Home > Podcast > AVRant #84: D’Artagnan

AVRant #84: D’Artagnan

July 24th, 2008

Dina bailed so Clint joins Tom again this week. Netflix comes to Xbox 360 and Tom is relieved. Look for Netflix to come to a device near you. Lots of user questions are answered. John recommends the SONY XDR-F1HD for all your tuner needs. Clint doesn’t know who Cake is. (Honestly, Tom only likes the first two albums, the rest sort of sucked.) Mark says he hasn’t been suckered into buying Blu-ray and Tom and Clint agree. Jonathan wants to know why live HD TV looks better than shows. Nelson has a problem with his cable box and his processor. Thanks to HDMI, the intuitive answer is the WRONG answer. Here is the article. Asad needs headphones. Alexandre clarifies his question about high-end vs. mid-fi gear. If you didn’t catch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long-Blog, you missed out. It rocked. An announcement. Check out Clint on the HD Guys (Podcast #295). This is the myspace page for Kiss Her For the Kid. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley.

Dina looks strangely attractive as a vulcan.
Disturbing on so many levels.

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  1. zhimbo
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:50 | #1

    I’m sure, after how Firefly was completely undermined by Fox, Joss Whedon would like to break out of the usual paradigm. If Dr. Horrible is any indication, that looks like the way to go! Long live the neglected Super-villiam Musical genre!

  2. CraigW
    July 25th, 2008 at 11:48 | #2

    Clint what the heck do you mean that you don’t trust the companies behind Blu-ray?

    Are they going to crash through our doors in the middle of the night and take the discs back? Render them unplayable? Steal our information?

    It’s a format and now ALL the major studios are backing it. Granted the prices are still high but I don’t doubt that Hollywood wants to sell us the same titles over again on BD before they move onto something else.

    Blu-ray may make up 10% of the home video industry revenue this year. It has already got enough of a foothold that any other format to come along will have a much harder time than even HD DVD did in trying to establish itself.

    Look at the retailers. They are happy now that there is no format war clouding the issue of what player-type should I buy to go along with my new HD set.

    All the major B&M stores near me at least have expanded their BD sections. Prices will come down if they want to move more product, but it will happen. But we probably won’t see the Walmart $5 bin for sometime and let’s be honest that $5 bin usually has junk that most don’t want.

    The high B&M prices have just pushed me to get titles online through Amazon and other outlets. On average I am paying about $20/title. Granted those are mostly catalog, but new to BD. I scored an online deal yesterday preordering the Godfather collection for $20 less the Amazon price. For new releases, Blockbuster Total Access with instore return meets the rest of my BD needs.

    I have become an HD-snob. I can’t stand watching DVDs blown-up to 92 inches anymore.

  3. chrisgwd
    July 25th, 2008 at 23:43 | #3

    Guys, I don’t get your point about comparing Rotel and Arcam gear to Denon. Denon does make great stuff, but it just isn’t the same. Unless I am missing something, the CHEAPEST Denon pre/pro is $7500. That’s big bucks. The Arcam and Rotel pre/pros are like $2k to $5K. I would hope the Denon pre/pro sounds better at that price.

    I happen to be partial to separates. I’ve listened to many systems and just have never liked receivers. They always sound harsh to me. It could be that many AV shops just can’t set them up, but I don’t think that’s all of it. And, I have never seen specs compared end to end for a pre/pro & Amp in direct comparison to a receiver.

  4. July 26th, 2008 at 19:44 | #4

    Zhimbo – Agreed. He got hosed. That series had so much going for it and the only thing that killed it was that the studios didn’t give it enough time to mature. Plus, the whole changing around the first episode thing was lame. I got the impression from what I read that Joss had been promised certain things (like support, control, etc.) and then the suits changed it at the last minute.

    Craig – With a screen that large, I agree that Blu-ray is needed. Don’t think that the 10% of the market means anything though. Nintendo came in late with the Wii and look at what they’ve done. If someone comes out with a new format that really captivates the public’s imagination, they could quickly crush DVD and Blu-ray.

    Chris – As I listened back to that segment, I realized that Clint and I were talking about two different things. Clint was talking about the top of the line offerings from Denon and comparing them to the similar products from the other manufacturers. I, on the other hand, was talking about lower priced receivers and their counterparts.

    Clint’s point (I think) was that if you compare the Denon separates or flagship receiver to the flagships of the other manufacturers (not just Rotel and Arcam – any), you are going to find that the Denon is just as good if not better regardless of price. My point is that if you take a product that has similar features from Denon and a company like Rotel, you are going to find that the Denon gives you more usually for much less. This goes for Yamaha as well. What you get from companies like Rotel (and I am not picking on them, it is just the company that represents these types of manufacturers) is brand name, looks, and the promise of purer sound. I think you also tend to get a better amp section. J loves his Rotel gear and I have no problems with it but from an economical standpoint, it makes sense to go with the Denons and Yamahas of the world. If you like the looks, don’t need all the functionality, and perceive a difference – fine. It may be that your speakers play better with this type of gear.

