Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Nov 19, 2014 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Some of my friends argue that spending extra money on Blu-ray Discs is unreasonable since DVDs offer almost equal picture quality for less money. Worldwide, DVDs sell much better than Blu-rays, which many people still consider to be a format for videophiles. Do you think it’s possible that DVDs will ever disappear from the market? —Tomek Ciecwierz, Warsaw, Poland

Filed under
Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 18, 2014 4 comments
You remember Gravity, right? Outer space, pulverized space ships, Sandra Bullock floating weightlessly, heavy breathing—pretty good film from both a technical and narrative standpoint. You might already have a copy on Blu-ray. But I'd like to give you two reasons to consider buying it again. A new "Diamond Luxe Edition" Blu-ray due in February promises to be very interesting for both film aficionados and home-theater enthusiasts. Doubly interesting if you are both.

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Nov 17, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I am building out a dedicated 7.2-channel home theater and was planning on buying dipolar surround speakers to help “spray” sound along the side and back walls. After reading a few articles on Dolby Atmos, however, it seems that direct-radiating speakers would be the more appropriate option since they can better pinpoint objects in the room. Am I correct in thinking that direct-radiating speakers would serve better in an Atmos environment, or do I have things totally wrong? —Adam Tremai / via e-mail

Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 14, 2014 3 comments

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, I bought one of the Development Kits for the Oculus Rift VR headset. It was a bit of a hassle to get running (and still is), but when you do… damn.

One of the standout games that currently works (more or less) with the Rift, is the new Alien Isolation, a sort of survival/horror/action game set in the Alien universe.

My advice to anyone trying this combo: wear diapers.

Here’s why.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 14, 2014 4 comments

Studio 2 Speaker System
Build Quality
Studio SUB 250P Subwoofer
Build Quality
PRICE $1,630

Efficient, high output
Vocal clarity and defined soundfield
Affordable price
Thin, accentuated top end
Best at low-to-moderate volumes

Although their bright voicing may not be for everyone, the JBL Studio 2 speakers combine high efficiency with excellent detail retrieval.

What if the solution to room-interaction problems resided in your loudspeakers? Wouldn’t that be a great alternative to the ills of receiver-based room correction systems? Those are some potentially interesting questions posed by JBL’s Studio 2 series.

For starters, who needs room correction anyway? Well, when it’s hard to catch the dialogue, and imaging smears all over the place, the room correction program in your A/V receiver can mitigate those problems (depending on the receiver and the room). But quite often, it also introduces new artifacts and errors. For my own part, in my own room, I find that many room correction systems thin out the overall tonal balance and induce fatigue. That’s why some audiophiles shun room correction and choose to live with the acoustic character of their room, for better or worse—usually both.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 14, 2014 Published: Nov 12, 2014 8 comments
Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Samsung and LG will end production of plasma TVs at the end of November signaling the death knell for a TV technology that has been the darling of video enthusiasts for more than a decade. Though plasma’s black-level performance has made it a perennial critic’s favorite, sales have dwindled in recent years.

Filed under
SV Staff Posted: Nov 13, 2014 205 comments
Register to win a pair of Vanatoo Transparent One Speakers (MSRP $499.00) we are giving away.

According to the company:

"The Vanatoo Transparent One powered speakers set a new price/performance benchmark in the audiophile world. They produce unexpectedly great sound quality (honest, tight bass down to 48Hz!) from small bookshelf speakers that give you a lot of flexibility in how you use them. They are equally at home as a desktop audio system, a music streaming solution for a room where you want music but not stacks of equipment, or as a compact system you take with you on your weekend getaways."

[This Sweepstakes is now closed.]

Filed under
Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 13, 2014 2 comments
Just what the world needs—another Bluetooth speaker. Must be a couple thousand of them on the market by now, and from what we can tell, a good many of ’em pretty much, well, suck. But a few things about the Core caught our eye. For starters, it costs $599—pret-ty darn steep in a market dominated by sub-$100 “wireless wonders”—and it’s designed by Mass Fidelity, a Canadian startup that impressed us with its Relay Bluetooth receiver (Sound & Vision, February/March 2014).
Filed under
Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 13, 2014 0 comments
Thawed in the modern day at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger and revealed to the world to be as brave as ever in The Avengers, World War II hero Cap (Chris Evans) is now working for S.H.I.E.L.D., the super-secret, super-powerful organization of good guys. But his Greatest Generation standards of right and wrong are often a square peg in the round hole of our post-9/11 world. Case in point, the launch of a new ultimate weapon calls into question the meaning of freedom, security, and whether one must be sacrificed to preserve the other.
Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Nov 13, 2014 8 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Back in the days of VHS, movies were formatted to fit 4:3 aspect ratio TV screens. Why can't widescreen movies on Blu-ray be formatted to fit today’s 16:9 TV screens? I don't like to use my player’s zoom function to remove black letterbox bars; it degrades the picture.—Alfred Escoto


Share | |

Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
setting var node_statistics_87948