Monday, May 29, 2006

home theater speaker: Speaker systems let iPod sound off

By Justin Bachman
Associated Press

NEW YORK – In subways, at the gym and on sidewalks worldwide, millions of people seal themselves in an iPod cocoon.

No longer. Several recently released audio systems, including one from Apple Computer Inc., are now lifting the cloud of iPod isolation, making it easy to fill a room with sound that was once mostly limited to earbuds or headphones.

As a longtime audio geek, I auditioned the iPod Hi-Fi, Apple’s own entry for its market-leading portable music player, and two of its more competent rivals, the SoundDock from Bose Corp. and a new two-speaker system, the Audioengine 5.

A Bose versus Apple comparison was probably inevitable in this field, as the SoundDock has been around since October 2004, and Apple has just recently offered its own product. Audioengine, a California company with a history in the studio-monitor business, began shipping its system in January, less than two months before the Hi-Fi’s debut.

All three systems amplify the sound from their own power sources – and recharge iPod batteries. But the similarities fade there.

This is a fully competent trio, and each is priced reasonably for what it delivers. But all three are unique in what they aim to achieve and how they go about it.

Apple iPod Hi-Fi ($349)

Apple’s design team turned its sights to sound with a trim, compact box that packs a truly competent punch. The sealed, injected-plastic case has a sturdy finish, with two handles and an internal power supply that avoids the need for a clunky power adapter.

At 17 inches wide and just under 7 inches deep, the Hi-Fi won’t consume much space on a table, dresser or entertainment center.

It emits an almost exquisite sound – Apple executives say they sought to avoid processing it with digital signal circuitry. Don’t let its modest size fool you, this is a “boom” box that is sturdy and up to serious business.

The Hi-Fi houses three drivers – a woofer and two wide-range cones – along with two bass ports that help boost the system’s bass reproduction. There’s also a combo audio-optical digital input jack in the back, which allows for connections to other devices.

The only buttons are a volume touchpad on the top, near the dock.

The Hi-Fi dock doesn’t offer video output, so you won’t be able to port photos or video to a TV display – a decision sure to raise eyebrows for many spending nearly $700 for the box and latest, video-capable iPod.

The unit comes with a petite remote control that works well for volume, pause and skip functions, even at extreme angles from the box’s front. But you can’t switch playlists with it.

What truly sets the Hi-Fi apart is its ability to operate on six D batteries, making it a fine choice to haul to a family picnic, party or pool-side grill. That alone will make it the choice for many.

Apple says the batteries will run for five hours at regular to loud volumes, but I got more than six at regular listening levels.

The Hi-Fi sports a frequency response of 53 hertz to 16 kilohertz, compared to the Audioengine’s 60Hz-22kHz. (Bose won’t discuss its speaker performance stats, contending that mere numbers can’t describe its products.)

Ignore the lower numbers here – both do bass well. The critical differences in these very fine systems come at the highest end of the sound range. Apple clearly chose to nail the bass response, which most of us tend to emphasize on first listen. One suspects that in future iterations of the Hi-Fi – just as with the iPod itself – we’ll see modest revisions to the high frequencies.

Audioengine 5 ($349)

The Audioengine 5, which doesn’t have a dock or a remote control, is clearly the leader of the pack when it comes to producing a rich, full sound.

With dual speakers and the commensurate speaker wire, this is a home-based iPod system for discerning listeners, not the more portable docks offered by Apple and Bose.

Close your eyes and the Audioengine – an all-analog beast internally – will make you think those cymbals are right in your living room. The company has been building professional studio monitors for several years, and that lineage is immediately apparent.

Audioengine’s speakers come in a high-gloss white finish; the company plans a black version this summer. At 10 inches high and less than 8 inches deep, the square cubes provide a useful addition to the home-entertainment gear. I also paired them with a DVD player and was pleased with how they handled movie soundtracks.

Now to the Audioengine’s sole deficiency: The left speaker, peculiarly, has the charging port and audio jack on the top. Both seemingly could have gone in the back with the speaker cable mounts, auxiliary AC plug and second audio jack, which would have offered the system a cleaner look.

As it is now, you’ll have the audio and USB cables sprouting from the top.

Bose SoundDock ($299)

And then there was Amar Bose, the Massachusetts acoustical engineering wizard. I’ve listened to Bose home theater systems in showrooms for years, marveling at their enormous sound from such small speakers.

But make no mistake, it’s also a highly processed sound.

Bose deftly sidesteps this issue with the SoundDock. It’s a neutral, balanced and clean sound with none of the processed qualities you find in some other products.

The Bose SoundDock is the smallest of the three systems I tested, and it delivered a large sound with competent bass and tight high-end response with the tiniest footprint – no larger than a toaster. It’s an iPod player for a specific setting: an office, a bedroom or living quarters where space is at a premium. It does not work with first-generation iPods, however.

The SoundDock will not fill your house with soaring sound or rattle the neighbors’ poodle, if that’s what you’re after. But it will make a fine choice if you’re looking to liberate the audio on your iPod for the enjoyment of everyone in a room.

home theater speaker: Speakers placement suggestions

One of my custumer want to renovate his TV room. He want to install a home theater speaker.

I already installed ceilling speaker in the kitchen, dinning room and the living room. He want in ceilling speaker in that room too. Look for the green circle near the foyer.

My question about rear surround speakers placement:

The room is about 10 by 18. On the room drowing, speakers are in light blue. Should I install on the wall speakers and at what height? Or in ceilling rear surround speakers?

My question about center speakers placement:

We will install an 40" LCD TV over the fireplace. At first i was planning to install the center speaker just over the fireplace, under the LCD. But my client want an LCD wall mount that can pan, tilt, swivel and have some Height adjustment. He want to be able to lower the LCD Panel when not using the fireplace to have a more natural Height.

I don't know if there are wall mount system that can do this? And if yes, when he will lower the panel, the front speaker will get behind the screen. I think that the speaker should be install with the LCD on the wall mount so that both the LCD and the center speaker move the same way.

Any products idea?

This post has been edited by Stef on May 29 2006, 10:03 AM

Thursday, May 25, 2006

home theater speaker: Expert creates theater systems for the family

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/11/06

Home theater. Everybody has their own definition. It can be as simple as a big-screen television with a couple of recliners, or a 50-inch plasma television accompanied by a 5-foot-by-8-foot projection screen surrounded by stadium seating.

Doug Van Arsdale, owner of Custom Home Theater out of Sharpsburg, creates the latter.

Van Arsdale has a background in construction and a knack for electronics.

"I've always been into connecting things and fixing things," Van Arsdale said. "I figured why not integrate my love for electronics and stereo with construction, into a full-time gig."

Since starting the business in 2000, Van Arsdale and his team have created more than 1,000 home theater systems in the Atlanta area.

Some rooms are dedicated private cinemas, where most of the electronics — including the television, video, stereo, lights and even heating and air-conditioning — are controlled by one remote.

