Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 5)

The DSP Programs I talked about last time are at the core of the RX-V679. This is where Yamaha’s expertise really shines. But to get to this functionality you need to go through the device’s user interface (UI). Weakness in this part of the design isn’t unique to Yamaha—it seems to be endemic across mid-range audio products. With that caveat, I promised earlier I’d say something about the RX-V679’s remote control. So here goes… The… Now read on…

nVidia Shield TV (Part 1)

When a newly acquired gadget goes wrong, the first thing any inquisitive user will do is scour the Web for disgruntled fellow-sufferers. And of course will always find them. The next step might be to tweet, or otherwise publicly complain: “Product X is a load of shite. Everybody’s had this same problem.” Watch out for this, because you’ve now fallen into a logical trap. Yes, there are several others out there who’ve run into the… Now read on…

Optoma HD28DSE Projector with DARBEE

The entry level of the home entertainment projector market has become savagely competitive of late. Yes, there’s a race to the bottom price-wise. But there’s also a compulsion among the more reputable manufacturers to do better, to offer improvements not only over their rivals but also over the products in last year’s catalogue. It’s big win for customers. Nearly all the entry level projectors are based on the same core technology, a range of  digital light… Now read on…

QNAP TS-451 NAS Server Part 3

Last time I talked about QNAP updates and promised to say more about the 6 GB Red drives that Western Digital has supplied to help me through this NAS Server review. The NAS updates have galloped forwards since then, and we’re now on a major update version of the QTS operating system, version 4.2. A lot has changed, including the look and feel, so some of the earlier screenshots I’ve included here are out of date. Luckily,… Now read on…

Viewsonic LightStream PJD7830HDL Home Entertainment Projector

Earlier this year I reviewed the PJD6352, a mostly business-oriented budget projector in Viewsonic’s new LightStream series. Although its XGA resolution and 4:3 format was clearly directed towards Powerpoint presentations, I found to be surprisingly good for home movies. With the LightStream series, Viewsonic is moving away from its earlier distinctly austere boxy design, introducing a gentler, curved outline. But the developments aren’t merely cosmetic. The new casing makes a much better job of containing… Now read on…

Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 4)

The previous episode got us started on the Scene buttons before I allowed myself to be sidetracked into a lengthy discussion about Internet radio (because it sounds so damn good on the RX-V679). I mentioned that the Scene buttons tie together particular physical inputs with whatever DSP Program you care to attach to them, so it’s probably time now to explain what DSP Programs are. The DSP Programs MUCH OF THE TIME WHAT pours into… Now read on…

BenQ W1070+ Projector

I still think the future of projectors lies with the cooler illumination technologies, LED and laser. But the hot lamp isn’t going anywhere any time soon: at the low end, prices for this class of DLP projector are coming down, while picture quality is quite visibly improving. BenQ, an old hand in this sector of the market, is currently offering a model that’s a notch or two up on the now discontinued W1070, which was very… Now read on…

Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 3)

In the previous episode we connected the speakers, confirmed they’re working by feeding them FM radio and then aligned them using Yamaha’s Parametric Audio Optimisation set up. We’re now ready to tackle the RX-V679 face-to-face. The Front Panel THE CONFIDENT, HANDSOME BLACK finish of the facade (a “Titanium” version is also available) manages to be at the same time living room friendly and unobtrusively technical. Yamaha’s own illustration here depicts a slightly optimistic picture, though.… Now read on…

QNAP TS-451 NAS Server Part 2

In the first part of this series I said something about the general use of network attached storage (NAS) devices and whinged a good deal about the problems of explaining the capabilities of one with as many tricks up its sleeve as the QNAP TS-451. But enough theorising: now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. Installation THE TS-451 ARRIVES as a bookshelf-sized white box with (most immediately noticeable) four drive… Now read on…

Yamaha RX-V679 AV Receiver (part 2)

RATHER THAN JUMPING RIGHT IN I used episode 1 of this Yamaha RX-V679 review/adventure to set the scene.  Now let’s get physical. Any neophyte unboxing the machine might at this point be forgiven to taking a long pause. A coffee break at the minimum. Because the moment you turn these AVRs around to look at the back you’re presented with something of a challenge. Speakers and the Back Panel It seems logical to start at… Now read on…