picture, 91/100 overall
* Discount shootout is between “Olevia 242T FHD and Vizio VW46L”:http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/lcdtvreviews/vizio-vs-olevia.shtml with 81/100 and 79/100 ratings
* LG 52LG70 52″ LCD which is a quality TV with 40:000:1 dynamic range.

“Televisioninfo.com”:http://www.televisioninfo.com/content/Samsung-LN46A750-LCD-HDTV-Review-596.htm also liked the Samsun LN46A750 and did some nice technical tests. It is expesnive at $1900, but compared with the Sharp LC-46D64U it is not contest for image quality. Best alternative is the Vizio SV470XVT is decent quality and $400 cheaper. The VO47L is even lower quality though. The Sony KDL-46W4100 is off color and has terrible viewing angle.

For 46″, “PC World”:http://www.pcworld.com/article/145655/top_46_and_47inch_hdtvs.html seemed to like the Samsung LN46A650 82/100 $1800 but with lower image quality and the Samsung LN46A550 80/100 $1700 which it replaces, Vizio SV470XVT 80/100 $1400 with a really great picture althought is had some artifacts but difficult connectors, Vizio VO47LF 79/100 $1400 with great picture

“Tv-Advisor.com”:http://www.tv-advisor.com/sizes/best-46-flat-panel-tv-ratings.php also has some reviews. They confirm the PC World ones. Which are the Samsung LN46A650. Instead of paying $2K for a XBR6, you might try the slightly downscale KDL-46Z4100 mainly because of its 10-bit color

Finally there seem to be a sea of Blu Ray Players. “Buyblurayplayers.com”:http://www.buyblurayplayers.com/category/top-5-blu-ray-players at least has a top list and the list is not surprisingly filled with Sony and Panasonic for common models.

Sony BDP-S350. It has an Ethernet port. Video output quality is good and it doesn’t have onboard decoding of DTS-HD Master Audio. But you only need that if you don’t have an audio processor (so its moot for those of us with AVRs).
Sony BDP-S300
Panasonic DMP-BD50. Also a BD-LIVE capable player. Good picture quality.
Samsung BD-P1500
Panasonic DMP-BD10A

For the afictionados, the “Blu-ray Forum”:http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=61928 has a lively group. Many folks just like the Sony PS3 as the good basic. Others liek the Denon, Pioneer and Marantz. The best dedicated at a good price is the “Panasonic BD-35”:http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/blu-ray-hd-dvd-players/panasonic-dmp-bd35-477508/review or the new BD-50.

“Home Theater Magazine”:http://hometheatermag.com/discplayers/908blu/ had a good overview of players and an “overall”:http://www.hometheatermag.com/discplayers/ list:

* Denon DVD-3800BDCI is $2K. Wow! The main improvement is that it has a Silicon Optix video processing part in it. They didn’t much like the DVD-2500BTCI for its video performance and scaling however. However, all payback at 1080p/24 looks pretty good from all Blu Ray players, so it is mainly the edge features like decoding standard DVDs. If you are using a video upscaler then this isn’t really a problem. For instance if you are suing the AVP-A1HDCI from Denon, then it already includes its own upconvertor, so then you just want a player that spews 480i from the DVD and it shouldn’t upconvert. The main real issue is that it is slow to load, open, etc. A common fault with Blu Ray players.
* Panasonic DMP-BD50 (now superceded by the BD55). It has its own internal processor and is $700. The main issue is that it couldn’t upscale right with DVDs. Again, an issue if you don’t have a processor.
* Samsung BD-P1200 has an upscaler in it and the BP-P1500 doesn’t.
* Denon DVD-2500BTCI. $1000 list. Only has HDMI output but the big issue is that it doesn’t support a source direct output so you can take advantage of the output processor. It always upconverts unlike Sony and Pioneer.
* Playstation 3. The big problem with it is that it doesn’t output Dolby Digital Plus or True HD into its native bitstreams, so wouldn’t work to just spit out streams.
* Sony BDP-S500. This output bitstreams for all formats in Dolby but doesn’t pass on DTS-HD MA.
* Sony DBP-S350. It doesn’t have a video direct output mode. It does offer full bitstream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA thought unlike the S500. So it doesn’t work if you have an external processor.

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2 Replies to “Home Theater Reviews…”

  1. Hello Rich,

    I felt compelled to email you, as a funny thing happened.

    On your home theater reviews posts, you linked to my site, hdtvlounge.net, I saw the trackback, and came to your site.

    I recognised your site from the past, and remembered two years or so ago I read https://www.tongfamily.com/?p=2566 “Oahu is the most amazing place”.

    Many thanks for this posts. As just over a year ago, my girlfriend and I went to Oahu. We did as you said, and got a great rental in Kailua for a month, and had the most amazing time ever, and too many photos We love Oahu so much, and are saving to return.

    The Kailua, Kaneohe area is amazing, and like you say, much better than the Honolulu area. We hired a car, and drove the route to the north shore many times.

    I just thought you might find this interesting. I think that post might have lead me onto looking for vacation rentals.

    Matt (England)

  2. @Ma2T: Thanks so much for your site. I do remember our dialog about Oahu. It is a fine place. Personally right now I’m more focused on Fiji and Australia in truth.

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