Besides installing home theater equipment, Van Arsdale's business also offers interior design, where a decorator helps clients select the best color for the room, seating, whether it be stadium style or a sectional sofa, lighting and construction.

Of course, this all comes at a price. Dedicated theater rooms can range from $12,000 to $100,000.

Peachtree City resident John Hautala hired Van Arsdale to create a combination media and theater room.

The installation included a 50-inch plasma television, drop down 5-foot-by-8-foot screen, plus a closet full of electronics with game equipment such as XBox and PlayStation.

Before work started, Hautala had a particular request.

"One of the earlier requirements was to have one remote that controls everything, from the television to the audio to the video to the lights in the room," Hautala said. "That way I knew my wife would be able to use it, too."

Hautala admits the system wasn't cheap but would rather not divulge the amount.

"Some might say I'm half-foolish for spending that kind of money and I'd agree with them," Hautala said. "But you just do it because you want to."

home theater speaker: InterVideo Home Theater Bundled with BenQ Joybooks for a Complete Mobile Digital Entertainment Experience

FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 15, 2006--InterVideo(R), Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII) announced today that BenQ, the leader in affordable notebook computers, is bundling InterVideo Home Theater(TM) with the new BenQ Joybooks as a part of the Q Media software suite. With InterVideo Home Theater, users can easily enjoy digital content, including video, photos and music, from anywhere.

"The BenQ Joybook provides users with the utmost in visual enjoyment," said Steve Ro, CEO and president of InterVideo. "InterVideo Home Theater software is the natural partner to deliver a complete mobile entertainment solution on the laptop."

InterVideo Home Theater is a multimedia software application that provides the full gamut of TV-watching tools, including support for DVB-T, DVB-S and ATSC digital signals. Users can also take advantage of time-shifting features with the ability to pause/rewind live TV and can enjoy support for EPG (electronic program guides).

On the radio side, users can listen to FM and digital audio broadcasts, and record in real time or according to a published schedule. They can also rip and categorize music, watch video files and photo slideshows, and playback DVDs. In addition, users can burn data, music or video to disc.

"InterVideo Home Theater software is the perfect choice for users who want to join the ever-growing group of people who like to enjoy their multimedia on the go," said Hank Horng, BenQ Associate Vice President. "Not so long ago, it was unthinkable to receive premium TV on a notebook computer, much less to record it and timeshift it as well. Our Joybook and InterVideo Home Theater make this as easy as switching on your TV."

The BenQ S73, 14" Joybooks, and S61, 12" Joybooks feature Intel(R) Centrino(R) Duo mobile technology and embedded European standard (DVB-T) digital TV reception, allowing users to watch TV programs anytime and anywhere. Aimed at mobile users who require premium-quality graphic display cards, widescreen displays and exceptional multimedia features, these two notebooks also have enhanced speaker placement and noise suppression to provide users with the best in mobile visual and audio performance.

InterVideo markets Home Theater to consumers and hardware OEMs. For more information, visit

About BenQ Group

The BenQ Group is currently comprised of ten companies that operate independently while sharing resources and leveraging synergies among them. The BenQ Group companies include AU Optronics Corporation, the world's third largest manufacturer of LCD panels; Darfon Electronics Corporation; Daxon Technology Inc; Airoha Technology Corporation; Darly Venture Inc; BenQ Guru Software Co., Ltd; Philips BenQ Digital Storage; Cando Corporation, and BenQ Mobile. 2004 revenues for BenQ Group exceeded US$10.8 billion dollars.

BenQ Corporation consists of three main business groups -- Computing Products, Digital Media and Mobile Business. Although these business groups encompass a broad range of products, each retains a focus on providing consumer-oriented solutions designed especially for the digital lifestyle. 2004 revenues exceeded US$5.1 billion dollars. For more information, please visit our website at

About InterVideo, Inc.

InterVideo is a leading provider of integrated digital and high-definition multimedia and audio/video content solutions in the PC, CE and wireless industries. The company's broad suite of integrated multimedia software products are designed to enhance the consumer's entertainment experience, whether the content is delivered to a home system, HDTV set, wireless system, mobile or personal multimedia device. InterVideo's unique iMobi(TM) multimedia codec technologies are widely used by Smartphones, GPS units and portable entertainment device OEMs and ODMs to enhance music and video enjoyment...anyplace, anytime. The firm's worldwide headquarters is at 46430 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA, 510-651-0888, InterVideo also has major offices in Taiwan, Japan, Mainland China and around the globe. For more information, visit

Safe Harbor Statement

Except for the historical statements contained herein, the foregoing release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding InterVideo's Home Theater product. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially due to several factors, including but not limited to the ability to forecast customer behavior and recognize or respond to emerging trends, changing preferences or competitive factors, the market acceptance of our new products and product enhancements, the resolution of any notices of claims regarding alleged infringement of third parties' intellectual property rights, the ability to maintain or expand our relationship with PC OEMS and other risks and uncertainties. Please consult the various reports and documents filed by InterVideo with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to InterVideo's Form 10-Q for other risk factors that could cause actual results to differ. All forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and InterVideo disclaims any responsibility to update or revise any forward-looking statement provided in this news release.

InterVideo is a registered trademark and InterVideo Home Theater is a trademark of InterVideo, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

home theater speaker : CHOPIN SA Super Audio Home Theater Speaker

" A win-win solution for decorators & audiophiles. Delicate, uncolored sound, quick transient response ......
1. Superior craftsmanship. 2. Easy adaptable speakers placement to reproduce good audio. 3. Satisfying performance in both cinema & music audio reproduction. 4. Deep, firm bass even without a subwoofer........

Coherent continuity in soundstage, great wrap around effects.... " ( Prime AV 11/2001, issue 79 )

Chopin SA super audio home theater speakers ( stereo speakers) is specially designed for today's high fidelity multi channel requirement. The whole series is closely developed for the ultimate Super Audio CD (SACD) surround sound listening experience that can literally transport you into the performance itself!

All the Chopin speakers use identical drivers, providing flexible mix and match possibilities. Thus, they deliver each full range channel with equal quality, allowing the natural acoustics of the original recording environment to come through, creating a truly immersive audio experience for the listener.

Copyright (c) 2003-04 HOME THEATER 2U. COM., E Direct International, LLC. All rights reserved.

Home Theater Speaker: POLAR LIGHT Home Theater Speaker

An Exquisite Slim Design with Big System Sounds

All drivers utilize a Neodymium Magnet, which can create a magnetic field that's 10 times stronger. The end result is a highly efficient but much more compact driver which greatly narrows the front panel size.
The Transmission Line speaker design can also provides a slim & tall appearance w/ extended base response.

Woofers are introduced in tower, bookshelf, and center channel speakers. Due to the non-directional nature of its low frequency, the side or top firing configuration will fit in the side panels of the slim cabinet perfectly. Since there is no lower frequency duty, our midrange driver has become even smaller.

