Is Your Car System a Royalty Scofflaw?

If you rip CDs to your hard-drive-based car media system, does that violate the rights of artists? The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies says yes, claiming that your system qualifies as a digital audio recording device, and therefore that manufacturers should pay royalties to the music labels. The group filed suit in the D.C. federal district court, alleging violation of the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).
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After Aereo, Is the Cloud Doomed?

The judicial murder of Aereo—just in case you had any doubt about where our sympathies lie—leaves a cloud over cloud computing...
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The Normal Heart

This powerful and moving story (screenplay by Larry Kramer, based on his own play), starts in 1981 with shy screenwriter Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) only able to watch the summer bacchanal at Fire Island, New York—gay-male heaven—too unconfident to join in the revelries. It ends with a gay prom at Yale in 1984 where he’s found his confidence but is now too sad to dance. In between, what starts with the first warning cough from a buff-bodied, seemingly healthy man announcing the arrival of AIDS in the community leads to the spreading of a plague that fills the newly liberated gay men with fear. The mysterious disease is a complete unknown, with no one able to say how it spreads, how to treat it, or how to protect yourself beyond completely abstaining from sex.
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Custom Installation: An Option Worth Considering

Somewhere in the dim past I wrote a blog on whether or not you might want to work with a custom installer in designing and building setting up your home theater or media room. In a random search through my computer files (as messy as any physical file system on the planet!) on a different subject I came across it again. It appears to have been written for one of the newsletter in the now defunct Stereophile Guide to Home Theater/Ultimate AV. In the hope that it might be as pertinent now as it was then (given a significant update), here it is again...
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Poll Results: Ultra HD Tops Holiday Gift List

TV—specifically 4K/Ultra HD and OLED—top the holiday shopping lists of Sound & Vision readers who responded to last week’s poll question: “What’s Your Top AV Gift Pick for 2014?” Ultra HD netted 22 percent of the votes, followed by OLED TV (15 percent), AV receiver (14 percent), and headphones (9 percent). Regular old HDTV was a distant second to OLED, gaining only 4 percent of the votes, proving once again that the S&V crowd is all about the latest and greatest technology. Here are the full results:
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How Can I Salvage an Unfinalized DVD?

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Q I transferred video from a VHS tape to a DVR/DVD recorder a few years ago but did not finalize the disc and now no longer have the machine. My current DVD player, a Magnavox, won’t even recognize the disc, and my computer won’t either. Is there any way now that I can finalize that disc? —Joe Simone / via e-mail

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Jabra Sport Pulse Earphones: Beat of a Different Drum

Jabra has introduced a wireless Bluetooth headset designed to take workouts to a whole new level of efficiency. They’ve introduced the Jabra Sport Pulse, the world’s first Bluetooth earbuds with a built-in heart-rate monitor. Crazy? I think not. Anyone who’s at all interested in fitness knows that the most effective way to monitor your workout is to track your heart rate. Check out the Orange Theory craze if you don’t believe me, or just look at the treadmills and elliptical machines at most gyms. Heart rate monitoring is an essential part of a safe, effective workout, and Jabra has nailed it. The heart rate monitor is built right into the left earpiece of the Sport Pulse, so finally, you can toss that unsightly, sweaty, uncomfortable heart rate strap.

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Fractured Space Preview

Once upon a time, space sims were huge. Freespace, X-Wing (and it’s offshoots), Wing Commander, and others dominated store shelves and playtime, the genre has shrunk to a tiny fraction of what it was. While there are some popular titles (Star Citizen being notable), there aren’t that many options.

Fewer still are the options for real-time combat with large ships. Independence War is largely forgotten, but most space combat sims these days focus either on fighter-sized craft, or the slow tactical-style combat of Eve.

Fractured Space is sort of a 3rd person shooter, but with huge capital ships. It’s currently on Steam Early Access, so I had a look.

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Yes, the High-Res Difference Is Audible

Would you like to feed your audio system with signals equivalent to what the artist, producer, and mixing engineer heard in the studio? For most people, this is a no-brainer. Why would you not want to hear what the pros heard? And on that basis, a new generation of music players, USB DACs, and other high-resolution audio products is now on the market, seeking open ears and open minds. You'd think this would be cause for celebration. But a small cadre of rigid ideologues are not celebrating. They're insisting that there is no audible difference between CD-quality audio and high-res audio. They bought Perfect Sound Forever, the ancient Compact Disc marketing slogan, hook, line and sinker. Infinitely condescending, the Perfect Sound Foreverists claim to have science on their side and dismiss any other point of view. But the latest science flatly contradicts their long-held dogma.

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How Important Is a TV’s Video Processing?

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Q How important is a TV’s video processing? Sound & Vision’s recent review of the Vizio P65ui-B2 UHDTV gave it a poor rating for that category. My Oppo Blu-ray player has excellent video processing. Can a disc player’s video processing overcome a TV’s shortcomings in that area? —David Hall

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