LATEST ADDITIONS

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 30, 2015 0 comments
2014 was an interesting year for A/V enthusiasts. On the video side, plasma went away, while LCD technology, particularly the edge-lit models, took a leap forward, and OLED grew its presence. In audio, a slew of new competitors went chasing after Sonos in the app-based multiroom audio genre, high-res audio began to emerge from its audiophile obscurity, vinyl continued on its comeback path, Atmos came to the home theater market, and the best soundbars kept on getting better. Read on for our list of the crème de la crème from the 2014 calendar year, but make sure you check current pricing online, especially among the TVs. We list MSRPs as originally reviewed, and some products are now heavily discounted.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 29, 2015 0 comments
Dish Network is offering a special feature for this year’s Super Bowl. Not everyone watching the Super Bowl is a football fan. There have been many years that I’ve been guilty of talking through the game only to stop and watch the commercials. The AutoHop feature on Dish’s Hopper DVR typically skips commercials but has been re-engineered for the Super Bowl game.
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Daniel Kumin Posted: Jan 29, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,693

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Awesome potential for clean loudness
Impressive tonal fidelity and finesse
No subwoofer required
Atmos!
Minus
Requires generous spacing and AC power
Connectivity is a bit complex

THE VERDICT
A one-stop, state-of-the-surround loudspeaker solution, especially apt for any who prefer not to accommodate a subwoofer—with the bonus of being Dolby Atmos enabled.

Definitive Technology’s BP-8060ST has remained a highlight of the Baltimore-area maker’s lineup for several years—a dog’s age in the new-and-improved, series-II world of high-end loudspeakers. The longevity suggests that Definitive considers this slim “power tower” a fully evolved design, and indeed it’s hard to argue the point.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 29, 2015 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
After the apparent suicide of a key player at a major investment firm, up-and-coming financier Jane Porter (Sarah Butler, 2010’s remake of I Spit on Your Grave) is racked by grief but also struck by the strange behavior of her bosses. They seem to be increasingly interested in some recent high-level investments, but also in who might know about them. Were more sinister forces at work? And if so, will she be the next employee to meet a sudden end? Tensions mount with the after-hours arrival of the company crisis manager (D.B. Sweeney, looking like Chris Cooper), whose friendly interrogation grows more insistent. The building is locked down for the night with almost no one else inside; Sarah finds herself on the run for her life but is soon trapped inside the elevator, and a twisty game of cat-and-mouse ensues.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 29, 2015 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
Has the iconic villainess of Sleeping Beauty gotten a bum rap all these years? In this grand live-action reimagining of the classic tale, we learn of the longstanding hatred between a human kingdom and a nearby realm of magical beings. Maleficent, the most powerful fairy and their de facto leader, begins life full of wonder, but after she is bitterly betrayed by the only human she ever cared for, she becomes the angry, formidable opponent we thought we knew.
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 29, 2015 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have owned receivers from Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha. With each one, the sound always seemed muddy after I used the auto-calibration function for speaker setup. In my experience, I get much better sound when setting all speaker crossovers to 200 Hz, or the highest available setting. Expert opinions I’ve read on the subject say this is wrong, though I’ve adjusted two friends’ systems in this way and they agree with me that the sound is better. Am I correct? —David Bone

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Mike Mettler Posted: Jan 28, 2015 0 comments
“I’ve always been a fan of records that tastefully use effects to enhance the listening experience,” says Sam Llanas, former vocalist/guitarist for roots-rock pioneers BoDeans, now ensconced in a full-time solo career. Llanas’ distinct vocal tone — which resides somewhere between gravel and grace — has touched the soul of indelible songs like “Closer to Free,” “Feed the Fire,” and “Rickshaw Riding,” and on The Whole Night Thru (Llanas Music), Llanas opens up his palette on deeply personal tracks like “Deja Vu” and “I’m Still Alive” to achieve an even more honest aural identity. “We did decide early on that we would like to make a record that would be engaging on headphones,” he reports. Here, Llanas, 53, and I discuss the importance of equipment choices and microphone placement, how to make a record that hits “hard and fast,” and his favorite BoDeans album. The man is very much still alive and kicking.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 28, 2015 1 comments
Dish is issuing invitations to try out the new Sling Television streaming service that launches in February. It's worth checking out.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 28, 2015 1 comments
I’m not a terribly big fan of Nest, but I don’t hate them, either. I own a Nest Thermostat, and I like it—for the most part. What I don’t understand is the gushing amount of praise a lot of writers give it, both as a standalone thermostat and a major smart home device/controller. You get the feeling that if God needed a thermostat, the Nest would be the one He’d buy. Despite what you might read, the NEST thermostat has its flaws, two of which are its inability to detect occupancy in other areas of the home and its requirement for an always-on Internet connection when used with other smart home systems.

But I have to give the Nest folks a great deal of credit for doing a very honorable thing recently...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 27, 2015 1 comments
The 2015 International CES is over, but the melody lingers on. The big news in video, of course, is that Ultra HD is coming to us like a great singer who is pushed out on stage knowing the tune but not the lyrics. The result might be a stirring vocalization of “Over the Rainbow,” but the only words the singer can think of are the lyrics to “Does Your Chewing Gum Loose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight.”

In short, most (but not all) of the sets launched at the show still feature only one of the important features of Ultra HD: 4K resolution...

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