The center channel reproduces 50% of an entire movie sound track and over 90% of the dialogue, but has often been purposely ignored by Satellite Speakers to make way for its mini-sized design. Polar Light center speakers use not only the same high-efficiency tweeters & midranges to ensure articulate & agile performance, but also includes a woofer to perform the extended bass response. All the Polar Light speakers use the exact same drivers in order to have a close timbrel match for the highest degree of sonic realism.

A space saving Band Pass Powered Subwoofer is added to ensure a true cinema experience, with extended frequency response and greater dynamic range. ( The woofer is fully encased within the cabinet; the air load is in the coupling cavity, not in the open air, so a much smaller cone is used to produce an even higher efficiency.)
Contemporary Looks with Classic Touches

Due to the use of a rigid titanium dome (tweeter) & a non-dust-cap cone (midrange) , the grill is no longer needed. This not only eliminates the possible diffraction cause by the frame, but also gives the speaker a more Hi-Tech look.

The champagne silver powder mirror-finish makes the speakers a perfect match to modern hometheater's metallic looks. It does so without yielding to "cold" metal or "cheap" plastic feels. The lavish dark red piano mirror-finish on the side attains a highly refined appearance that can only be found in the best classic wood furniture.

The piano mirror-finish reflects the color & environment of its surrounding, artfully blending the speakers into the your home decor. The elegantly tall, slim design is carefully balanced to enhance & compliment your home theater without distracting your attention from the screen.
Each speaker in the system is uniquely designed, timbre matched and seamlessly coordinated. The result is a smooth, powerful and spacious sound that belies the speakers' size. Thus, the Polar Light Home Theater Speakerss are only available in sets to ensure the most impressive sonic attribute.

Copyright (c) 2003-04 HOME THEATER 2U. COM., E Direct International, LLC. All rights reserved

Home theater Speaker: NATURE Home Theater Speaker

" The entire range of speaker is surprisingly balanced & weighty, consisting of a deep, taut bass with open, silky, and richly detailed high- & mid-ranges. The resulting sound is smooth and provides the easy listening that can only be found in home theater speaker that cost at least twice as much .......
Great speaker adaptability to perform with various grades of equipment. Other attributes include: 1. Solid construction... 2. High end materials... 3. Diverse speaker upgrade options.......

It provides a natural timbre with adequate definition & transparency, as well as fearless beyond -the- speaker imaging that make it a thrilling experience to listen to an orchestral reproduction. The price for the Nature home theater speaker series is definitely unreasonably low ......." ( Audio Art 05/2001, issue 152 )

The Nature series home theater speaker ( stereo speaker) is our flagship high end home speaker system: reliable and versatile, it has been setting a new standard of performance in its price range. Whether it is being used for easy music listening or a true cinema experience, Nature home theater speaker can not only provide you sonic sensations but can also blend into your home decor and lifestyle 'naturally'.

Copyright (c) 2003-04 HOME THEATER 2U. COM., E Direct International, LLC. All rights reserved.

Home Theater Speaker: Ethereal Home Theater’s Frog Speaker Adds Great Sound and Whimsy to Outdoor Settings

Posted by Denise Salvaggio on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 03:07 pm:

Denise Salvaggio
The EVOK Agency
407-302-4416 x 401 (phone)
407-302-4417 (fax)

HOLLY HILL, FLA., APRIL 17, 2006: Here’s a frog that can make more interesting sounds that just “ribbit.” In the garden or by the pool, Ethereal Home Theater’s frog speaker adds a touch of whimsy while delivering 75 watts of outstanding audio performance. Its 6.5" two-way speaker is built to withstand the elements to provide season after season of enjoyment. Sold individually. MSRP: $ 149.99. Phone: 866-839-9187.

Based in Holly Hill, FL, with offices in Long Beach, CA, Metra ( is a leader in the auto sound industry as parent company of such consumer and professional installation brands as Axxess, Install Bay/FishMan, Raptor, Silencer and Tsunami, as well as the Ethereal ( brand of home audio/video interconnects.

Home Theater Speaker: Rotel introduces two new Class D power amplifiers (11/5/2006)

Rotel, well-known throughout the world as a manufacturer of affordable high-end components for music and home-theater audiovideo systems, has launched two new Class D power amplifiers, the RB-1091 and RB- 1092 both featuring ICEpower(R).

With the recently introduced RMB-1077, these two new switching-mode power-supply amplifier designs augment the Rotel Class D lineup to provide multiple power-amplifier options for the widest array of Home Theater and Hi Fi applications.

According to Mike Bartlett, Vice President and General Manager of Rotel of America, "Consumers today are looking for ways to put a large number of electronics into small spaces, especially in custom installations. When that occurs, heat becomes a problem. That's the beauty of Class D power amplifiers-you can achieve very high efficiency with lots of output power and very little heat."

Not all Class D amplifiers are alike. There are two categories: namely digitally controlled Class D and analog-controlled Class D. The former features a digitally generated control that switches a power stage. The latter amplifier design utilizes an analog input signal with a switching power supply. Rotel has taken this analog-controlled Class D design a step further with the implementation of two important technologies from ICEpower(R).

The first is Controlled Oscillation Modulation (COM). The COM circuit is analog throughout. A saw-tooth waveform modulates the analog input to generate the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) signal that drives the switching output stage. This architecture yields lower noise and distortion than would an otherwise equivalent design based on a digital modulator.

The second improvement is Multivariable Enhanced Cascade Control (MECC). This circuit encloses the output filter within a feedback path, resulting in very low output impedance (high damping factor) across the entire audio band. Not only is the amplifier clean and quiet, it also has flat frequency response no matter what sort of speaker impedance is hung across its output.

Rotel's new RB-1091 and RB-1092 switching Class D amplifiers incorporate both COM and MECC. A 500-watt mono amplifier is found in the RB-1091, and the RB-1092 is a 2 x 500 watt stereo amplifier. They can be configured in various ways to provide from one to seven channels, or more, of extremely high power with very little heat.

These intelligent designs feature high-power output capability with a minimum of chassis height and represent one of the very few real advances in power amplifiers since the invention of the solid-state transistor. Both the RB-1091 and RB-1092 have also been designed with custom installation in mind, and include 12-volt triggers, detachable IEC power cords, five-way binding posts, and Neutrik Speakon(R) connectors, a quik-lock connector used in professional audio systems.

Home Theater Speaker: Jonathan Takiff | New technology adds to game play

THE GIZMO: While spiffy new systems from the "Big 3" of the video-game industry (Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft) dominated reports from last week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, there were plenty of other newsworthy unveilings at the Los Angeles trade show.

ENVIRONMENTAL EXCITEMENT: High-definition graphics and novel controllers that you wield like a sword or baseball bat aren't the only new ways to pull users deeper into a game. At E3, Philips unveiled a breakthrough called amBX - short for ambient experience technology - to expand the game field and the player's sense of participation with light-, climate- and vibration-producing peripherals.

