LATEST ADDITIONS

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 13, 2014 0 comments
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Thorin, heir to the dwarf throne, is on a quest to reclaim his homeland and unite his people. But to do so, he’ll need to survive an onslaught of murderous Orcs, steal a vital stone back from an insanely powerful talking dragon, and overcome all manner of treachery along the way. Fortunately, he makes new allies in his travels, but while there’s certainly no shortage of characters in this middle chapter of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth epic, it dawned on me that none of them are especially compelling. With their numbers growing, we don’t really have the chance to get to know any of them.
Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 13, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $150

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Adds Google TV apps to a Sony Bravia TV
Compact dongle form factor
Integrates cable/satellite programming with streaming apps
Integrates some apps typically not available on Google TV

Minus
Google TV remote was sometimes unresponsive
Only works with specific 2013 (or newer) Bravia TVs

THE VERDICT
A solid Google TV add-on for owners of compatible Bravia TVs.

When the Sony Bravia Smart Stick was first announced, it was thought to be competition for Google’s Chromecast. But this complete Google TV-on-a-dongle is not for everyone. It is an add-on option for recent Bravia TV owners who want more than the streaming apps available on the Bravia TV platform. The Bravia stick integrates seamlessly with the TV, combining the app menu from the Bravia TV with the Google TV home screen for quick access.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jun 13, 2014 0 comments
Master and Dynamic are relatively new in the headphone community, but they sure know how to leave a memorable first impression. Due out later this month, the MH40 are retro-modern without trying too hard; that effortless kind of organic cool that you know probably took countless hours to design, but look as easy and sexy as bed head on a rock star. The chassis is crafted of durable goods: forged aluminum with stainless steel accents, and the headband and earcups have calfskin leather on the outside, lambskin on the inside. (Sorry, fellow vegans… maybe one day they’ll make a protein leather version just for us.) So, after a good lovesick sigh over the design came the moment of truth: was the beauty skin deep?

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Fred Kaplan Posted: Jun 12, 2014 0 comments
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Extras
After watching The Great Beauty in a theater, I wanted to watch it again, not to catch details I’d missed (there weren’t many) but to relive the experience. I can’t remember a film that so raptly captures the flow of life, the “fleeting and sporadic flashes of beauty” beneath the “blah-blah-blah” of existence, as our protagonist, Jep Gambardella, reflects in his epiphany. Jep (played by the marvelous Toni Servillo) is the king of Rome’s high society, the author of a celebrated novel who hasn’t written one since because he can’t find “the great beauty.” But, at the end, he realizes that life is full of great beauty when mediated through art, and so begins his new novel, which, we realize, is the film we’ve just seen.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 12, 2014 1 comments
Disney Movies Anywhere is the studio’s foray into cloud-based content distribution. Buy a Disney movie title on iTunes, and you can enjoy it on multiple platforms—for starters, iOS devices, Apple TV, and major Web browsers, with others to follow. The digital rights management scheme is Disney’s own long-rumored KeyChest, a notable departure from the UltraViolet cloud DRM supported by other major studios. DMA is launching with 400 titles to start, including Frozen. Those who activate DMA and connect it to an iTunes account get a free digital copy of The Incredibles. If you’ve bought a Disney title on Blu-ray or DVD over the past six years, your disc may include a code for cloud access on the DMA platform.
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SV Staff Posted: Jun 12, 2014 1 comments
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and The Recording Academy, announced today the results of their efforts to create a formal definition for High Resolution Audio, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.
Kris Deering Posted: Jun 12, 2014 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Handpicked parts and proprietary audiophile touches
Nearly plug and play
Supports all high-resolution formats
Reference level audio and video quality
Minus
Needs a tablet for easiest interface
Still only as good as what you plug it into

THE VERDICT
A no brainer if you seek audiophile performance from a media server without a lot of homework and trial and error. Customer support is exceptional and takes the IT guesswork out of the equation.

We have recently come to an enormous crossroad in entertainment. Physical media as a whole is withering on the vine and everything is moving to either streaming playback or file downloads. While I’m all about the convenience that this offers I hate the idea (and reality) of the compromise this situation can create in the quality of the content. We’ve already seen the music industry destroy the quality of music recordings to appease the iPod generation, and regardless of the convenience provided by Netflix and a host of other video streaming services, they cannot match the quality of Blu-ray video playback. So what do you do if you want to enjoy instantaneous access to your media but don’t want to compromise the quality of the material? Baetis Audio may have a few answers for you.
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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 12, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Ever since I heard that 4K could become a mainstream reality, I’ve held off on making Blu-ray purchases thinking that a new, better format is just around the corner. I’ve also read that certain TV shows going forward will be shot in 4K, which makes me wonder about the long-term fate of content that wasn’t recorded at that resolution.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jun 11, 2014 0 comments
Here's how to find any movie or TV show to stream to your TV. Global search and search websites search across multiple apps to save time and make it easy to go straight to the movie you've been wanting to see.
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Mike Mettler Posted: Jun 11, 2014 0 comments
Photo by Maureen Clark

There are blues legends and there are blues masters, and then there’s John Mayall. Long acknowledged as the father of the British blues scene that emerged in the heyday of the ’60s and the man who helped school the guitarslinging likes of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Coco Montoya, and Buddy Whittington, the 80-year-old Mayall shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. “You have no other choice, really,” he says matter-of-factly. “You set your feet on your path, and that’s what you stick with. It’s the only thing that you know to do.” His latest album, A Special Life (Forty Below), carries on the rich blues tradition, thanks in no small part to Mayall’s rapport with his band, led by a Texas-born guitar ace (Rocky Athas) and anchored by a Chicago-bred rhythm section (bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport). “Never plan to fade away,” Mayall sings in the title track. Dear John: We’re going to hold you to that.

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