SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 06, 2014 4 comments
The decades-long transition from home loudspeakers to earbuds as the preferred listening technology is well documented. Now we have another data point to help us examine the question of whether the same downward spiral is happening to television screens. The short answer is: Yes. The long answer is: Yes, and quickly.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 22, 2014 2 comments
Editor’s Note: The following article appears in the May 2014 print edition of Sound & Vision.

How Was Your Day?

Friday afternoon, McCarran Airport. The International CES ends today. Some bitter-enders are still at the convention center, but for me, the show is over. With a mixture of relief and regret, I toss my press pass into a recycling bin. As I wait for my boarding call, I pull out some notes, trying to make sense of what just happened.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 15, 2014 0 comments
Beats Music is a new subscription music service that is an offshoot of the wildly popular hardware company (mainly headphones) founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Beats Music is a logical extension: if people love the headphones so much, maybe they’ll extend the affection upstream and into content selection. Recently launched (January 21), the early numbers for Beats Music are in....

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 01, 2014 6 comments
Frankly, I thought he was dead. You know—like one of those male Hollywood stars who’s gone through three too many facelifts and goes into seclusion. Then suddenly he reappears in Teen Beat magazine with a photo of him kitesurfing with his 18-year-old supermodel girlfriend who is naked and you say to yourself—"Whoa! I thought he was dead!" Anyway, last night, precisely at midnight, there was a knock on my door. I unwisely opened it, and there stood Professor Lirpa.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 18, 2014 0 comments
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything from new from Pono. When it was first unveiled, at least in concept, two years ago, Pono was a bit of a head-scratcher. Brainchild of rocker Neil Young, Pono was his response to the scourge of lo-fi music. Pono was a new music player and/or file format and/or music delivery system that would resurrect recorded music. Stay tuned. So, it was interesting to see Pono surface again at SXSW last week.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 11, 2014 0 comments
Ouch! Thank goodness for the Affordable Care Act, because now I’ve got a pre-existing condition called Bruised Ego. Man, oh, man&mdashdid I get a beat down. Even after all the stitches and bandages are removed, I’ll probably always walk a little wobbly.

I made the cardinal error of dismissing two high-rez audio formats. You can tell a man that his wife is hot, you can tell him his horse is ugly, you can even tell him his car is slow. But you should never, ever, tell him his audio format is obsolete...

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 04, 2014 3 comments
Apple has announced that it is bringing its iOS to a dashboard near you. The CarPlay system will link your iPhone 5S, 5C or 5 to the vehicle’s in-dash controls and display. Think of the phone as the brains of the operation, and the car as the touchscreen, and speakers. With CarPlay, you’ll be able to access the phone’s maps, traffic information, music, and messages. For music streaming, CarPlay will support iHeartRadio and Spotify. Also, as you might expect, Siri will be on board.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 18, 2014 2 comments
Is it just me, or is there something really weird about this video? I’ll invite you to watch it after the break, but meanwhile, at least IMHO, someone has gone off the rails here. Maybe it was a marketing big-wig at Sony’s HQ. Maybe it was just some regional manager. Or maybe the whole thing is a put-on, a spoof specifically designed to encourage suckers like me to recommend that you watch it. In any case, the video might go viral, but I’m pretty sure this marketing concept never will.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 11, 2014 3 comments
Video streaming company Aereo is fascinating from a technological standpoint. The legal questions it raises are equally intriguing. They will determine whether Aereo proceeds on its merry way or whether it will be shut down. There’s only one way to decide, and that’s to ask the Justices. Yep—another big AV case is heading to the Supreme Court.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 03, 2014 3 comments
Some people watch the Super Bowl to see some football. Some just want to see the commercials. I tune into the Super Bowl to hear the music. Unlike the game, this year didn’t disappoint. I was blown away by an opera singer selling nothing, and a folk singer selling his soul.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 21, 2014 3 comments
“My my, hey hey. Rock and roll is here to stay. It's better to burn out than to fade away. My my, hey hey. Out of the blue and into the black. They give you this, but you pay for that. And once you're gone, you can never come back. When you're out of the blue, and into the black. Hey hey, my my. Rock and roll can never die.”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 15, 2014 1 comments
Clearly, things that are apparent to our senses are real. For example, if I see or hear something, it’s real. But I see and hear things in my dreams, and they certainly are not real. What if the things in my waking life are just as illusionary? Hmm, perhaps we can only say that reality is what we believe it to be.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 31, 2013 10 comments
Attention all you early adopters: It may be time to pull the trigger on a 4K Ultra HD TV. If you act now, you can still hold the coveted title of First On Your Block. If you wait, you’ll have only yourself to blame. 2014 may be the break-out year for the new TV format.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 17, 2013 0 comments
Ah, once again, it’s that magical time of year. Malls jammed with shoppers looking for that elusively perfect gift, parking lots jammed with cars competing for that even more elusive parking space, and everyone’s favorite—the joyous strains of holiday music. When I say “strains,” I mean as in you straining not to go insane when you hear Little Drummer Boy for the umpteenth time.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 03, 2013 0 comments
David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is one of the most memorable songs of the late 60s. Its release on July 11, 1969 not coincidentally coincided with the Apollo 11 moon landing. The single reached #5 on the British charts and later in his career Bowie revisited the theme several times. This odd song about an astronaut drifting in space is simply iconic. Now, audiences are discovering a uniquely new version of Space Oddity.

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