Coming first for PC play this fall, then for new-gen game systems in 2007, amBX will work with all games, thanks to special, intuitive software. But it will function most effectively with new games packing a proprietary coded "script." Here's one scenario: When a lightning storm strikes on screen, amBX LED lights will flicker, transforming the whole room. Or, as you move across a game's desert landscape, color-shifting lights will turn a brownish hue.

Put pedal to the metal in an auto-racing game and you'll really feel the wind in your face, the breeze blowing from small amBX fans mounted on your desk.

If your vehicle crashes, you'll feel it in your hands and across the desktop, the impact reverberating through a wired, rumble-enabled amBX wrist pad.

Eight to 12 amBX-enabled games from four publishers will be available around the system's launch, starting with the global-adventure/puzzle-solving "Broken Sword IV" from Revolution Software and THQ.

A starter kit of amBX peripherals, including pairs of fans and LED lights (the latter neatly built into the tops of small desktop speakers), will cost in the $100 to $150 range from Philips' Peripherals and Accessories division. The rumble maker will add $20 to $30 to the tab.

As the system is modular and linkable, many more devices can be easily added. For use with game consoles in a living room setting, Philips will offer larger lights to position around the space like a home theater speaker system, creating an enveloping game chamber. The peripheral array also is likely to include fast-response heaters and "active" furniture.

Noted game peripheral maker SpectraVideo PLC has likewise signed on to make amBX products under its Logic3 brand.

MORE FROM THE FLOOR: GestureTek's video gesture recognition technology will be deployed in the Xbox Live Vision camera for Xbox 360, Microsoft's answer to (and elaboration on) the Sony EyeToy.

• Sony demonstrated a novel way to use its PSP portable system in tandem with the new PS3 game console. On an auto racing game, hold the PSP out to your side and it becomes a rear view mirror, showing who's creeping up behind you.

• Nokia wants to make game playing a lot easier on mobile phones. A single button push on new N Series and S60 devices will take users instantly to Nokia's next-generation mobile gaming platform and N-Gage virtual arena, coming in 2007. (Current N-Gage owners will have to trade up to a new device to play on the new system.)

• Microsoft chief Bill Gates was also touting increased compatibility between the Xbox 360, the soon-to-come Windows Vista PC operating system and mobile phones. With any of those devices and a cross-platform "Gamer tag" ID, users will be able to communicate through the Xbox Live game network to send e-mail, chat or share content.

• used E3 to launch a line of pricey, custom gaming PCs from Velocity MicroPC.

• Alienware and PC introduced a goofy line of PCs built into cases resembling a Dodge Magnum, Charger or Viper, plus limited-edition desktop and notebook PCs decorated with a big "Superman" logo, tied to the upcoming "Superman Returns" film.

• Toshiba Satellite notebook computers (and soon, many other brands of PCs) will add a virtual gaming console, developed and managed by online game publisher WildTangent.

Five top-selling casual games will be built into the notebooks. Plus, the computer will link (through any kind of connection) to a portal for fast and seamless download and installation of 3-D-quality games.

WildTangent also announced a new "currency" to pay for games on a per-session basis. "Wild Coins" are virtual tokens with a 25-cent retail value that consumer can earn, win or purchase (in increments of $4.99) to play downloadable games. No subscriptions necessary.

• Ziff Davis Game Group has just launched the beta version of, a search site to locate comprehensive game news, reviews, cheats, screenshots and more.

• The broadband entertainment network GameTap hopes to keep subscribers coming back with its new and exclusive "Sam & Max" game series, played in episodic, cliffhanger fashion like an old movie serial. Will this dynamic, dog and rabbit duo survive to fight crime again? Tune in and play next week!

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Kangaroo Tail Soup with Potato Dumplings

Non-marsupial nations, do not despair. David Bruguera-McLaren, chef de cuisine at The Melbourne Soup Kitchen in Australia, says we can substitute oxtails--and as far as I'm concerned, he's right. Oxtails are wonderful in this rich, deeply flavored and deeply satisfying cold-weather soup. Serve hot as a meal to 8-10 people, with crusty bread, salad, and red wine, while the cold wind beats against the door.
6 pounds of kangaroo tail (or oxtails), browned
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2½ cups dry red wine
½ cup port
½ bunch fresh thyme (or 2 Tablespoons dried, wrapped in silver foil and pierced with a fork))
2 parsley storks (roots)--or 1 medium parsnip
1½ cups tomato paste
5½ quarts beef stock
4 cups tomato puree
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons pepper
Garnish: potato dumplings (Rice 3 potatoes, then stir in 1 egg, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup flour--beat with a fork til fluffly. Roll into 1-inch balls. Drop in gently boiling salted water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain and hold until ready to serve.)

Brown the meat in a 450-degree oven, turning over once.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, saute the onion, carrrot, celery, and garlic in the oil. Deglaze the pot with the port, add red wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste and the parsley roots (or parsnip) tied together with the thyme. Reduce to a simmer and cook down to half.

Add the browned kangaroo tail (or oxtails) and coat thoroughly. Add the stock, tomato puree, salt, and pepper--bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes. Strain completely, reserving the meat to add to the soup later, and refrigerate until you can scoop all the fat off the top easily and discard.

When getting ready to serve, prepare and cook the dumplings. Then discard the congealed fat on top of the soup, bring the soup to a boil, and add the meat to it (discarding the bones).

Ladle into bowls and spoon the dumplings into each. Serve out back with crusty bread, a big salad, and lots of red wine.

by David Bruguera-McLaren

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Short Take: Motorola DC800

The Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter may be the perfect accessory to bring the Bluetooth wireless world to your stereo system. The DC800 allows the streaming of music using the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) bi-directionally. A compliant Bluetooth enabled music player can stream music through the stereo system and the stereo system can stream music to a set of compliant Bluetooth enabled headphones. But in the real world, how does it perform? Let's do a Short Take and see how well it works!

The Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter is designed to extend a stereo system's functionality by providing inbound and outbound wireless audio capability using the Bluetooth standard. The unit can be placed vertically (Figure 1) or horizontally. The front panel contains a small power switch and a large "M" button used to initiate pairing with Bluetooth A2DP compliant devices.

Unfortunately the inbound audio functionality has a major weakness. The pairing sequence requires a pass key. Therefore, it appears that in order to pair any audio device with the DC800, the device has to include a keyboard or other mechanism to enter this pass key. Without this ability, it seems impossible to pair an inbound device. Motorola seems to have designed this for Bluetooth enabled PCs, cell phones and PDAs which are A2DP compliant. The GlobalSat iWAG (BTA-809), attached to the iPod, we reviewed here did not pair successfully with the DC800
At first glance the Motorola DC800 seems like the perfect device to Bluetooth enable your stereo system. However with today's skyrocketing sales of Apple iPod's, it is inconceivable that Motorola would have designed such a perfect device without taking into account the ability to pair with iPod accessories.