    Also, I don’t think that’s I’d agree that it is the receiver that sounds harsh. It could be that your speakers need a bit more amplification than most receivers are able to provide. I’m willing to bet if you used a receiver as a pre you’d have a hard time picking it out from a dedicated processor.

  5. July 26th, 2008 at 20:26 | #5

    Dina in Spock ears is actually more disturbing to me than the hairy J/lollipop video… lol.

  6. July 28th, 2008 at 13:58 | #6

    Had to throw this out there. The Netflix service is not free on the Xbox. You have to have a Gold membership to use the service. This might change to silver as well.

    That’s what burns me the most. You pay for internet, you pay for Netflix and then Microsoft charges you to go online with their service or to play other people? Can you imagine if you the PC world charged more money to play people online or to chat or send email.

    Xbox has a stupid online model.

  7. July 28th, 2008 at 14:50 | #7

    You know, the $50 a year is so worth it on XBox Live, dezoris. There is a pretty good system that is similar across games to be able to connect to your friends and get games going. And since your actual xbox isn’t sucking down the bandwidth or processing power it seems more reliable and easier than similar PC gaming on line. Of course, it is regulated, so you shouldn’t have as many problems with total garbage players as you do with the PC. And really, it can be had for less than $50 a year with a coupon or from sales on Amazon, etc. Total output is less than $5 a month. Or, you could use your PS3 online, not have a clue how to connect to your friends from game to game, get firmware updates that brick your console, etc… And all for Free! Yeah, I’ll pay the XBL fee. Now, if I only had netflix…. I wonder how crappy it will look on a 106″ screen. That’s the real question!

  8. July 29th, 2008 at 12:00 | #8

    Jim, I owned an Xbox 360 and had a gold membership. If you ever have played any real games on the PC or have run a game server you will know right away how much better gaming can be on a PC. You can control everything. Players ping, network, game speed, number of players, and most importantly you can control the bandwidth for the server, hardware and all configuration. And guess what, it’s all free on PC. Total freedom you don’t have to pay additional fees to go online and play people.

    Xbox takes a similar model, makes users pay to basically play peer to peer against another user with an xbox. There are no real game servers. If you want to download trailers, movies, games, demos, avatars, wallpaper etc. It’s all proprietary and often costs money on top of the Live fees.

    There are plenty of features Xbox has in terms of online play that is very good. But paying for it? No thanks.

    I don’t have to pay for it on PC or PS3.
    Microsoft also has the long term outlook of small insects. They change things all the time because they have no end game plan. Most their products fail to stay marketable for more than a few years because either they rush things to market or love changing things just to change them. In terms of the xbox360 you mentioned a bad firmware update from Sony. That was bad testing on their part. But Xbox released a known defective console in terms of board design and cooling and left off many major features to rush it to market.

    Bottom line there are problems with both PS3 and Xbox, but you have to pay a service fee to do the things that are free on PC and PS3. And to get Neflix on Xbox you have to be a gold member which means you are paying more money to Microsoft for something that is free on the PC, Roku and soon to be other net appliances.

  9. July 29th, 2008 at 22:38 | #9

    I have to admit – there is a limit to how many different “fees” I’m willing to pay. They will need to form little conglomerates or I’m quickly going to reach a point where ‘enough is enough’. It’s hard to criticize the PS3 network when it’s free.

  10. Mike F.
    July 30th, 2008 at 23:25 | #10

    Great show as usual. I have a theory about why live HD shows can look so much better: since the video is being streamed live without all the preprocessing, the networks don’t have time to compress the heck out of it. Video compression takes a tremendous amount of computing power, and compressing a beautiful HD video stream into the smeared blur that we normally get probably just can’t be done in real time. I’m sure they use some less effective means of compression to partially reduce the bandwidth required by the signal, but there’s just not enough time and computing power to do full-blown H.264 (or whatever) on a live feed.

  11. Mike F.
    July 30th, 2008 at 23:45 | #11

    Er, this is assuming that the signal coming from Comcast to the lousy DVR/cable box they provided me uses some standard video codec with intraframe compression. I have absolutely no idea what they do- for all I know they just downsample the frames and upsample them on the receiving end (the cable box). Anyway, just a theory.

    Also (and totally unrelated), this is like the third time I’ve heard Tom make a Pixies reference since I’ve been listening to AV Rant. Easily one of my favorite bands ever. If you have Rock Band (or know anyone who does), the entire “Doolittle” album was released as downloadable tracks a few weeks ago. Anyway, rock on, etc.

  12. July 31st, 2008 at 16:38 | #12

    Just for reference, looks like this 12 + 1 month card can be had for $40. So, for those who don’t like XBox live fees, at least it can be had slightly cheaper. Hey, it’s only like $3.08 a month this way… I wonder how much time I have left on my sub… Hmmm…

  13. Raul in HD
    February 19th, 2009 at 14:31 | #13

    I do enjoy the HTguys, really good Podcasting

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