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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 02, 2015 4 comments
Though released multiple times on disc, Cowboy Bebop gets a new release on Blu-ray, with a new transfer, mix and features.

This show is… something else. Easily in my top 5 TV shows of all time, it’s a magical blend of action, story, characters, setting, and music.

Oh the music. The music is why you should buy this.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 02, 2015 2 comments
PRICE $1,999

Bargain price for a 65-inch Ultra HD set
Good blacks and shadow detail
Impressive sound
Clips above white and below black
Odd gamma
Typical LCD off-axis performance
Wobbly stand

The JVC required considerable tweaking to get the best from it, but once dialed in, it looked excellent with 4K test patterns and 1080p Blu-ray material.

AmTRAN plans to raise the 4K Ultra HD bar by lowering the price. AmTRAN who, you may ask? Based in Taiwan, the company is a major maker of video displays, both consumer and professional, for a variety of brands, the biggest of which is Vizio. In 2010, AmTRAN licensed the JVC brand to put on its flat-screen HDTVs in North America, which are sold and marketed by its U.S. subsidiary AmTRAN Video Corporation. This is the first JVC flat panel we’ve tested since that company left the TV business a few years ago to focus its display business on LCOS projectors.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 02, 2015 1 comments
Why do tech critics and readers alike persist in saying "X is dead?" Do we have a morbid fascination with death, mirroring society at large? Or is it just that we never feel more powerful than when we are the arbiters of life and death, giving technology that is already moving along a certain trajectory a further push into oblivion? X, in this context, is a mature audio format or technology. (I won't address video or computer technology here. Death somehow seems more final in those categories.) A whole lot of Xes have been prematurely declared dead over the years. Maybe what "X is dead" really means is "X does not fit into my agenda."

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 01, 2015 0 comments
The Closer Is a Class Act

Last summer, Sound & Vision was invited to visit retired Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera to profile a renovation that had been done, with JBL’s help, to his private home theater. Baseball fans know Rivera as the Major League’s all-time leader in saves, and undoubtedly a future Hall of Famer. As a New Yorker, I knew him as a fixture in my city for the nearly two decades he played here, when, on any given day from April through September (and frequently, October), he might be the figure gracing the back-cover sports page of the New York Daily News or Post. The very nature of Rivera’s work as a closer—to be trotted out in the late innings to hold a slim lead or demoralize the competition and give his team a chance at the tying or walk-off run—made him an exciting figure.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Dec 31, 2014 3 comments
Looking back at 2014 we find more people streaming, 4K video and hi-res audio, TV networks getting in on the streaming action and a continued struggle to keep the internet free and fast.
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David Vaughn Posted: Dec 31, 2014 1 comments
After pulling off a blockbuster trade, general manager of the Cleveland Browns, Sonny Weaver, Jr. (Kevin Costner) now controls the number-one pick in the draft. The expectations of the fans are through the roof, and the ambitious owner of the team (Frank Langella) and new head coach (Denis Leary) are putting pressure on him to take the consensus first pick, but his gut is telling him to go in a completely different direction. Should he risk his job by following the instincts that got him to the top in the first place, or should he bow to the immense peer pressure?
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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 31, 2014 1 comments
Photography by William Psolka

With a little help from Harman, retired Yankee closer Mariano Rivera brought his aging home theater into the big leagues.

Mention the name of retired Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, and it evokes the image of a lean, lanky stick of a man in pinstripes, standing on the mound at the Stadium in the late inning of a big game, focused like a laser on his catcher before winding up and throwing yet another blinding, physics-defying cutter. This is the Rivera who, in 19 Major League seasons, played in 13 All-Star Games and was instrumental in helping the Yanks win five World Series, delivering both pinpoint strikes and wild thrills to millions of New Yorkers watching from the stands and at home.

Win or lose, when The Sandman was on the mound, it was always a great show.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 30, 2014 2 comments

PRICE $350

Color touchscreen with vibration and gesture support
Emits IR from remote, hub, or blasters
Integrates with multiple home automation hubs
Inconsistent performance with SmartThings Hub
No remote control locator feature
Limited external IR emitter outputs

The apply named Harmony Ultimate Home Control is the ultimate home and AV controller you can buy, program, and use without the help of a professional integrator.

It was January of 2013, and Logitech, in an effort to “refocus its strategic direction,” announced it would divest itself (by end of the year) of several non-core product categories—among them speaker docks, digital video security cameras, and, notably, its Harmony activity-based universal remote controls. Unfortunately, by that time, short of the fancy installer-only control systems from the likes of URC, Control4, and others, Harmony had pretty much eliminated the competition for remote controls selling for more than $50. So a dim, non-Harmonious future looked imminent for DIY home theater enthusiasts wanting more than the standard, three-in-one, el-cheapo universal hanging on a peg at Walgreens...

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 30, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I am in the market for a new home theater receiver and have a dilemma. My wife is hearing impaired and has trouble hearing the TV sound. We have tried a few infrared wireless headphone solutions and have been very disappointed by the poor sound quality. I am looking for a system that will allow me to hook up a separate set of headphones to run simultaneously with the TV sound. Is this possible? —John Bott / via e-mail

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 29, 2014 94 comments
Register to win a set of Bower’s and Wilkin’s C5 Series 2 in-ear Headphones (MSRP $179.99) we are giving away.

According to the company:

"C5 Series 2 in-ear headphones bring you amazingly natural acoustics and fit so snugly you’ll hardly be aware you’re wearing them. These headphones use a new 9.2mm dynamic driver, and have been optimized to deliver bass that’s powerful yet precisely controlled, resulting in a more natural, open and detailed sound."

[This Sweepstakes is now closed.]


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