I contacted Motorola support and they explained the pairing process. Unfortunately they were unable to help any further since they had no experience with the iPod together with a GlobalSat BTA-809. The DC800 has two pairing modes: the first, when the Motorola DC800 powers up, allows compatible devices to initiate pairing with it. This discoverable mode requires the entry of a pass key on the device requesting the pairing. This is fine for cell phones, PDAs and PCs, but the iPod does not have a means of entering the pass key. The second mode allows the DC800 to initiate the pairing sequence via discovery. This mode does not require a pass key. I placed the Motorola DC800 in discovery mode and the GlobalSat BTA-809 in pairing mode (there is only one mode). They failed to pair.

The Motorola HT820 and GlobalSat BTA-809 pairing was successful. This leads me to believe that there is an issue with pairing inbound devices with the DC800. The inability to use this function diminishes the value of the DC800 greatly. Despite the excellent quality of the outbound audio with the HT820 headphones, I can only recommend a slightly above average rating for this product. Should Motorola resolve the inbound device pairing issue it would receive a 5 out 5.

Review by: Stephen Skarlatos,

Thursday, May 11, 2006

10 Home Theatre Gifts for Mom

This will serve as a personal reminder to me and the rest of the readers that Mother’s Day is merely two weeks away. It’s probably time to start thinking about gifts. Robert Silva with About Home Theatre has compiled a list of 10 good home theatre gifts that will make that momma jump with joy on May 14. Topping the list is a 32-inch LCD TV, but also included are DVD player/VCR combos, DVR’s and speakers. This list also caters to the weak pocketbook with a 13-inch Sony TV and basic Pioneer DVD player. Show your mom just how much you love her by giving her an excuse to spend time in the home theatre and not with the family.

Monday, May 08, 2006

the women behind the book New Asian Cuisine

New Asian Cuisine is the latest release to join the ever-growing list of cookbooks. However, what sets this book apart is that it is a compliation of recipes from over 100 celebrity chefs and "introduces the Asian version of the new USDA food pyramid." It's not only a cookbook, but also a handy reference guide to have in the kitchen.

Wendy Chan and Grace Niwa are the two forces behind this great book.

How did you come up with the concept for the book?
We are strong advocates for Asian cuisine, professionally and personally, and wanted to create a book to spark more interest in Asian food and beverages on all levels. Wendy and I have worked with chefs and the food and beverage industry through experience with our clients from our independent businesses.

When the new USDA Food Pyramid was introduced we discussed how it would be interesting to do an Asian version of this and that thought quickly snowballed into bringing on well known Asian Chefs as well as non-Asian chefs who have a love of Asian Food to participate in this effort by providing recipes of what we call "New Asian Cuisine". These recipes allow home cooks to prepare wonderful Asian food in the comforts of their own home when not dining out.

What was the most difficult/easiest part in putting it together?

We had the passion but we had never created a cookbook before. This was really a grassroots effort with the help of so many chefs and enthusiastic individuals that also shared our vision. The challenge was editing over 300 recipes and making sure that all content and measurements were consistent in style. Since most chefs cook in larger portions and we were trying to stay within the Asian Food Pyramid guidelines for most of our recipes, we had to modify the recipe and contacting chefs is no easy task! We had to contact and verify recipes with over 100 chefs both nationally and internationally! We also had to test these recipes at home to make sure the recipes worked.

Another huge undertaking was raising funds to produce the book. There were many challenges and barriers along the way and we continue to face these every day. The best part was the team effort that went into our book and how fast and efficiently we were able to work together. We were able to conceptualize,produce, raise funds, design, get the book printed and in major bookstores all within the year.

What do you hope readers get out of your book?

New Asian Cuisine is a book you can bring along when food shopping and traveling. It's not just meant for the kitchen. We want our readers to be inspired by our chefs and use their curiousity in trying new Asian ingredients.

New Asian Cuisine is also not a dieter's cookbook. The recipes adhere to the principles of the Eastern eating philosophy of maintaining a balanced lifestyle and moderation. We want to let our readers know that they also can create these wonderful Asian dishes in their own home and purchase Asian ingredients in their neighborhood. For this purpose, we have provided over 1400 Asian supermarkets, malls and online stores across the US on our website at

To differentiate ourselves from other cookbooks, we included a culinary passport to fabulous dining around the world to capture the readers' fine dining experiences at our chefs' restaurants. Also included is a restaurant directory of all of our participating chefs from around the globe.

Finally, we hope that our readers will be excited by the culinary contribution of the chefs that define a new way of thinking about Asian Cuisine.

What was the most interesting thing you learned?

The most interesting thing we learned during the creation of this book were from the personal stories from the chefs about the recipes they submitted. Many chose to send in their favorite home-style dishes that were from their childhood that reach deep into their cultural background. They also refashioned many traditional Asian dishes using Western culinary techniques and ingredients and always adding a heavy dose of creativity to turn out refined, innovative, contemporary plates.

Are either of you experts in the kitchen when it comes to Asian cooking?

We are both Asian food enthusiasts and absolutely passionate about this industry!

by Wendy Chan and Grace Niwa

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Home Theater Speaker: Zoran Digital Audio Processor Now Shipping in Altec Lansing Speaker System; TV Set-Top Home Theater Speaker System Brings Dolby

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 17, 1998--Zoran Corporation (Nasdaq:ZRAN), a world leading provider of integrated circuits (ICs) and software for digital audio and video compression, today announced that Altec Lansing's new TV set-top Home Theater Surround System is now shipping with Zoran digital audio IC.

Enabled by Zoran's ZR38600 IC, Altec Lansing's new ADA105 is the first Dolby Digital Surround, TV set-top Home Theater speaker system, using Altec Lansing's patented side firing speaker technology. Through this technology, and the ZR38600, Zoran's third generation digital audio processor, the ADA105 streams true Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic(R) sound from DVD players, satellite receivers and VCRs to the listener.

The ADA 105 provides the movie theater sound experience from a single piece, setop speaker unit and a 40 watt subwoofer, at a mass market price. The additional speakers and connective wiring found in most home theaters systems are not necessary.

"The ADA-105 delivers unprecedented capabilities to consumers in a compact, affordable and easily installed package," said Tommy Freadman, Vice President of Engineering at Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. "We chose the Zoran ZR38600 IC for its top quality Dolby Digital decoding and its flexibility, enabling us to implement our patented side-firing technology and unique algorithms in a very cost effective manner. This has allowed us to deliver breakthrough performance to consumers at a truly compelling price."

"Zoran is pleased to have helped Altec Lansing bring consumers high quality Dolby Digital surround sound and state of the art features," said Paul Goldberg, Vice President of Audio Products at Zoran Corporation. "This is an excellent example of how the ZR38600 not only offers the performance and flexibility which allows our customers to differentiate their products, but also enables systems to reach mass markets at compelling price points."

