OTHER TECH

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 12, 2011 4 comments
SRS & the Future of Surround

Like most Home Theater readers, I’ve known SRS Labs primarily as the company that does virtual surround sound and other audio solutions for HDTVs and soundbars—features largely dismissed by serious enthusiasts as lightweight hocus-pocus. So it was with some skepticism that, back in March, I rolled into the firm’s Santa Ana, California, headquarters for a private demo of some new surround sound technology.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 17, 2011 1 comments
Successful streaming is about making the right connection.

If you’ve just read “Streaming for the Masses”, you’ve got some idea of the range of hardware that lets you stream video and music from the Internet to your home entertainment system. The primary options include HDTVs, Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, game consoles, and various DVRs and dedicated streaming appliances. To some extent, it does matter which you choose, both in terms of the content you can access and your ability to connect it for the best picture or sound quality.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 14, 2011 5 comments
Streaming video has gone mainstream. Are you ready?

Once upon a time, outside factors controlled when and where you could watch a TV show or feature film. Over the past 35 years, that’s evolved dramatically. The revolution began with the introduction of the VCR in 1976. Its ability to record and archive broadcast TV shows and movies on magnetic tape burst open the floodgates for entertainment in the home. Other formats followed, all the way up to our present-day high-density Blu-ray Discs. One thing they’ve all had in common, though, is their physical nature. That’s all changing now. Like it or not, we’re entering a transition phase from physical media to streaming and the cloud. Looks like a revolution all over again.

Brent Butterworth Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments

A crowd of movie-industry folk, film students, and press assembled last night for a preview of clips from the upcoming Transformers: Dark of the Moon - the first in the series to be shot in 3D - as well as a lengthy and surprisingly technical discussion between Transformers director Michael Bay and Avatar director James Cameron.

The presentation, titled "3D: A Transforming Visual Art," took place at the Paramount Theater, on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.

Brent Butterworth Posted: May 11, 2011 0 comments

Technologies that distribute audio and video around a home are incredibly cool-if you can afford them, if you can tolerate complicated installation, and if you can figure out how to use them once they're in. I've long assumed a big consumer electronics company like Samsung or Sony would invent a more practical multiroom A/V solution, but it seems the technology that finally gets us past the old paradigms may be Apple's AirPlay.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 26, 2011 2 comments
Price: $2,199 At A Glance: Image pops with room lights on • Minimizes room reflections with lights off • Fixed frame—no retractable version

Lighten Up

Many of us will tolerate a projection system that requires a totally darkened room for movie watching. But when other family matters make this impossible, or when your buddies come over on a Sunday afternoon for the big game, how many of us are willing to totally blacken the room and leave everyone to stumble around in the dark?

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Mike Mettler Posted: Apr 04, 2011 0 comments

When Robbie Robertson met Jimi Hendrix in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1966, Hendrix (then going by the name of Jimmy James) was intent on learning about a subject crucial to his future as an artist. “He only wanted to talk about songwriting,” revealed Robertson. “Because I was playing with Bob Dylan then, he thought I might know something about those secrets.” What was the best advice Robertson shared with Jimi? “If everybody is writing about one particular thing, then I would not go in that particular direction, because it’s crowded over there.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 02, 2011 0 comments

GREETINGS, PROGRAMS!

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Mike Mettler Posted: Mar 22, 2011 0 comments

Good is good. It's a simple adage, but one that's especially true when it comes to music. Genre and predetermined preferences should be secondary if you're truly interested in having your ears entertained, challenged, and enriched.

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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 28, 2011 0 comments

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score for The Social Network, and it's a modern and adventurous film score if ever I've heard one. It's haunting, of-the-moment, and immersive - and, best of all for us S+V types, it's available in surround sound. Go here to get yours.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 24, 2011 0 comments

The Internet has come alive with cheers of audiophiles and jeers of audiophobes since CNN.com reported unconfirmed rumors that download services such as iTunes and Amazon MP3 would soon begin offering music files with 24-bit resolution. Technically, this is a step up from the 16-bit resolution available in most downloads. But predictably, non-audiophiles are criticizing this move as little more than a naked marketing ploy.

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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 17, 2011 0 comments

Some things you know right away in your rock & roll bones. When I first met Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins in 1991, we bonded over the contents of a suitcase he carried with him wherever he went: an ever-growing mountain of live Jimi Hendrix cassettes (some authorized, some not). As the Pumpkins’ trippily punishing debut album, Gish, had just begun melting the ears of the alt-rock cognoscenti, Corgan was already cocksure of where he was going in the world.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 09, 2011 0 comments

Do you trust your ears? I don’t. By that I mean I don’t trust my ears. Frankly, though, I don’t trust anybody’s. I’ve heard laymen enthuse about systems that had little more to offer than a few notes of booming bass. I’ve heard audio veterans trash impeccably engineered speakers — and praise speakers that showed glaring technical flaws.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Feb 08, 2011 0 comments

Where do you start when converting a music collection to data files for home (and portable) playback? In the January 2011 issue, we defined key terms and explored the pros and cons of both lossy (data-compressed) and lossless (uncompressed) music-file formats. Now we'll put that knowledge to use. With space at a premium in these columns, instead of debating all the options I'll just tell you what I do and why, and hope that you can work out your best strategy from there.

Formal Fit

Mike Mettler Posted: Jan 20, 2011 0 comments

So I've been basking in the sounds of Cake's new chart-topping album Showroom of Compassion (Upbeat Records; cakemusic.com), and have to say that I'm really loving it.
Oh good. That would be horrible if it was a nightmare for you. [chuckles]

And it's a great album to listen to on vinyl. The bass lines on "Got to Move" and "What's Now Is Now" have real impact.

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