LATEST ADDITIONS

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SV Staff Posted: May 15, 2014 1 comments
Sony today announced that its second-generation 4K Ultra HD Media Player will be available for purchase in July for $699. Designed for downloading 4K titles from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service and streaming 4K content from Netflix to Sony TVs and only Sony TVs, the FMP-X10 player can be preordered between now and July 15 for $499.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 15, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $730

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Backlit local dimming for superior blacks
Good color
Remarkable value
Minus
Wobbly stand
Occasionally buzzy sound

THE VERDICT
It’s not without flaws, but the Vizio E550i-B2 offers more of what we like in a quality HDTV than we ever expected to see at such a low price.

You still can’t get a decent, major-brand 55-inch HDTV for under $500. You can, however, get one for under $800. The new 2014 E-Series may be Vizio’s budget line, but it’s not bare bones. It omits 3D (as do all of the company’s 2014 HDTVs, including the highest-end models), and there’s no picture-in-picture mode. But it offers the same bang for the buck that has, in the relatively few years since Vizio’s founding, rocketed the company to a U.S. market-share position that has left long-established HDTV makers gasping for breath trying to keep up.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 15, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
Bearing the lofty Jackass mantle, this feature film eschews the basic format of the erstwhile MTV series, which bombarded viewers with a string of standalone stunts and running jokes performed by a brave troupe with a high tolerance for pain. Instead, Bad Grandpa emulates the Borat model, crafting a basic plot and characters as a scripted backdrop for multiple outrageous set pieces that unfold before unsuspecting bystanders.
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Mike Mettler Posted: May 15, 2014 Published: May 14, 2014 2 comments
Photo by Ross Halfin

"The best way to listen to Led Zeppelin is off of the analog tapes, but unfortunately, I can’t invite you around to listen to them." That's Jimmy Page, answering my question about whether vinyl was still the best way to experience the mighty Zeppelin's music at the press conference that followed the Led Zeppelin Deluxe Editions Listening Event Page hosted at the Crosby Street Hotel Screening Room in New York on May 13. Page also confirmed that he's done "really, really high-resolution files for whatever system comes next" and that 96kHz/24-bit files will be accessible via download cards in each of the Deluxe Edition box sets of the first three Led Zeppelin studio albums being released by Atlantic/Swan Song on June 3. Event moderator Robin Hurley further confirmed that all of the Zeppelin studio tracks from those three album packages coming to HDtracks.com will be 96/24. (Live tracks will be at 48/24.)

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Al Griffin Posted: May 15, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’ve owned two high-end plasma HDTVs, but recently purchased a new LCD UHDTV (Samsung HU8550). Watching Blu-rays on the new set using an Oppo player and Onkyo NR929 AVR, I am seeing something disconcerting that I never noticed before with the plasmas: Whenever there’s a fade-to-black transition between movie scenes, the screen abruptly goes black for about 1-2 seconds in the middle of the transition/edit. Is this sort of thing typical for LED-backlit LCD TVs? It ruins the viewing experience for me. —Richard Rife via email

John Sciacca Posted: May 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-performance Wolfson Audio WM8671 DAC handles signals up to 192 kHz/24-bit
AccuBASS designed to restore depth to compressed audio sources
Automatic input switching

Minus
Runs hot
Lack of front-panel controls may be problematic for some installs

THE VERDICT
This terrific amplifier and DAC solution improves sonics in a small package.

The quest for audio simplicity has come far closer to becoming a reality with the introduction of music streamers from the likes of Sonos and Apple. Now just connect one of these devices to an audio system, and you’ve got an entire world of music literally at your fingertips. However, these components aren’t exactly revered for their terrific audio qualities, and many dress up the sonics by running them through an outboard DAC before connecting to a quality amplifier. But in space-challenged places like an office, kitchen, or bedroom, this can be easier said than done.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 14, 2014 0 comments
Hulu has announced that this summer they will offer streaming of full TV episodes to the mobile app without requiring a Hulu Plus subscription. The Hulu app now has remote casting capabilities that extend to more devices.
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Corey Gunnestad Posted: May 14, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
For dedicated, respected, and talented actors, it’s still and will always be about the work—and taking it wherever you can find it. A Single Shot is a well-made, low-budget indie film that touts a superlative cast featuring Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Ted Levine, and William H. Macy. With a pedigree like that, you’d think this film might have received a bigger push at the box office, but it was easily overlooked amidst the whirl of mainstream Hollywood entertainment.
Bob Ankosko Posted: May 14, 2014 3 comments
Spinning With Style
You don’t come across many companies that have been in business for 100 years. Founded in 1883 as a manufacturer of musical boxes and clocks, Thorens started building Edison-type cylinder phonographs in 1903 and has been making turntables ever since. Although the company branched out into audio electronics in the ’90s, it remains a steadfast bearer of fine turntables. Its latest specimen is the ultra-modern TD 209, which borrows design cues from its higher-end sibling, the TD 309.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 13, 2014 3 comments
Ultra HD has been around for a couple of years now, but prices have now dropped to the point that acquiring an Ultra HD set can be a serious consideration for folks in the market for a new TV, particularly early-adopters. TV makers hope that the next Big Thing in video will be Ultra HD, or as it is widely (and imprecisely) called, 4K. They also hope that Ultra HD has the legs that home 3D (now in its, “Hello, I must be going” phase) lacked.

Ultra HD can be much more than simply 4K resolution (more precisely, 3840 x 2160 in the consumer arena—4K in the pro world , including digital cinema projection, is 4096 x 2160). It also has the potential to offer a wider color gamut, an increased color bit depth, and less aggressive color subsampling. If that string of technobabble sounds intimidating, it simply means that in addition to more pixels, Ultra HD could provide a wider and richer color palette than does our current HD standard.

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