EDITOR'S EYE

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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 06, 2013 4 comments
It’s not unreasonable that any regular reader of Home Theater may lust, if only in his heart, for a two-piece projection system that genuinely matches, if only at a smaller scale, the experience we have in our local multiplex.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 21, 2012 4 comments
As the holiday seasons kicks off, a report from dealnews.com suggests that Black Friday will see some insane TV deals—like 55-inch 1080p HDTVs going for $499.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 01, 2013 4 comments
The accompanying OLED stories mark our first up-close look at a display technology that goes by an acronym best pronounced as “Oh-lead,” and one that stands for the future of television. That’s a bold statement, and the time line should perhaps be qualified as “near-future” inasmuch as anything can happen in the developing world of display technology, and taken in its entirety, the future is known to be a very, very long time. But I dare say we’ve waited a long time to this point just to see OLED’s promise, and having now witnessed it firsthand, I’m having a hard time guessing what could better it short of a holographic display with equal image quality or something that does just what OLED does for a whole lot cheaper.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 29, 2013 0 comments
I recently enjoyed an early press tour of Panasonic’s soon-to-open Innovation Center in Newark, NJ, an open-windowed retail-like space off the lobby of the company’s new headquarters building. I’m not usually much for these types of dog-and-pony shows, and little of what the company shared that day was directly related to the consumer electronics audio/video segment that’s of prime interest to our readers. But I’ve covered the firm’s CE technology for decades now, and this move from their old Secaucus, NJ campus...
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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 24, 2013 3 comments
Hold your index finger up to the air for a moment. Can you feel that? It’s the fresh breeze of good sound wafting ever so gently across the horizon.

After years of living in a desert of low-res MP3s, crappy white ear buds, wafer-thin flat-panel TV speakers pointed away from the listener (come on!), and increasingly anemic AVRs, there is a revolution afoot.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 12, 2013 0 comments
At any given moment, we’re usually working on six to eight test reports among various staffers. Of those, perhaps two or three products might be the “latest and greatest” while the rest falls more into the bread-and-butter category—another $600 or $1,000 receiver, maybe another bookshelf speaker system. As I looked over our recent slate of reviews, I was indeed struck by how conventional the mix appears to be. And yet, as I dug a bit deeper, I came to see how well it represents technology trends that have come to define the audio/video space, circa 2013.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 15, 2012 9 comments
I made it a point this weekend to be among the first to view Peter Jackson’s latest epic, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure, in its native 48 frames-per-second frame rate. If you’ve not been keeping up with the news surrounding this movie, Jackson made the decision early on to shoot it digitally at twice the 24 fps rate used for the last 80 years or so. The 24 fps rate is closely associated with the look of film as we’ve come to know it. Increasing that rate can greatly reduce blurring and judder on fast motion and camera pans, allowing for extra detail that would otherwise be lost when shooting either film or video at 24 fps. Fast frame rates also improve the 3D experience, making viewing easier on the eyes and reducing the instance of crosstalk or “ghosting” artifacts. But it imparts a sheen that most of us would more closely associate with native video rather than film. If you’ve looked at film-based content on any LCD television that has its 120 Hz or 240 Hz motion enhancement features turned on, you know what I’m talking about. Such circuits cause content originally shot at 24 fps to look like video — the so-called “soap opera” effect. Some folks like the look and some don’t. Whichever side you fall on, there’s no arguing that the look these circuits impart to 24 fps native content is an artifice—it’s clearly not what the director was watching when he composed the film or what he intended for your viewing.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 08, 2014 1 comments
Tom Nousaine Loved Audio, the Bass Most of All

As we went to press for the upcoming September print issue, word began circulating about the passing of Tom Nousaine, long-time former contributor to Sound & Vision, its predecessor Stereo Review, and several other home and car audio magazines. He was 69 years old.

Tom was a one-of-a-kind character, a business manager by day for Ameritech (one of the Baby Bells) prior to his retirement, and a tireless audio enthusiast and writer in the rest of his waking hours. He was a contrarian...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 12, 2011 0 comments

I took the invitation a while back to visit the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory in Los Angeles, where the company introduced its 3D Innovation Center to members of the press. PHL is a research and mastering center where Panasonic works with filmmakers on new camera, editing, encoding and playback technologies.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 16, 2013 7 comments
For the last several years, our annual January pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show has been all about someone else’s toys. Handheld smartphones and tablets, wearable technology (now, what is that about?), fashion earphones, smart appliances, electric car-charging stations, streaming pocket-sized speakers, you name it. It’s been awfully quiet on the A/V front…until now.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 29, 2013 3 comments
At Home Theater, we’ve long been fans of set-up DVDs and Blu-ray discs that allow you to tune your television or projector for the optimum image. Now, just in time for the Super Bowl, THX has launched a mobile app designed to help sports fans and movie lovers do just that.

“THX tune-up” is an iOS app for iPad (2 and higher), iPad mini, iPhone (4 and higher), and iPod touch (Gen 4 and higher). To commemorate the Big Game and assist as many as possible of the 7.5 million people expected to purchase a new set just for the occasion, THX is offering the app as a free download from the iTunes store through Monday, February 4th. After that, it’ll cost $1.99. An Android version is expected to be released next spring.

Before your inner geek gets too worked up, neither the THX tune-up app nor any set-up disc...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 25, 2012 2 comments
With great gear, it's all about the "something special."

Reviewers at Home Theater have a near-impossible task. Their job is to communicate, with words on a page accompanied by a few photographs, an experience with an audio or video component that can only be rightly conveyed viscerally. That is to say, in real life we don’t just listen to or view components, we react to them: physically, emotionally, intuitively.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 12, 2013 0 comments
You may have heard that sales of soundbars are skyrocketing today. I’m excited about that. The best of the new premium soundbars sound pretty great, and with their unassuming presence, lack of speaker wires, and relatively simple installation, they stand to introduce legions of new ears to the joys of a high-quality home theater experience.
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Rob Sabin Posted: May 17, 2013 17 comments
Last weekend I attended the annual Flat-Panel HDTV Shootout held each year by Value Electronics, a small independent retailer in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale. This was the 9th year for the event, one that proprietor Robert Zohn started way back when as a marketing tool, but also out of obvious sheer love for the technology. In recent years it’s grown into quite the industry event. Zohn brings in arguably the most skilled and respected calibrators in the world to tune each of the sets to its absolute optimum image, a team which this year included Kevin Miller of ISFTV and Tweak TV, DeWayne “D-Nice” Davis of A/V Fidelity, and David Mackenzie of the U.K. website HDTVtest. The two-day affair was attended by a mix of industry types and press (including the renown Dr. Larry Weber, a brilliant and gregarious leprechaun of a man who many regard as the father of plasma TV), along with Value’s most passionate customers. For those who can’t be in attendance, it’s simulcast on the web and available for later viewing so videophiles everywhere can live vicariously through the attendees.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 24, 2014 2 comments
If This Is Hell, Count Me In

I got a good belly laugh as I was proofreading our Perfect Focus section for the November print issue. I’d just finished putting together our Letters section, in which I’d responded to a reader inquiry about Dolby Atmos with one of my usual geeky diatribes. Then I turned to Perfect Focus and saw...

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