OTHER TECH

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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 1 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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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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