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Home Entertainment Blog Archive

Brought to you by your friendly, opinionated, Home Entertainment and Technology writer, Stephen Dawson

Here I report, discuss, whinge or argue on matters related to high fidelity, home entertainment equipment and the discs and signals that feed them. Since this Blog is hand-coded (I like TextPad), there are no comments facilities. But feel free to email me at scdawson [at] hifi-writer.com. I will try to respond, either personally or by posting here emails I consider of interest. I shall assume that emails sent to me here can be freely posted by me unless you state otherwise.

This archive is for an uncertain period commencing Thursday, 14 August 2003

The Dictionary of Home Entertainment is up - Sunday, 17 August 2003, 11:38 pm

It is incomplete, has a great deal more internal linking to be added and, no doubt, some more terms. Consider it to be a work in progress. Nevertheless, with 122 entries so far, I think there is enough information in the Dictionary of Home Entertainment to guide you through some of the intricacies of the field.

Doing my duty - Saturday, 16 August 2003, 1:01 am

I have spent around eleven hours before Quicken CashBook today, keying in trivial sums of money, all to administer my tiny part of the Australian government's taxation system. That is, I'm working out how much tax I have to pay the government for the privilege of remaining out of jail. I still have at least that much more work to do on it. But I'll try to add some more entries here. I really will. In particular, I'm planning to build a glossary which, I hope, will be of use to readers.

Subjective vs Objective testing - Saturday, 16 August 2003, 12:53 am

Here's a report of a study that bears somewhat on the problem of assessing the performance of home entertainment equipment. In brief, it seems that statistical models are significantly better at predicting outcomes, diagnosing illness and all sorts of other problems than human experts.

How does this relate to home entertainment equipment? The problem with experts is that they are subject to the same human weaknesses that the rest of us are. They overestimate their success rate. They tend to forget their errors.

There is a strong pressure amongst the audiophile community to be able to hear, for example, the differences between interconnects. It has almost become the definition of an audiophile! That the cables measure in no way different to each other is taken to be a failure of technology to detect something that the human ear can.

But there is an alternative explanation: the ear connects to a brain that is all too human.

Where have I been? - Thursday, 14 August 2003, 10:45 am

JVC DLA-SX21 projector Sorry dear reader, I've been on a few deadlines. Reviews of various digital set top boxes and the Perreaux SXH1 headphone amp now in.

Last night I was fiddling with JVC's new DLA-SX21 projector, based on its D-ILA (for Digital Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) system. This uses reflective LCD panels (actually, Liquid Crystal on Silicon) rather than the more common transmissive types. For some reason this comes with a decidedly odd resolution of 1,400 by 1,050 pixels in 4:3 ratio. First impressions: can't match DLP for contrast ratio, but it delivers an incredibly smooth picture. The reason is that there are virtually no electronics on the perimeter of the panels' pixels, so the pixels are displayed with virtually invisible borders. No screen door effect. Very good indeed.

I was also trying to assess whether playing DVDs from a PowerDVD on a computer using a high resolution analogue connection to the projector would produce a better result, resolution wise, than a DVD player. The short answer is yes, but only a slight one. Not to the extent I expected. I shall explore this more.