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Issue #032 - What's new
11th October 2007

The Practical HT Guide Update  brings you the latest additions in a series of informative home theater design articles, unbiased system reviews, practical guidelines and free advice. If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a BIG favor and "pay it forward."

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Welcome to the October 2007 issue of
Practical HT Guide Update


In this issue:

The latest Sony and Samsung 1080p LCD HDTV Sets

HD Done Right!

Media Cabinets for that Unique Finishing Touch

Books and Magazines in the Home Theater World

The Latest Sony and Samsung 1080p LCD TV Sets

We recently had the opportunity to review two top-of-the-line 46-inch 1080p LCD TV sets from two giants in the field of LCD display panels - Sony and Samsung.  The products in question are the Samsung LN-T4665F and the Sony KDL-46XBR4.

We are saying two giants... A recent report from DisplaySearch revealed that during the first two quarters for 2007, Samsung was the leading revenue generator among LCD TV makers reaching a maximum of 18.6% of the global market. Sony emerged as the second largest LCD display panel manufacturer with an average of around 15% worldwide in revenue share.

This at a time when plasma and LCD TV sales continued to increase world wide - reaching 75% of all TV shipments in Japan, Western Europe, and North America.

Sony XBR-4The Sony KDL-46XBR4 forms part of the latest premium XBR series of Sony Bravia 1080p LCD TVs. Released just a few weeks ago, it represents an upgrade over last year extremely popular XBR2 1080p LCD HDTVs.

The all-new Sony offers a full range of advanced features, like 10-bit display, 120Hz refresh rate, 18,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, exhaustive connectivity, a swappable bezel, and a unique trend-setting design.

As expected, the Sony 46-inch KDL-46XBR4 LCD TV does not come cheap. Still, it is one of the most eagerly awaited 1080p HDTVs from a top brand for 2007.

For more information on this Sony LCD TV, please check our Sony KDL-46XBR4 1080p LCD TV review article.

Samsung LN-T4665The Samsung LN-T4665F forms part of the latest premium line of Samsung 1080p LCD HDTVs. It offers a full range of advanced display features and convenience options, exhaustive connectivity, a super clear display panel with a rated 15,000:1 contrast ratio, and a trendy all-black high gloss finish.

As with the Sony XBR4, this Samsung 1080p LCD TV does not come cheap. Some have complained about its shiny screen, saying the glossy surface makes it prone to glare, but... It is surely one of the best performing LCD TVs we have ever come across.

More information in our Samsung LN-T4665F review article.


The Samsung and the Sony 1080p LCD TV sets on review, both delivered very similar picture performance. This comes to no surprise, after all, Samsung and Sony had entered into a partnership in 2004 - 'S-LCD Corp' to meet the rising demands for larger LCD TV sets. The 1080p LCD display panels on both sets are the result of this joint venture, with both using SPVA technology and an almost identical contrast ratio rating.

HD Done Right! - A Best Buy Initiative

It is an unfortunate fact that many consumers do not have a basic understanding of what High Definition is all about. A lot of customers are opting for HDTV sets - it is trendy and is the way to go. The latest drive towards HDTV by both display manufactures and major retail stores is helping pushing down the price of 720p and 1080p HDTV sets - making these sets even more accessible to the average household budget.

However, a recent study by Best Buy have shown that while the presence of HDTV sets in the home is on the increase, yet having an HDTV set in the house does not necessarily imply that the customer has an understanding of HDTV. In fact, some 89% of all consumers stated that they lack the necessary understanding of HDTV technology.

This is also leading to what many refer to as in-store sticker shock. More than half (52%) of those planning to buy an HDTV fail to budget correctly; they just fail to take into account the cost of other necessary HD components.

But there is even more to this Best Buy survey...

  • Half of HDTV owners (50%) admitted they are either not watching HD programming, or they aren’t sure if they are; of these, 35% didn’t realize they needed to subscribe to HD programming to watch HDTV.

