EDITOR'S EYE

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 05, 2016 4 comments
Last September, Bowers & Wilkins officially introduced the bulk of its new 800 Series Diamond speaker line, but held back the crown jewel flagship model. Now, in the summer of B&W's 50th anniversary year, and with the backdrop of its recent acquisition by a well-funded Silicon Valley start-up, the company has introduced the 800 D3 tower, the total embodiment of three-and-a-half years of intense R&D leading to what is said to be it's most advanced and best speaker ever.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 26, 2014 0 comments
Why a Projector—in a Pitch-Black Room‐Is Still the Home Theater to Aspire To

I’ve gone on record, more than once, saying that you need not have a screen of a particular size, nor a minimum number of speakers, to have a home theater. Indeed, here’s a definition I developed a while back for an article in our sister publication, Geek...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 01, 2015 2 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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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 26, 2012 11 comments
Editor-in-chief Rob Sabin reminisces about a meeting with superstar amplifier designer Dan D’Agostino and lessons learned from a demonstration he'll never forget.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 04, 2013 1 comments
I love the walk down (short-term) memory lane that accompanies the preparation of our annual Top Picks of the Year feature. At the forefront of that is the great pride I take in revisiting all the hard work our reviewers and edit/art staff have put in throughout the prior 12 months.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 23, 2015 8 comments
UHD Blu-ray and HDR on the Horizon

As I reflect back on our annual pilgrimage to CES last month in LasVegas, the most exciting news for home theater buffs was around Ultra HD (UHD), both the launch of the first HDR (high dynamic range) UHD televisions and the announcement of details on forthcoming UHD Blu-ray Discs.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 30, 2016 1 comments
A scene from 1993’s virtual reality thriller Arcade

Working on our July/August print edition we had fun with some categories we don’t normally follow closely. Yours truly got curious enough about so-called pico projectors to call in a few for a test. Watch for our survey, which includes two remarkable projectors that actually slip into your breast pocket, and two “minibeamers” that resemble the big-boy home theater projectors we test year round, just shrunk way, way down.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 21, 2014 13 comments
This year’s CEDIA Expo in Denver could have been dubbed “Dolby Atmos Expo,” with no fewer than a dozen active demos at the show including Dolby’s own. It makes sense that CEDIA would be the Atmos coming-out party. As compelling as Atmos can be (check out Dan Kumin’s impressions of our first Atmos system), I’m of the mind that the customer shopping for a soundbar isn’t about to toss that idea in favor of a discrete component system just because he’s heard Atmos. On the other hand, custom integrators building media and theater rooms are in good position to bump what would have been a conventional 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel system to a 5.1.4- or 7.1.4-channel Atmos system. They, along with enthusiasts like you and me who map our own upgrade paths, will drive this market.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 05, 2013 0 comments
The annual CEDIA Expo, held this past September in Denver, was a great show. The mood was more upbeat than many of us remember from recent years’ Expos. Traffic was brisk for most of all three days, and the manufacturers we visited seemed excited that the worst of the recession had finally passed, and that the custom install biz—which is notably affected by housing activity—had a vibrance not seen for a long while.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 25, 2011 4 comments
Have you been throttled lately? If you have, Home Theater wants to hear about it.

Okay, I'll explain.

In this brave new world where streaming media from the likes of Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu have virtually eliminated video rental stores and threaten to carry away our beloved reference-qualty Blu-rays on a river of rushing bits, the notion of "internet access" takes on new meaning. The capacity of the data pipeline running into our homes affects both the quality and quantity of the video content we can download, not to mention our ability to upload, store, and share our personal media in the Cloud.

And on this front, I'm afraid all is not well in Streamville...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 10, 2013 0 comments
Thanks to a kind invitation from The Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing, I was lucky enough this week to get a backstage tour of the Staples Center in Los Angeles just as rehearsals for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were getting underway. This was Thursday afternoon around 2pm, a little more than three days before tonight’s broadcast of what’s become known as “Music’s Biggest Night.”

It was quite the scene over there and the energy level was already pretty high...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 16, 2013 16 comments
I had the unexpected and unexpectedly pleasant experience recently of viewing the 3D version of the theatrical blockbuster Gravity in what proved to be a perfectly competent RealD (i.e., not IMAX) presentation. I say unexpected because I’d actually recommended that our group that day skip the 3D entirely and just watch the (undoubtedly brighter) 2D version—such has my need for theatrical and at-home 3D dropped off the cliff. I only walked into the theater reservedly after a mishap in which the wrong tickets got purchased online in advance of our arrival.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 31, 2015 13 comments
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X may not be enough.

We are finally starting to see the new 2015 model year AV receivers trickle in, the first generation to more or less universally include HDMI 2.0 connections along with HDCP 2.2 copyright management.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 25, 2011 9 comments
In recent months we've received a number of letters at Home Theater complaining about our coverage of the new 3D video technology and of the Web-streaming capabilities appearing in everything from TVs to Blu-ray players to set-top boxes. Most of our video reviews now have a dedicated section describing 3D performance and a short discussion of what content is available on each product's streaming platform. Some readers who are skeptical or not interested in these new part-time features think we shouldn't be wasting their time by writing about them, while others have defended us and acknowledged our obligation to report on any significant new features and assess their performance.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 12, 2014 4 comments
It’s been said that the sound associated with watching video is “half” of the experience. But is it really? Or is it actually more than half? Or less?

Answering this question was the goal of a clever study recently commissioned by DTS, with an eye toward promoting its new DTS Headphone:X technology. For those unfamiliar, Headphone:X has been at the heart of one of the more impressive CES show demos for the last two years running.

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