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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 17, 2017 4 comments

PRICE $130

Excellent 4K HDR picture and sound quality
Optical audio output for full Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
Agnostic voice search finds movies/TV shows on most streaming channels
Playback control for music and slideshows is awkward
Doesn’t play Dolby Atmos from Vudu

Roku has once again upped the streaming game by including HDR and more in its highly recommendable Ultra 4K media player.

Continuing to up their game, Roku has introduced new products that add HDR (high dynamic range) to 4K streaming while maintaining their anyone-can-use-it simple menu structure. A slew of new models range from the Express player to a new top-of-the-line player, the Ultra. While both the Premiere+ and the Ultra support 4K and HDR (the standard 4K Premiere lacks HDR), the Ultra has a few more features for those who insist on the best picture and sound, and more. It’s proof of how far the streaming player has come from the low-quality picture of its first generation.

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SV Staff Posted: Jan 17, 2017 0 comments
Sonos president Patrick Spence (left) is taking over the role of CEO from founder John MacFarlane.

John MacFarlane, founder of wireless speaker pioneer Sonos, announced that he is stepping down as CEO and turning the reigns over to Patrick Spence, who joined the company as chief commercial officer in 2012 and was named president last summer.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Jan 17, 2017 3 comments
FM sinks slowly below the horizon, first — appropriately enough (it gets dark early there) — in Norway.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 17, 2017 0 comments
You probably have at least a passing awareness of James May. He was one of the trio who hosted Top Gear (recently reincarnated as The Grand Tour) and is a bona fide cool car guy. But he has also hosted a variety of interesting, verging on odd, television shows. Perhaps the oddest show, and my favorite, is The Reassembler in which Mr. May, well, reassembles things.

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SV Staff Posted: Jan 16, 2017 0 comments
Master Quality Authenticated, or MQA, the end-to-end audio encoding technology invented by digital-audio pioneer Bob Stuart of Meridian fame, continues to gain momentum with several announcements made at CES 2017.
SV Staff Posted: Jan 16, 2017 0 comments
As we progress into 2017, Klipsch continues its 70th anniversary celebration with two new Heritage Series speakers that recall the grandeur of its earliest designs.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 13, 2017 1 comments
The core Just Cause 3 game came out at the tail end of December… 2015. Throughout 2016 several DLCs came out. Clearly, I missed all of them. What’s the point in talking about this game now? Well, it is fun so if you missed it, here's why you should check it out.

What’s interesting to me, however, is how the game is fun. You see, there’s absolutely no challenge to it. Your character is essentially invincible and immortal. There’s no death penalty, you have essentially unlimited ammo and explosives, and despite sort of taking place in the real world, your character can basically fly.

And yet… it still manages to be fun. Why?

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Corey Gunnestad Posted: Jan 13, 2017 0 comments
The year is 1977 in Los Angeles, California. Disco reigns supreme, the porn industry is flourishing, killer bees are emigrating from South America, and smog has reached epidemic levels. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hard-hitting thug for hire, taking work wherever he can find it. Most times, it involves beating the crap out of some guy who’s bothering a young lady and breaking numerous bones in the process. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a burnt-out ex-cop now private detective who’s not above deceiving a client to maintain a steady paycheck. And these are the Nice Guys.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 13, 2017 0 comments
Charlize Theron is back as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) with an unthinkable act of cruelty leading to her path down the dark side of magic; like Elsa from Frozen, she possesses an icy power. She heads north to train an army in order to conquer the realm, with one caveat: They are forbidden to fall in love, which is exactly what happens to Eric and Sara, leading to Freya going postal on her most treasured Huntsmen.
SV Staff Posted: Jan 13, 2017 2 comments
Onkyo previewed an Alexa voice-enabled wireless smart speaker at CES last week, marking its foray into the super-hot product category Amazon created with its line of Echo smart speakers.