Dolby has a new surround format: Pro Logic IIz.
Here we go again. Another new format with more speakers, but this time, the "surround" speakers are in the front of the room, three or four feet above the left-and right-main speakers. These height channels are designed to provide a greater sense of envelopment than previous generations of Dolby or DTS surround.
Pro Logic IIz incorporates all of the features and capabilities of Pro Logic IIx.
"Expanding on established Dolby Pro Logic II matrix-decoding innovations, Dolby Pro Logic IIz identifies and decodes spatial cues that occur naturally in all content--stereo and 5.1 broadcast, music CDs, DVDs, 5.1 and 7.1 Blu-ray Discs, and video games," the Dolby site further explains. "Dolby Pro Logic IIz processes low-level, uncorrelated information--such as ambiance and some amorphous effects like rain or wind--and directs it to the front height speakers."
You don't have to buy new, specially encoded discs to experience Pro Logic IIz, but do you really want to buy another pair of speakers, wall-mount them, and run a pair of speaker wires up your wall, to the sides of your TV?
Dolby doesn't require the height speakers to be identical to the main-left or -right speakers. Some Pro Logic IIz systems will use a total of nine speakers (five front, four rear), plus one or more subwoofers.
Onkyo's TX-SR607 ($599 MSRP) is the first receiver to feature Pro Logic IIz; the company will soon offer additional models equipped with the new Dolby processor, to be announced later this year.
Then again, Yamaha's higher-end receivers have had height, aka "Presence," channels for years. Those extra speakers supplement the sound from the front speakers with ambient effects produced by Yamaha's proprietary Cinema DSP, which provides various multichannel configurations up to 11 channels. Obviously, Dolby's Pro Logic IIz uses different technology, though the end result may be similar. … Read more
Sony and Yamaha have announced their midrange AV receiver lines, and today Onkyo announced three new AV receivers ranging in price from $300 to $600. The biggest news is that the new TX-SR607 ($600) will be the first receiver to feature Dolby ProLogic IIz sound processing, which can expand existing 7.1 soundtracks to 9.1, routing some of the audio to "front high speakers" which are positioned above your standard front speakers. Let's take a look at how all three models compare:
Key features of the Onkyo TX-SR307:5.1 AV receiver with 65 … Read more
We first saw the Polk Audio SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2008, where we chose it as one of only three home audio finalists for Best of CES. While it ultimately didn't take the crown, we were still looking forward to the final product. However, the product was pushed back from its April release date, and didn't end up arriving until the autumn of 2008. Looking at it now, more than a year after its coming out party, the built-in DVD seems a bit quaint--most of the home theater systems in the … Read more
We've tested a lot of sound bar speakers for CNET, but none as ambitious or expensive as GenevaSound's Home Theater system. It's a 2.1 channel virtual surround system with an all-digital 700-watt amplifier, seven speakers, and integrated 12-inch subwoofer.
There's also a CD player, radio, and an iPod/iPhone dock. Considering its $3,999 list price, you might expect this super-size home theater to include a Blu-ray player, or at least a DVD player, but you're on your own. Your TV can be placed on the cabinet or wall mounted.
Oh well, the GenevaSound … Read more
A few days ago, we pointed out that more people seem to be renting DVDs rather than buying, which means the studios are making less money on their former cash cow. According to a recent report by Video Business, Fox is trying a new strategy to encourage DVD purchases, by releasing two different versions of the DVD: the standard retail version with deleted scenes and commentary tracks, and a stripped-down rental version including just the movie. Movies such as "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and "The Wrestler" are set to get … Read more
We almost missed it in the deluge of press releases from Sony's 2009 line show, but Yamaha also rolled out its line of home theater systems (HTIBs) this week. Unlike most HTIBs that feature a lightweight AV receiver and custom speakers, Yamaha's systems include a component-grade receiver, speaker system, and subwoofer. Let's take a look at the line:Yamaha HTR-6230BL) Four two-way satellite speakers, each with a 2.5-inch woofer and 0.5-inch tweeter 100-watt subwoofer with an 8-inch driver ( Yamaha YST-SW012) $400 list price
Key features of the Yamaha YHT-491BL:5.1 home theater system Includes component-grade 100-watt AV receiver ( Yamaha HTR-6230BL) Includes NS-SP7800M speaker package (minus the sub), featuring two tall-boy speakers 100-watt subwoofer with an 8-inch driver ( Yamaha YST-SW012) $550 list price