The Basics of Home Theater:
DVD and Home Theater Links
Last Updated 4/3/2006
There are countless web sites available that discuss home theater topics. From news sites that provide up-to-the-minute word on upcoming DVD's and reviews of many titles to sites offering consumer reviews of home theater equipment to forums to manufacturers' sites, there is a lot of information out there. Finding it all can often be a major problem. This page contains a fairly extensive (but hardly exhaustive) list of links.
An excellent article at The Digital Bits explaining anamorphic widescreen (or 16x9) video really is.
The following are a few good news and reference sites.
- The Digital Bits: The Digital Bits is fairly similar to dvdfile.com, although with a slightly smaller staff and a less structured update schedule. Digital Bits will often come up with a bit of news in the middle of the day, and will post it right then, so it's a site I watch off and on all the time. It's also been known to go a few days without updating. With columns like The Rumor Mill and the editor's "My Two Cents," you get some good info. Digital Bits also provides fairly regular disc reviews, and they recently added someone to look almost solely at audio, giving them a pretty good resource on trends like the development of DVD Audio and SACD. You may not get as much raw info here as at dvdfile.com, but you get good stuff.
- Jim Taylor's DVD FAQ: This is probably the best single source for information on DVD as a technology, and is widely mirrored (both DVD Resource and Digital Bits maintain mirrors). It's a good read, with lots of technical background and history. For those of you not as interested in the technical details, you can always settle for Earl's DVD FAQ instead.
- The Big Picture DVD: The Big Picture is a site that looks specifically at large home theater screens (mostly 16:9 aspect ratio stuff). They're a pretty decent news source, and they've got several hundred disc reviews. I generally start at the "NEWS" page (in fact, my bookmark is to that page).
- Audio Review: Audio Review is a site filled with consumers reviews of audio and video products. You will find reviews for speakers (main speakers, center channels, surrounds, and subwoofers), DVD players, receivers, amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, televisions, CD players, MP3 players, and most anything else you might need for your home theater -- including cables and equipment stands.
- Audiogon: Audiogon is an auction site for audio and home theater gear.
- Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity: This is an online audio/video journal, with articles and reviews of equipment and movies. Much of the gear they review is high-end stuff, but they give very honest and well-informed reviews. They also produced a DVD benchmarks article comparing a large number of DVD players.
- Outlaw Saloon: Outlaw Audio is an equipment manufacturer most notable for their design philosophy (design the best quality components they can in a target price range) and marketing approach (sell direct over the internet, cutting out the middle man in order to offer the product at a significant savings over comparable equipment). They have a bulletin board called the "Outlaw Saloon" where users post comments and trade suggestions and questions. There is little involvement by the Outlaw staff, so specific questions for Outlaw are usually best e-mailed straight to the company. I post there under the username "gonk."
- Home Theater Forum: Home Theater Forum is a large forum site for discussion of equipment and software.
- AVS: The AV Science forum (AVS) is a good resource for technical questions and specific info on HD displays or high end gear. There are a number of regulars who can provide extensive technical knowledge.
- Home Theater Spot: Another large home theater forum, with many manufacturer forums available. The crowd there is likely to be a bit less intimidating than many of the AVS regulars, although at the expense of less in-depth technical knowledge.
- Anime on DVD: This is a news site catering specifically to anime DVD's.
A campaign started by The Digital Bits and supported by pretty much every major DVD news and information site, it is intended to encourage the movie industry, consumer electronics corporations, and members ofthe DVD Forum to make sure that they work together to develop a single, broadly-supported High-Definition DVD format based on new blue laser technology (either the Sony/Panasonic "Blu-Ray" or Toshiba's HD-DVD). The campaign organizers want to try to prevent a format war (such as the old VHS/Beta war or the more recent and less noticeable DVD-Audio/SACD war). They believe that a red-laser HD-DVD format (which would offer little or no more storage capacity than existing DVD) using more agressive compression would not offer enough video quality improvement to make upgrading from the current DVD format worthwhile. As can be seen by the format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, this campaign failed.
Below is a large collection of links, taken from my general links page.
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