About the ZR38600

The Zoran ZR38600 is a true third generation Digital Audio Processor. Developed by Zoran in conjunction with Dolby Laboratories, it is the ideal solution for a wide array of digital audio processing tasks. In addition to Dolby Digital, Pro Logic, and audio data stream identification, these include, Virtual Surround processing, sophisticated Sample Rate System[tm] music modes, THX(R) processing, and bass management.

Home Theater Speaker: Cambridge, Klipsch Vie for Top 5.1 Honors

The home theater/PC collision is inevitable. For some, it has already happened, with serious home-brewed home theater PCs adorning entertainment centers. For others, it could be the addition of a 5.1 set of speakers to their PCs. As with two-channel offerings, PC-focused 5.1 speakers have been steadily improving, and less expensive home theater speaker setups can also do a lot to make PCs sound better. But whatever your motivation, you may have found yourself looking longingly at 5.1 wares from both Klipsch and Cambridge, and pondered, "They both look good, but which set will rock my world, and not just my wallet?" Well friends, we're here to answer that and other vexing questions.

We put Cambridge and Klipsch in a faceoff for 5.1 supremacy. Loyd and Dave gave both sets of speakers some serious ear time, and while both sets sang beautifully at times, there were some sour notes heard as well.

Even priced at $400 and $350 respectively, Klipsch and Cambridge both had to make some design compromises to fit speakers with this many drivers and the requisite power into these price-points. That said, both arrive with plenty of amplification as well as a solid overall fit and finish. And either one of these sets of speakers should come bundled with a "creative responses to eviction notices" pamphlet, since the subwoofers on both units can torture downstairs neighbors. So who will prevail in this war of watts? Is one set clearly superior to the other? Read on, and all will be revealed.

Our test system was equipped with a Sound Blaster Audigy. With the Cambridge speakers, we used Audigy's S/PDIF output and connected to the speakers' digital input. For the Klipsches, we used Audigy's six-channel analog output mode since the Klipsch speakers lack a digital input. We ran under Windows XP Pro, and used the full version of PowerDVD 4.0 XP, which can internally decode either Dolby Digital or DTS.

We tested the speakers connected to typical tower PCs, with the listener sitting in the near field. While it may have been more useful to have a quieter environment (particularly for music), the fact is that these speakers will mostly live around a PC system, with its associated fan and other noises.

by Loyd Case

Home Theater Speaker: Orb Audio is your source for the small speakers ranked #1 for big, full sound and great web direct value.

Orb Audio is your source for the small speakers ranked #1 for big, full sound and great web direct value.

Orb Audio home theater speakers and stereo speaker systems are an award-winning combination of superb sound and small, attractive design. Our innovative direct business model allows us to manufacture our speakers with the highest quality audio components and expensive, handmade materials while keeping prices very reasonable. Toss aside any notions you may have previously formed equating price and quality -- they don't apply here. Orb speakers are every bit as good or better than competing systems that sell for more than double our prices. There is no doubt that it takes audiophile quality parts and design to achieve big sound from a compact package. What it doesn't take, though, is markups. So we spend your money on parts and labor, instead of multiple layers of sales channels. That means not only are our prices lower than competing systems, but our quality is higher as well. That's right, we spend more on your speakers and charge less than most of the other brands out there. It's as simple as that. By investing substantially more on the things that matter, our speaker systems deliver an unsurpassed full, rich sound and brilliant imaging that you normally expect from much larger speakers. If you want to shrink the size of your speakers without sacrificing sound quality, these are the speakers that will end your audio search. Great sound. Compact size. Good looks. An elusive combination of features finally captured in one great, expandable system.

Our home theater speakers and stereo speaker systems are designed with our exclusive Mod1 and Mod2 satellites and our high-performance audiophile Super Eight custom subwoofer. The Mod1 features a single steel spherical enclosure, while the Mod2 consists of two such enclosures. Both the Mod1 and Mod2 are constructed with top of the line components, such as high-power neodymium magnets, gold-plated binding posts and oxygen-free internal wire, and are assembled in the United States by skilled craftspeople. Our high performance Super Eight subwoofer is designed with a high quality amplifier and a custom, long-throw driver to produce the deep, tight bass normally reserved for much larger subwoofers.

For those that are looking for a complete home theater solution, you can add your choice of highly regarded Pioneer home theater receivers and DVD players to any of our speaker systems. Everyone is curious when they see our speakers. Most are astonished when they hear them. Don't be fooled into paying $2,500 or more for those famous home theater systems when an Orb Audio system will sound and look better. Also beware of those $500 Home Theater In A Box (HTIB) systems that will be sure to disappoint you. Instead, invest in Orb Audio, the Small Speakers For Smart People.

We guarantee you will like them with our 30 Day Satisfaction Return Guarantee.* More importantly, we are a small company and you can enjoy the benefits of doing business directly with an employee-owned speaker manufacturer -- personalized quality service, honesty and a very well-made product. We are very happy to help you figure out which Orb system is best for you and can also help you construct a custom combination of Mod1 and Mod2 speakers to meet almost any need. Call us at 877-ORB-AUDIO (877-672-2834) or send us an email at if you would like additional information or would like to discuss your specific requirements. We answer most emails within one hour. You can also see why we think our Direct Service Advantage means we have the best customer service and support in the industry by clicking here.

Read the recent press reviews and customer reviews of our systems and see why we were recently rated #1 over systems from B & W, Mission and Infinity by Wired Magazine and awarded the Editor's Choice Award by, a leading technology website.

Many small speaker systems sound small, or are not up to the task of playing music as well as they play home theater soundtracks. Through our innovative business model and use of top-tier components, these are issues that you will not be concerned with. You can say goodbye to giant, ugly speaker cabinets for good, because you will not miss them. Orb Audio speaker systems sound as loud and full as much bigger speakers, and feature the superior imaging and soundstaging of our custom speaker drivers. So, set your expectations aside and let us blow your mind, not your budget. We like to think that we build our speakers the same way you would if you were a speaker designer. We do not compromise on design or quality, and you will hear and see the difference. Whether you are looking for entry-level home theater or are a high-end enthusiast, there is an Orb Audio speaker system that is right for you.

