In Sound & Vision’s March/April edition, they announced their picks for the 2009 Editor’s Awards. Some notes of interest include:
- LG’s BD390 stand-alone blu-ray player was given top honors. Interestingly enough, they did not mention the Samsung or Panasonic players which were endorsed in earlier issues. If you are looking for a blu-ray player with streaming features and fast loading times this player is worth looking at. It has built in WiFi as well as the ability to download HD movies from Vudu. It does not have any of the reliability or firmware issues other players have.
- Samsung’s UNxxB8500 LCD was the top LCD. I have not seen this set yet and I am looking forward to it. However, S&V; cited it top honors despite the fact that it had poor viewing angles. It brings up an important point. When looking at LCDs in the store, make sure you don’t just look at the set head on. My old Sony rear projection TV had a great picture head on, but if you stood up or went off to the side too much, it lost some of its color. When you have a lot of folks come over to watch a football game this is a problem.
- The Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K receiver was the entry level receiver chosen. I own the earlier version of this receiver, the Pioneer 1014-TX-K. It’s tempting to trade in for this model but my older Pioneer shares the same guts as their Elite line. It makes you wonder if it sounds as good with all the other stuff they have jammed in there. The 1019 appears to use less expensive plastic components and no longer has THX certification. Consensus on avsforum is that the VSX-23 from Pioneer may be a better choice.
Looking at this set of components, it amazes me now how every home theater component now has some built in Internet and streaming capabilities: TVs, blu-ray players, receivers and video game consoles. It’s now part of the criteria used to rate equipment. The only component devoid of this functionality are the speakers. Wouldn’t it be better if each component focused on it’s primary function. Receivers focusing on rich sound, displays with vibrant pictures and blu-ray players just being blu-ray players. If we are interested in providing Internet based content, downloadable movies as well as movie and photos, isn’t it better to have a box that focuses on that. And what box would that be? Good question!