LATEST ADDITIONS

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David Vaughn Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
As World War II is nearing an end in Europe, a Sherman tank is dispatched to a crucial crossroads in order to cut off a battalion of German soldiers trying to regroup with their comrades for one last push against the Allies. In command of the American force is a battle-hardened army sergeant nicknamed Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), who has promised his crew he’ll get them home alive, but when the taskforce is attacked on the way to the rally point, he has a difficult decision to make—press on and defend the position or go back for reinforcements?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
Jeff Bezos—movie mogul? Don’t be surprised if the next movie you see at the local cineplex was bankrolled by Amazon. Says Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios: “Our goal is to create close to 12 movies a year with production starting later this year.” Amazon’s Original Movies would be exhibited in theaters before moving on to Prime Instant Video. Of course, Amazon has already produced content for the small screen, including a couple of dozen pilots and eight series, most recently including Bosch, an L.A. crime drama based on the bestselling novels of Michael Connelly.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
Spotify adds video, original content, and an advanced running feature that ties music to a runner's pace.
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Rob Sabin Posted: May 21, 2015 8 comments
I received an e-mail recently from reader Francesco Tenti in Huntington, NY, politely complaining about the speed with which AV technology seems to be progressing...
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Bob Ankosko Posted: May 20, 2015 0 comments
Introducing the Ultra High Definition Alliance

When we first heard about the Ultra High Definition Alliance, an industry coalition that has set its sights on establishing new standards that raise the bar on video quality, we were eager to learn more, especially after perusing the “who’s who” list of member companies: DIRECTV, Dolby, LG, Netflix, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Technicolor, Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros. We caught up with Vince Pizzica, senior executive vice president of strategy at Technicolor, to find out what makes the UHD Alliance tick.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 19, 2015 8 comments
Hi-res audio is having problems. Not your garden-variety problems. These are the life threateningproblems. Where do I begin? Well, Neil Young used Kickstarter to raise $6 million to fund his Pono project and deliver it into the hands of music enthusiasts. Good for him. Good for music. Good for hi-res playback. Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 19, 2015 2 comments
A bit of an eclectic mix this time around with two topics, the first somewhat controversial, the second a useful (I hope) tip.

Elsewhere on this site, and in our June Q&A column, we recommended using the same amplifier power for the front, surround and height speakers in an Atmos setup. I don’t entirely agree, though my personal experience with Atmos is limited so far to trade demos and theatrical presentations. Most Atmos-ready AVRs will, of course, have matched power—that’s just the nature of the beasts. But if you have a pre-pro and, say, 200Wpc amps driving the front speakers, do you really need 200Wpc on the other six (for 5.1.4 Atmos) “full range” surround and height channels?

One consideration here is the sensitivity of the surround and height speakers...

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: May 18, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Smooth tonal balance
Euro design flair
Minus
High-ish head-clamping pressure

THE VERDICT
Focal’s latest-generation headphone strikes a keen balance of resolution and a sweet tonal balance.

Here we go again. That’s what I remember thinking when I heard that Focal, France’s largest speaker manufacturer, was going to start making headphones. After Beats by Dre opened the floodgates, a number of speaker and electronics companies that never made headphones started jumping into the market. We all know about Bower & Wilkins and Klipsch, but then there was KEF, NAD, Polk, PSB, RBH, and more—so when Focal joined the pack a few years ago, it wasn’t a shocker. Thing is, making great speakers is a completely different skill set than crafting headphones. After all, speakers “play” the room; headphones only have to make your ears happy. Apparently, that’s harder than it seems.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: May 18, 2015 0 comments
Proving once again that size does matter, a home theater setup based on floorstanding tower speakers—like the ones featured in our recent “Top 10 Tower Speakers: Under $3,000” list—was the hands-down favorite in last week’s poll.
Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 18, 2015 3 comments
Rdio isn’t new to the highly competitive streaming music market, but they just announced a new price structure that’s garnering some big interest in the music industry. Aiming for the cost-conscious consumer, Rdio has initiated a plan that’s just $3.99 per month, Rdio Select, for an ad-free experience with unlimited skips and 25 downloads. This makes it the cheapest commercial-free subscription streaming service. How does that compare to what they’ve offered before, and why should we care?

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