From the technical innovations of our speakers, to the high level of craftsmanship and labor devoted to our HOSS floor stands, and our Direct Service Advantage, the Orb Audio difference is clear. Each Orb Audio speaker system redefines the price/performance expectations in our industry, providing top quality audio performance with leading edge design. We think that you will find that Orb Audio home theater speakers and stereo speaker systems outperform many domestic and European designer systems that cost several thousand dollars or more. By selling our speaker systems directly to our clients, we are setting a new value standard as well as a new performance standard, so do not be fooled by our price. We design and sell only premium, high-performance speaker systems. The only thing not high-end about Orb is the price. On top of that, our speaker systems are also truly upgradeable, which is a feature that is unique to Orb Audio. This means that you cannot go wrong with Orb, since you can start small now (from $219) and grow into a system as your audio requirements or budget evolve in the future. We encourage you to follow the informational links throughout our website to learn how Orb Audio are delivering more performance and value than anyone else home theater speakers in the market. You may also call us at 877-ORB-AUDIO (877-672-2834) for more information, or reach us via email at

If you are interested in receiving news and offers from Orb Audio, please join our email list on the left. We will not overflow your inbox with nonsense -- expect no more than one or two emails per year, on average.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Home Theater Speaker: Ratoc Systems' REX-Link1 - The Pulse 2

right arrow] Japan's clearly gone a bit wireless-mad recently. The REX-Link1 is a 2.4GHz digital wireless USB audio transmitter, working with almost all the new Windows operating systems and newer Macs. It transmits across a space of up to 10 meters. All you have to do is whack the little USB transmitter thingy into the slot in your computer, and it'll zing over the music goodness from said computer to the color-matched (ideal if your name is Santa Claus) receiver unit. The receiver unit, in turn, connects to whatever kit you want to use to output the audio: 5.1 home theater speaker setups (it's compatible with Dolby Digital 5.1), a combi system, whatever you set your sounds on.

More info:

COPYRIGHT 2004 Japan Inc. Communications
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

home theater speaker: Sharp Introduces 45-inch, 1080p LCD Panel

LAS VEGAS--Forget about 1080i (interlace) or even 720p (progressive). Sharp's LC-45G1U 45-inch LCD panel will offer an amazing 1920x1080p flat TV, scheduled to launch around the middle of 2004. Part of Sharp's Aquos line of LCD TVs, the LC-45G1U contains more than 2 million pixels in a package that can hang on a wall or mount on a highly compact stand.

The new Aquos unit will sport a digital cable-ready TV tuner, with HDTV decoding capabilities. 1080i and 720p images are scaled up to the native 1080p resolution with an internal scaler. The LCD panel will have a large array of inputs of all flavors, including DVI and HDMI connectors. Also built into the unit is a PC Card reader, which can be used as a memory card adapter for viewing digital photos or even play back video clips, if the PC Card contains enough memory (or rotating media). The Aquos supports MPEG-4 playback for video clips stored on the PC Card.

The Sharp HDTV uses 1-bit amplifier technology to drive a pair of flat speakers included with the package. The speakers can be mounted vertically, on either side, or underneath the frame. The speakers will be easily detachable for users who want to use an existing home theater speaker package.

Pricing has not yet been set, but the LC-45G1U will be the flagship of Sharp's liquid crystal TV product line. Additional G-series LCD TVs will be available in 26-, 32-, and 37-inch form factors, supporting lower resolutions, but are fully HDTV ready, widescreen products. All will have the built-in PC Card readers, HDMI support and contain digital cable-ready HDTV tuners.

For more, check out's 2004 CES Special Report

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in PC Magazine.

Home Theater Speaker: Ultimate Electronics Makes It an 'Ultimate Christmas' for the Denver Boys & Girls Clubs; Consumer Electronics Retailer Donates $

THORNTON, Colo. -- Ultimate Electronics, the leader in home and car entertainment, announces that a $20,000 donation of product has been made to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver on behalf of the company. The donation, which was delivered on Wednesday, December 21st, includes DVD players, digital video cameras, headphones, front projectors, a surround sound home audio system, LCD projectors, digital cameras, 5-channel home theater speaker systems, a VCR, and a plasma screen TV. These products will be used at the six Metro Club locations as well as its Training Center. In addition, Ultimate Electronics employees donated 100 gifts to the children of the Boys and Girls Club.

"Ultimate Electronics has been a part of the Colorado community for nearly four decades," said Randall Baumberger, president and COO of Ultimate Electronics. "The work that the Boys & Girls Club does here in Denver is absolutely indispensable and we hope that this donation helps them to keep on inspiring the community's young people."

"At the Boys & Girls Club, we do our best to give young people options and inspire them to pursue their dreams," said Kathy Luna, VP of Development for the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver. "Ultimate Electronics' donations give us valuable resources to continue that work and to make this Christmas a little brighter for the children at our clubs."

About Ultimate Electronics

Ultimate Electronics, a private consumer electronics company, is the leader in home and car entertainment. Based in Colorado for 37 years, the company has 32 superstores in nine states, including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Ultimate Electronics provides the industry's most comprehensive selection of name brand consumer electronics with an emphasis on limited distribution, mid-to-upscale brands. With the industry's leading 60-day price and service guarantee, consumers take home peace of mind with every new purchase -- absolute satisfaction and assurance that customers never pay more is guaranteed. Superstores are complete with multiple home theater and audio demonstration rooms as well as service-driven sales consultants that are knowledgeable and passionate about consumer electronics. To learn more visit

COPYRIGHT 2005 Business Wire
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Home Theater Speakers

Home theaters are getting to be extremely popular in American homes. This modern technology is slowly giving movie theaters a run for their money. Basic knowledge of home theater system and its basic components may be best for people who want to stay home for relaxation and entertainment.

The most important consideration in the design and complete set up of your home theater is the size of the room. The home theater speakers and the other components of your home theater may need to consider the size of the room. Too small rooms for your home theater may not require so many speakers. Only three speakers may be good if the room is quite small. Do not overload your small room; you may not be able to get the entertainment and relation you want if you feel overloaded with so many home theater speakers. Because you only need three home theater speakers in your small room, you may need to acquire the high-end brand of home theater speakers to compliment the size of the room and the other equipments for your home theater.

If you have a bigger room however, the basic three home theater speakers may not be enough. You may need to put up to six speakers around the room, you may also consider complimenting your home theater speakers with subwoofer to complete the surround sound like in movie theaters. In addition to the speakers, you may also need to purchase a high-end television set which should not be smaller than 27 inches. It may not be reasonable if you buy a smaller television set because it may drown in the fineness of your home theater speakers. Additionally, the DVD player needs to be of high quality, having progressive scan your DVD Player may help provide sharp images and flicker-free pictures for your home theater system. The home theater speakers, television and DVD player are the basic components of a home theater system especially if the room is quite small. However, for bigger room, adding home theater furniture and home theater projectors may be necessary to complete the package. Again, it may be worth it, if your home theater speakers are of high quality. This is because of the need to provide a surround sound for the home theater set up. The DVD player and the television set may answer for the requirement of sight in a movie theater setup. Your home theater speaker needs to answer for the sound requirement, and if your home theater speaker is not of high quality brand, it may not be able to do the job for you.

In order for you to avoid making mistakes in your choice of home theater equipment including home theater speakers, and home theater furniture, you may require the services of a home theater designer. They will be able to provide the best recommendation that will ensure you will get the most out of your home theater system including topnotch home theater speakers. Additional home theater furniture may be necessary to complete the package and to dress up the whole room. Since they are the designers, they will be able to recommend the best for your home theater system set up. If you have a properly designed home theater, you will be the best entertainment possible.

