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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Oct 09, 2012 0 comments
Streaming high-quality video with multichannel audio requires a fast connection. For Vudu, Hulu, and other online streaming sites, you must have fast Internet speeds. To stream huge, high-definition files from your media server to your smart TV or media player, you must have a fast connection within your home network.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Oct 09, 2012 2 comments
In the world of digital media, there’s no doubt that you have downloaded movies and/or music, and saved digital photos to your computer. Now you want to watch them on your TV and home theater. Before you can stream the movies, music or photos from your computer, networked external hard drive, or network attached storage (NAS) drive, the media player must first find the sources—“see” the device where you have saved your media files. The computer or device where your files are saved is called a “media server.”
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Oct 05, 2012 0 comments
Media streamers and Smart TVs are only as good as the content they can provide. Yes, it's important to have good picture quality, but often the determination of which player you buy comes down to what you can stream to it? If you like TV shows, you want Hulu Plus. For movies make sure you have Netflix or Vudu. Beyond the big-named online streaming services, there is a plethora of special interest websites that stream short-form videos. Thanks to app publisher, Flingo, many of those channels are becoming available on media players and Smart TVs. The Flingo Queue adds the possibility of watching any video you find on the web on TV.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 24, 2012 4 comments
I half expected an ordeal as I walked into Walmart carrying a small shopping bag with several movies, ready to take the new Disc-to-Digital service for a spin. I was directed to the electronics department where I was greeted by a large placard that read: “Access your movie collection. Any time. Any place. 3 Easy Steps...” Offered in Walmart stores across the country, the service is operated through the chain’s online streaming service, Vudu, and is intended to provide an easy way to set up a cloud-based digital movie library with DVDs and Blu-ray Discs you already own.
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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 29 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 8 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 2 comments

Stewart Active 170 3D

Da-Lite High Power
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.


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