Roger said: Machines that can play SACDs and DVD-Audio discs in addition to DVD-Videos are becoming somewhat rare these days. A few years ago, many mass-market electronics companies offered such models, but “universal” players today are primarily the domain of specialty audio/video manufacturers. Cambridge Audio is one of those manufacturers that specialize in high-quality electronics at reasonable prices.
The gist: A good DVD player for the three people still looking for a DVD player.
He said: For those of you who already have a good system but want to push its performance up that last step, DVDO’s Edge is the ticket. In its little area of the marketplace -- outboard video processors -- the Edge sets a new standard.
The gist: If you need a standalone video processor, here’s a good choice.
He said: The $2000 Integra DHC-9.9 is the king of A/V processors under $7499.
The gist: If you can’t afford the Anthem, get this.
Roger said: I can’t think of another Blu-ray player at anywhere near its price that I would rather have in my system than the Oppo Digital BDP-83. It features excellent audio and video performance, state-of-the-art video processing, above-average build quality, and playback of both SACD and DVD-Audio.
The gist: The Blu-ray player to buy. Period.
He said: I’m afraid the Roku is another nail in the coffin of the spinning silver disc, a continuation of the shift in how we use media . . .
The gist: One more reason discs are doomed.
He said: The Sanyo PLV-Z700 has a great picture, loads of flexibility, deep menus, a bright picture, cannily chosen presets, and zero screen-door effect at any reasonable viewing distance. At $1600 or even $1995.99, the PLV-Z700 is a miracle -- a high-quality, high-definition LCD projector capable of offering a huge, bright, clean picture.
The gist: Hits the bull’s eye of a quickly moving target: affordable projectors.
Jeff said: While the Sherwood BDP-5003 is a capable enough player, as of this writing it costs only $50 less than the Panasonic DMP-BD60, which operates more smoothly and has an Ethernet port. It’s a value proposition: First, you have to decide if you care about BD-Live, and I’ve seen nothing to date that makes a compelling case to go there. Second, you have to decide whether a smoother interface and the ability to handle very poorly mastered discs is worth 50 bucks.
The gist:And it’s only a Profile 1.1 player; you can do better.
Jeff said: I’ve reviewed my share of inexpensive components over the years, but this is new territory for me. Designing an A/V receiver to sell for $249.95 would normally entail making many serious compromises that I think most engineers would find hard to accept. In this price class, every penny counts -- there’s little that can be done to improve a design without driving up its retail price. I don’t have a clue how Sherwood can build a receiver with the RD-6513’s feature set, sell it for $250, and still make a profit.
The gist: Nothing fancy, but a good value.
Kevin said: College students, take note: Put TEAC’s DR-H300 on your short list. Mate this little wonder with a pair of bookshelf speakers to create a compact music-and-video system that’s ideal for dorm rooms everywhere.
The gist: Sounds great, less filling.