  • 39% of the respondents don’t identify an HD-ready TV as a necessary component of the HD experience.

  • 52% of those taking part in the survey were not aware that they need special HD compatible cables between HD system components.


In response to survey findings, Best Buy has created a number of interesting tools at - in the form of video tips and advice - to assist consumers through the HD purchasing process; a short HD glossary is also available. The Best Buy HD Done Right campaign is designed to address consumer pain points regarding HDTV, and educate consumers on the four parts necessary to create a full HD experience: HD-ready TV, source, sound and installation.

More information is available at

Additional information on HDTV is also available on our site at 1080p HDTV. This HDTV guide takes a look at the different HDTV formats - 720p, 1080i, and 1080p - while clearly explaining the strengths of weaknesses of each.


Media Cabinets for that Unique Finishing Touch: Maria Yee EcoLuxury™ line of Home Theater Furniture

Best Buy and Lifestyle design company Maria Yee Inc., have teamed up to offer their Magnolia Home Theater customers in New York and Los Angeles, an exclusive three-piece collection of home theater furniture.

Constructed from environmentally friendly materials, this fine line of media cabinets offers more than just style and functionality.

maria yee media cabinetsA Unique Concept in AV Equipment Cabinet Design

The Maria Yee line of eco-friendly media cabinets - available for store pickup from around 70 Best Buy Magnolia Home Theater stores in New York and Los Angeles - consists of a unique three-piece collection, each set to address different customer needs. These are:

  Pasadena: 66-inch 3-door console
  Malibu: 60-inch 2-door console
  Belvedere: 75-inch 2-door, 2-drawer console


These media cabinets can take flat-panel displays from up to 50-inch for the smaller Malibu unit, reaching a maximum of around 70-inch for the larger Belvedere console. Maximum TV weight that these units can handle is 200lbs.

This rated load bearing capacity for the TV renders these media consoles more than adequate for any display size. A typical 65-inch plasma weighs no more than 165 lbs, while a slim-styled 71-inch rear projection TV weighs even less. Furthermore, the internal shelves can hold up to 50 lbs each - more than is necessary for a typical high-end AV receiver.

Price wise, the EcoLuxury line of AV furniture compare favorably with similar size ready-to-assembly media cabinets from other brands. However...

These media consoles have an edge over competition. They add that extra touch of class to your home entertainment area, through a sophisticated trend-setting design that contrasts heavily with the many ready-to-assemble home theater furniture options, available on the market.

A detailed review article on this unique line of home theater furniture appears on our site at Maria Yee Media Cabinets.

AV Cabinets - come in all shapes and sizes, and are great to help you keep your gear well organized and safe - essential for long-term trouble-free operation. However, there is more to media cabinets than a storage space for home theater system components. To learn more on the requirements to look for when investing in an AV rack system, please refer to our Equipment Racks section.

Home Theater - Books and Magazine Reviews

Setting up a home theater can turn out to be a complex and expensive process. Even a simply upgrade of one of your system components is worth planning carefully if you want to do it right.

Appropriate timing for your purchase as well as correct choice of equipment - will help you avoid unnecessary expense.  

Unfortunately, the never-ending choice of products available on the market does not really help - it may even turn the selection process truly frustrating. 

It is in this respect that home theater magazines, home theater books, and the latest electronics catalogs, will surely provide a helping hand to the prospective buyer. 

On our part, we have prepared a short list of inexpensive home theater books and magazines that in our opinion are among the best available to help you remain abreast with the latest developments in this fast changing technological world. In particular, the selected books have been specifically chosen to serve as a reference source to both new comers as well as to more advance enthusiasts.

For our reviews of the home theater books and magazines featured on our site, please check out the following links:

Reviews: Home Theater Books

Reviews: Home Theater Magazines

Electronics Catalogs and More...

The truth is there is no substitute to the insight that can be gained through good reference books and informative home theater magazines. On-line information is there to complement rather than exclude information available through other sources such as home theater magazines and home theater books.


Take care and stay tuned! 



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