OTHER TECH

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

Close your eyes. Wait, don’t do that. You won’t be able to read. Imagine yourself sitting in the center seat, center row, of a dark and empty theater. It’s a good theater, quiet, and you can feel the space stretching out from you in all directions. A sound rises to an audible level far in front of you. It’s a bee. Okay, maybe you don’t like bees. It’s an old plane, rotary engine struggling to turn over, the sputters emanating from a center channel speaker unseen behind the screen in the dark theater. The plane taxis left. There’s no picture on the screen: You localize it just by how the sound moves toward the left speakers.

John Sciacca Posted: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

High-rez music is the most exciting audio development to come along in years, and I’ve written quite a bit about it. But I’ve received enough questions concerning high-rez that I felt it was time to devote a column to the subject. What follows is a primer that touches on the basics of high-rez music: what it is, how to get it, and how to play it.

John Sciacca Posted: Aug 14, 2012 0 comments

My family recently visited the Magic Kingdom park at Disney World in Orlando. One attraction we checked out was “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress,” a revolving theater that follows a “typical” family through the decades, starting around the 1920s and winding forward to the future.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 13, 2012 0 comments

Virtually all music recordings and film soundtracks are intended by their creators to be heard over speakers. There’s good reason for that: Speakers yield the most natural tone and the most accurate spatial presentation — qualities that are difficult or impossible to match via any sort of headphone listening. But what kind of speakers should you buy?

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jul 16, 2012 26 comments
For those who stream video from online sources, the speed at which data can be sent into their home is critical. If your connection isn't fast enough, streaming video can sometimes stall as it fills the buffer in the receiving device, or the content provider might send a lower-quality stream because it senses that your available speed can't handle anything more. So how much speed do you need?
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 26, 2012 3 comments
If you’re in search of the perfect music station, with a little dedication and patience, you can customize Pandora. For the uninitiated, Pandora is a free online music-streaming service. Unlike other “free” online music services, it can be streamed to smartphones, tablets, TVs, media-streaming devices, and more without a premium subscription fee.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 18, 2012 17 comments
Streaming media from online sources provides a huge variety of movies, TV shows, and music that can be rented or watched for free. Still, you may have downloaded movies and music and stored them on your computer as well. Your media libraries may be filled with movies, TV shows, music that you ripped from CDs, and/or digital photos you've taken yourself.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 01, 2012 10 comments
There is a growing number of media players, media streamers, and other devices that can access Netflix, Hulu, and your own saved media to watch on your TV. The first step in deciding which one to buy is to know why you want it. Do you only want to stream video and music from the Internet? Do you want to watch Netflix or Hulu, or do you like to find unique videos and video podcasts? Have you saved music, photos, and/or videos on your computer that you want to stream to your TV?
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 27, 2012 1 comments

Stewart Active 170 3D
Performance
Setup
Value


Da-Lite High Power
Performance
Setup
Value
Stewart Filmscreen Reflections Active 170 3D
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: Higher gain than popular StudioTek 130 G3 • Good off-axis performance and color uniformity • Noticeable hot spot

Da-Lite High Power
Price: Varies by size, type (see review) At A Glance: High Gain • Picture darkens visibly off-axis • Hotspotting virtually undetectable

We’ve come a long way from the days when screens were an afterthought. I imagine there are still a few enthusiasts who cut their projection teeth on a sheet or a bare white wall, or even an old, beaded, home-movie screen. Today we know better. The screen is a vital part of the projection setup.

Screens now come in a wide variety of sizes and characteristics. Their physical construction—fixed frame, retractable, flat or curved, masked or unmasked, perforated or not—is a subject for another day. There are also rear-projection screens. Here, however, we’re primarily concerned with the characteristics of the screen material itself, as used in front-projection setups, the type most commonly found in theaters, both commercial and home.

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 19, 2012 0 comments

INEVITABLY, WHEN something cool comes out, it will influence everything that immediately follows. That’s what happened with Avatar. In 2009, we all went to see it in 3D, and the following year stores were packed with 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players.

HT Staff Posted: Feb 03, 2012 0 comments
It’s always a blast around here to take a look back and see which of the hundred or so components we’ve reviewed in the last year really rose to the top. Of course, the best of these end up on our Top Picks list, but like watching a good movie whose message or performances resonate in the days and months that follow, there are always a few pieces of gear that prove themselves to be just a little more special over time.
Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 24, 2011 1 comments
As the song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year—or the most dreadful, depending on whether or not you plan to join the buying frenzy on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Many stores open at an ungodly hour and offer seemingly outrageous deals on certain products to get people in the door, hoping that they'll buy more than they bargained for and put the store's accounts in the black for the year, which is why it's called Black Friday—either that, or it might be due to all the black eyes resulting from fights over the last remaining $40 Blu-ray player.

Scanning some of the myriad Black Friday websites—my favorite is bfads.net because you can search by product category from multiple retailers—I found a few great deals on home theater gear. In many cases, however, these products are already available at less than the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price), so the savings I cite here might not be as great as they appear. I've included links to HT's reviews of the same or similar items if available, so let your mouse do the clicking before you venture forth to battle the hordes.

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Jamie Sorcher Posted: Nov 18, 2011 0 comments
Home Theater’s gift guide goes outside the black box with cool stuff for the movie, music, and game lovers on your list.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…are you humming along with me yet? Time to get in the mood and brace yourself for a few crazy weeks. The holiday hype started in stores weeks before Halloween, the commercials are nonstop now, and many folks made their wish lists months ago. So did we. We scoured pre-holiday events, called manufacturers, and went on an all-out hunt to find some of this season’s hottest holiday tech swag—gifts you’ll want to both give and get. Skipping the 3DTVs and audio gear we report on month in and month out, we instead zeroed in on some cool extras that’ll enhance your theater room or help you and your giftees enjoy your favorite movies and music on the go. Prices range from totally affordable to the serious splurge, but there’s a little something here for everyone. Read on for our selections, and happy holidays from Home Theater!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 19, 2011 0 comments

Prices for flat-panel TVs have been reduced to a level where they’ve literally become throwaway commodities. Just yesterday, a customer informed me that he was going to put a TV outside on his deck and “leave it there until it breaks, then buy another one.”

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 12, 2011 0 comments
Performance
Setup
Value
Price: $2,699 At A Glance: Gets the black bars out • Solid value • Minor uniformity issues

Elite Screens may be less well known than some of the bigger names in the business, but they offer a wide range of projection screens for every application. Since their products are manufactured in China, they’re more than competitive in price. But this limits their ability to offer customization, such as sizes not included in their standard lineup.

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