Your home theater designer may take on the huge responsibility of choosing the most suitable home theater speaker to attain the best design for your home theater.

Bring home relaxation and entertainment right in your own living room. A home theater system can provide this to you and your family.

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A Low Cost Home Theater Speaker Review

Since the surround sound speaker systems needed for a true home theater experience are made up of 6 speakers including the subwoofer, they can be a substantial part of the cost all by themselves. However, price is not always the governing factor in whether a speaker system is high quality or not. In fact, sometimes the best surprises come in inexpensive packages. Here is a home theater speaker review on the Athena technologies Micra 6 home theater speaker system:

One of the biggest challenges to home theater equipment buyers is in the installation of the the products that they buy, and the speaker system can be the most problematic of all since there are more wires that run farther distances than any other component in the surround sound setup. Happily, Athena makes the installation as painless as possible by providing the speaker wires in the box already, and a very clear wiring diagram that should be able to be used successfully by even the most technically challenged among us.

If you wish to mount your speaker setup to the wall or hang them from the ceiling they have already thought of that too and included handy swivel mounting brackets for that kind of job.

The system itself consists of satellite speakers that are small and stylish enough to blend in with almost any surroundings and yet capable of great sound in an average size room. Of course, if your listening area is in a very large room you may have trouble filling it up with sound, but that is to be expected at this low price level.

The 8 inch subwoofer is adequate and blends well with the other speakers in the system without overpowering them. All in all, the sound is very impressive from a speaker system that is so inexpensive.

The best part of this whole system is it's cost which is under $400 on some online sites. And considering how easy it is to spend thousands on a home theater surround sound speaker system, that figure is very easy on the pocketbook. So if you want to step up to a surround sound experience for your home theater system, but just can't afford the big bucks right now, consider this home theater speaker review of the Athena Micra 6 and see if it doesn't fir the bill.

Find out more about surround sound setup and surround sound installation by visiting our Home Theater website.

A Unique Movie Experience In Your Own Home Theater

If you think you have nothing left to ask for, think again. Who cares if you just happen to have a top of the line CD player? Or what if you have a state of the art DVD player or a dvr. Even if you have a television with a screen that is made of plasma, these features basically mean very little unless you own a system that brings the magic of the theater right in your own home.

So how do you create, or at least re-create having a home theater in the comfort of your own houses?

Work with what you have

First things first, if you already have components in your home, try to see and check how best they could work with the other systems or instruments you may have. An effective home theater system must be able to connect various sources of video - such as VCR, DVD, DVR, cable - a television monitor, speakers (the best is about five to six sets of speakers) through a receiver.

There are also those that plug components relating to audio in the home theater system. Examples of this are the MP3s and CD players.

Check any and all your available space

Usually, a home theater system is best utilized if there is a room solely dedicated to the home theater experience. Try to check and see if there are any open spaces available in your house where a home theater would best fit and would best be had by all.

If you are considering of using your bedroom for the home theater, it is highly advisable that forty watts be used. Or try anywhere in between forty watts to eighty watts for a living room that is average in size. However, if you happen to have a much larger room, a receiver with eighty watts of capacity is best especially for rooms that have ceilings that are very high.

DTS or DDS that is the question

When you are considering purchasing a receiver, it is best that a DTS or DDS system be at a minimum. Usually, Digital Theater System and Dolby Digital are audio system formats that are not very compatible for a home theater system. Try to take a look at the DVDs you have in your collection; chances are most of these carry the DDS format.

The best audio format and clearly the number one choice for a totally home movie experience is THX. Simply, there is no need to say a lot more.

Do touch that remote

As much as possible, study the remote that comes with the home theater system receiver. Usually, this remote is a universal one. You may want to utilize all components of the system as much as you can and so familiarizing yourself with the remote control is an effective way to make your use of the home theater system fun and convenient in the long run.

Stop, look and listen

When shopping for a home theater speaker, listen very carefully to the speakers you are intent on purchasing. The ideal number of speakers for a home theater system is basically six. These make up the speakers at the center, on the left, on the right, and more importantly the subwoofer.

Usually the speaker in the center is vital because this is the speaker wherein most dialogues from a movie comes out of.

However, if the space you are considering of placing the speakers is of average size or small, there are systems in which a theater in a box is a lot perfect. This works well especially if you are a bit challenged in the technical side.

All in one

There is actually a type of system wherein the receiver, cable and speaker - and sometimes a DVD player - is all combined and is more easily set up than the other types of stand alone home theater equipments. Plus, such a system is also found to be quite inexpensive.

All in all, a home theater system is a great way to experience the magic of the movies as well as bond the family, have a unique time with friends, or make movie watching a special experience with children - even to those adults who still feel a child at heart.

Blake is the webmaster at he has spent many years in the home entertainment business.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dispatches from the fern frontier

Just as Lewis and Clark are celebrated in the United States, so too, in Australia, are Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, leaders of the first European expedition to cross that island continent. In 1860, Burke and Wills, along with two other expedition members, John King and Charles Gray, made the entire journey from Melbourne in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north coast. On the way back, however, through a combination of bad planning and bad luck, they ran out of food. Gray died, but the others turned to a wild resource that they had learned about from some Aborigines: the sporocarps--the hard, bean-like reproductive bodies of a small fern. The fern, Marsilea drummondii, called nardoo by the Aborigines, is more commonly known elsewhere as water clover because of its four leaflets. In a time of need, here, it seemed, was a fern friend indeed.

Burke and Wills prepared the sporocarps the most sensible way they knew how: they ground them into a powder, added a little water, and molded the mixture into small cakes. These they dried and baked in the hot ashes from their campfire. The food satisfied their hunger, but, mysteriously, they still became weaker with each passing day. In the end, Burke and Wills both died of malnutrition; King was rescued, but he suffered permanent nerve damage in both legs.

For many years, it was assumed that the sporocarps simply lacked food value. But about ten years ago, nutritionists provided a new explanation. The sporocarps, they discovered, are loaded with thiaminase, an enzyme that destroys thiamine, or vitamin [B.sub.1]. When they examined the explorers' journals, they found recorded a classic progression of the symptoms of thiamine deficiency, or the disease known as beriberi.

So much, it would seem, for Aborginal knowledge! But why didn't the Aborigines die from eating the sporocarps of nardoo? The secret lies in the preparation. Unlike Burke and Wills, they mixed the ground-up sporocarps with enough water to make a kind of drink or paste, which they spooned into their mouths with a mussel shell. Diluting the thiaminase, it turns out, decreases its harmful effects to the point that the plant is safe to eat. The mussel shell was also a smart move. If, for example, they had rolled up a eucalyptus leaf to make a spoon (a common Aboriginal technique), the enzyme could have latched onto organic molecules in the leaf that would have increased its potency.

by Robbin C. Moran