TECH2

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 02, 2011 0 comments

"It's great, I never have to pay for music again!" Such was the exclamation from someone I know in regards to Spotify.

I was baffled at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me. Because my acquaintance isn't alone in this thought. It's prevalent among many, and it extends beyond music.

What they're really saying is: "I want you to entertain me, but screw you for trying to make a living at it."

What the what?

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 31, 2011 0 comments

I just finished a plasma TV review for an upcoming issue of S+V. As I was writing up its brightness and contrast ratios, I realized there could be some confusion about the numbers.

If you measure the contrast ratio of plasmas (all plasmas, not just this one) the same way you do other types of televisions - namely LCDs and projectors - they post poorer numbers than other technologies.

This isn't a performance issue as much as it's a measurement issue. And why that is . . . that's kinda interesting.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 29, 2011 0 comments

"Style your hair for best sound." Already done, V-MODA. Already done.

Located on a wraparound removable sticker on the left earcup, this statement is my first introduction to the new Crossfade M-80 headphones. I'll forgive them for being baldists.

The right earcup sticker: "Red for right side." You'd think a simple "R" would suffice, but such banal lettering would presumably foul the stylish design.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 26, 2011 0 comments

Bang & Olufsen knows its customers value style and ease of use more than being the first on the block with the latest thing, so the Danish company tends to wait for the bugs to be worked out of new technologies before it embraces them.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 24, 2011 1 comments

If I had been sitting across from someone I'd never heard of who was starting yet another headphone company, I'd have probably steered the conversation to the weather or Lady Gaga's latest outfit.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 22, 2011 0 comments

A five-year-old surround-sound receiver has all the appeal of a five-year-old banana. But a five-year-old (or even 25-year-old) stereo amplifier might sound and perform every bit as good as one built last month.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 19, 2011 0 comments

I was up till 3AM again last night playing this game. A brilliant mix of humor, progression, and addictive gameplay guarantees the "just one more mission" mentality of epic late-night gaming sessions.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 17, 2011 0 comments

For anyone into ultra-low-budget home theater, yesterday was one of the greatest days ever. That’s because Optoma announced the HD33, which cuts the minimum price for a 3D home theater projector by 67%.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 15, 2011 0 comments

Light is one of those intangible things that is stuff and whatnot. Wait, no it isn't. It's light. As in, "Aziz, LIGHT!"

On the one hand, it's either on or it's off. On the other hand, it's half-on, half-off, and you've programmed it to go half-off and half-on again at the touch of a button.

If you don't have kids to turn lights on for you (or maybe you have kids, and they don't turn them back off), Lutron has a host of products to make life a little easier. How much easier is best explained by experience. Which brings us to the aptly named Lutron Experence Center.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 11, 2011 0 comments

There have been stirrings on the webs about a new push for OLED (or organic light emitting diode-based) TVs. These Holy Grail televisions promise the ultimate in black level, contrast ratio, and color fidelity, they poop kittens, solve baldness, and make people like you.

Most of that is true. Some. OK, part.

Sadly, an imminent OLED renaissance is still highly unlikely. Unlikely, like me dematerializing and rematerializing in the next room unlikely.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 10, 2011 0 comments

At the party last night at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to celebrate the release of the Blu-ray Disc and DVD of Dexter, Season 5, I got to spend some quality time with Craig Eggers, Director of Blu-ray Ecosystems for Dolby Labs. Eggers was there because the Blu-ray release is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I think I was supposed to talk with him about the new discs, but instead I cornered him for an update on something far more interesting to me: the status of 7.1 sound.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 07, 2011 0 comments

I'm writing this from my sofa. In my lap is a keyboard. MS Word is part of a 50-inch tall image that also includes Netflix playing an episode of Sports Night, and Steam downloading Portal 2.

That, and much more, is the promise of a home theater PC. But in this age of ultra-cheap everything, is the complexity of an HTPC worth it? Well, I'm about to find out. Again.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 04, 2011 0 comments

I recently took a bit of a road trip for my summer vacation. All told, it was about 1,000 miles, starting in rural New Hampshire (is there any other kind?), down through New York into rural-ish Pennsylvania, and back again.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 02, 2011 0 comments

In the late 1990s, a product manager from Zenith brought me the company's first HDTV set for review. After an afternoon spent checking out the TV - an engineering marvel for its time - I told him how impressed I was with it. "Yeah, we'd sell a ton of them if it said 'Sony' on the front," he wisecracked.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 01, 2011 0 comments

We all know what distortion sounds like. We've heard it in heavy metal tunes, cheap iPod docks and the crummy speakers at Taco Bell drive-thrus. And we've all read distortion specs on things like receivers and subwoofers. But other than a general understanding that distortion isn't something we want in home audio gear, most people really don't know what it is.

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