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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 02, 2014 0 comments
Americans love technology. So much so that four out of ten U.S. shoppers bought or planned to buy electronics goodies over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. How about you? Did you hunker down on the sofa and scour the Web for the craziest deals or brave the malls? Either way, take a moment to select your top AV gift pick for the 2014 holiday season. And if your perfect gift isn’t on our list, post a comment to enlighten us. Happy shopping!
What’s Your Top AV Gift Pick for 2014?
AV receiver
14% (119 votes)
Blu-ray box set
4% (34 votes)
4K/Ultra HDTV
22% (193 votes)
Game console
7% (62 votes)
HDTV (1080p LCD/LED)
4% (38 votes)
Headphones
9% (80 votes)
Home theater speaker system
7% (56 votes)
Music box set
1% (7 votes)
OLED TV
15% (130 votes)
Portable wireless/Bluetooth speaker
3% (24 votes)
Soundbar
2% (20 votes)
Streaming media player (Roku, etc.)
5% (43 votes)
Turntable
6% (53 votes)
Total votes: 859
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 01, 2014 0 comments
I don’t always watch my favorite movies and television series. But when I do, I prefer to watch them on Blu-ray. Thankfully, the studios have provided home theater enthusiasts—people who shop for them—with a bounty of exciting new sets, likely to elicit that elusive “Ooo…” as the ribbons and bows tumble to the floor. From film canons to entire classic TV series to the sort of inspired little tchotchkes that can be proudly displayed, these selections go beyond the ordinary, as gifts that will be enjoyed well beyond the holidays.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 29, 2014 0 comments
A few weeks ago I wrote about the experience of playing Alien: Isolation on the Oculus Rift. It is, without a doubt, incredible.

However, it is a bit of a hassle, and as awesome as the Rift is, it’s still pre-production and lacks the sort of seamlessness I hope to find in the final product.

So I switched over and started playing Alien on my regular gaming rig: A 102-inch screen and 5.1 surround system. So this is about the game. Because it’s worth talking about.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Nov 27, 2014 0 comments
A new crop of streaming video apps have been added to the Chromecast including streaming video apps for kids and games. Family game night will never be the same.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 26, 2014 Published: Nov 25, 2014 4 comments
Wondering if you should step up and buy a new TV this holiday season? Take our 30 second quiz...
Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 1 comments
If you live in a small apartment or a dorm, or you’re looking for a sound system for your office, small stereo bookshelf speakers are usually the way to go. They take up less space than traditional sound systems, are simple to set up, and generally offer better sound quality than the speakers attached to your computer, small TV, or portable device. But as we’ve all experienced, getting connected to analog speakers can be a drag. Running cables under carpets or through walls in a rental isn’t always a possibility, and nobody likes having wires pinned along the molding and ceiling. If these problems sound familiar to you, then a wireless stereo speaker may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Louder than smaller
portable speakers
Easy to set up
Good battery life
Minus
Lacks high-frequency detail
Lacks bass intensity

THE VERDICT
The Go is perfect for someone who wants better and louder sound than the average wireless portable, or who wants to amplify their music device and doesn’t want to commit to their speaker staying put in one room.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, AptX, NFC, ⅛” analog.

The Cambridge Audio Go is lightweight and small enough to carry with you (about 2.5 pounds) but big enough to fill a midsize room with sound. Equipped with two 0.75-inch titanium dome tweeters, two 2-inch woofers, and a rear bass radiator, it’s a step up from the tiny Bluetooth portables that most of us are familiar with. Perfect for kids’ bedrooms, dorm rooms, or other small spaces, the Go sounds better (and louder!) than the speakers on your laptop but is easy to cart to another room.

Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exceptional sound and bass response for the size
Easy to set up, NFC pairing a bonus
Unique design
Minus
Lacks detail of stationary speakers
While portable, still takes up a lot of bag space

THE VERDICT
The One would be my pick for portable/desktop crossover. It’s not tiny, but it’s definitely easy to take with you, and the sound is really fantastic when you take the footprint into account.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, NFC, ⅛” analog.

Another relatively compact portable option, the Infinity One weighs just under 3 pounds and costs $100 more than the Cambridge Audio Go. That $100 is well represented, however, in both added features and sonic quality. With four 1.77-inch drivers and two passive radiators, the One puts out an impressive amount of sound.

Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fantastic sound with pleasantly forward bass
Lots of bonus features (including optional cordless Qi device charging)
Sexy retro design
Optical input
Minus
Bass could be a bit much for those who love flat response

THE VERDICT
Perfect for folks with small apartments where space is tough to come by, the L8 is versatile, adaptive, and attractive enough to be front and center of a small audio setup.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, NFC, DLNA, Wi-Fi, Airplay, ⅛” analog, optical.

A true bookshelf speaker packed with extras, the JBL Authentics L8 is the largest model we’ll discuss here, measuring about 26 x 10 x 13 inches and weighing around 16 pounds. So whereas the Go and the One offer portability, the L8 is made to stay put. That said, if you can’t take the L8 with you, there are a lot of ways to bring your audio to the L8.

Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Light-up touch display
Included remote
Small footprint
Minus
Accentuated highs
Lackluster mids and bass

THE VERDICT
While the small footprint is fantastic, and the bonus features exceptional, the SRS-X9’s sound quality disappointed.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, AptX, NFC, USB, LAN, DLNA, AirPlay, ⅛” analog.

Economical in the use of space, the Sony SRS-X9 measures around 17 x 5 x 5 inches and weighs about 10.5 pounds. Sony really crammed a lot into the relatively small body of the X9, with four 0.75-inch tweeters (top and front), two 2-inch midrange drivers, a 3.75-inch woofer, and two passive radiators. The overall design is your standard black side-lying monolith, though in a cool surprise, the sleek, touch-sensitive controls on top are hidden when the unit is off and only appear by backlight upon power-up.

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