EDITOR'S EYE

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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 18, 2013 17 comments
As a consumer electronics editor and reporter, I’ve never been a big fan of company profiles. We are frequently contacted by public relations reps who think their client has a good backstory worth telling consumers. But I usually prefer to let those company’s products speak for them in the Court of Test Reports, believing that hands-on feedback about the equipment is what readers really want, and that positive observations we might report in an article do a disservice if the gear fails to live up to it. Matters are complicated further when the company is one that advertises in our magazine or on our Website. Any upbeat comments naturally become suspect, and might cast doubt on a good product review arrived at independently and fairly. We never want to look like we’re in bed with any manufacturer, so why even go there?

Such was the case with Emotiva, a Web-based direct-sale audio company out of Nashville, TN that has carved a niche for itself delivering what’s best described as “affordable high-end.”

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 27, 2014 Published: Jun 28, 2014 13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 05, 2015 6 comments
Hint: It's One You Already Know...

In a recent Signals blog (“Saving Hi-Res Audio”) Ken Pohlmann spotlighted the near-rabid sniping in the audiophile community and the public at large about whether hi-res audio delivers real, discernible benefits. Ken suggested that if the music industry wants hi-res to succeed, they should drop the significant premium now attached to hi-res downloads and charge the same as for any other music file, then reap the benefit of people buying more music because they like engaging with high-quality content.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 01, 2016 5 comments
I’ve had almost a month to ponder CES 2016 and what strikes me most as I look back is how a show that was once strictly about audio/video has grown into an enormous and wild Mardi Gras of tech, encompassing everything from drones and hoverboards to smartphones and digital health wearables and much more.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 24, 2013 Published: Jul 25, 2013 31 comments
Readers who follow developments in audio/video electronics might have heard back in May that Home Theater's parent company, Source Interlink Media, acquired its chief competitor Sound & Vision. These were the two biggest print magazines serving the A/V enthusiast.

It was announced on Monday that, beginning with the October issue, Home Theater and Sound & Vision will be merged, and only one magazine will go forward under the Sound & Vision brand.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 03, 2011 8 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
A lot of consumer electronics editors and reviewers have a love-hate relationship with product ratings. The love side comes from knowing they make readers happy. Assuming the ratings structure is well thought out (that is, simple and easy to understand) and the ratings are applied with fairness and accuracy, they wrap the whole product up in a nice little ball and tell you, at a quick glance, whether it's a winner, loser, or in-betweener. Perhaps most important, a good rating, or a good rating coupled with a seal of approval like our Top Picks designation, is validation that the product is worthy of the money you plan to spend on it. Given the sea of black boxes, identically thin TVs, and similar speaker systems out there, we recognize that giving you this validation is really the essence of our job at Home Theater.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 29, 2016 7 comments
There aren’t too many to choose from, but bipole and dipole speakers are a special breed that I've long admired. Here's why.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 29, 2014 8 comments
Panasonic’s Departure from the Plasma Market is Heartbreaking, and Inevitable

There is both irony and tragedy in the fact that this year’s much-deserved prize for our Top Pick product for all of 2013 goes to TC-P65ZT60, whose short life and lineage will begin and end with the 2013 model year...

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 24, 2016 0 comments

ISF's Joel Silver presenting at the 12th annual Value Electronics TV Shootout.

For the third consecutive year, LG's OLED technology has found itself atop the heap at the annual TV shootout held by Scarsdale, NY-based retailer Value Electronics.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 03, 2014 1 comments
As a longtime observer of the audio/video scene, I can state with confidence that things have changed more in the last five years than they did in the prior 25. I say that with full acknowledgement of the breakthroughs I’ve been lucky enough to report on during my career, including the introductions of the VCR, camcorders, Laserdiscs, Compact Discs, DVDs, high-definition television and its HD disc formats, surround sound in its various incarnations, flat panels, digital music downloads, and others.
Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 09, 2015 6 comments
‘Tis that time of the year when all the big TV makers start shipping their new lines to retail, which means members of the press get to see them up close for what amounts to the second time, the first being January’s CES. No surprise that the star of the show at LG Electronic’s New York press conference this week was the 65EG9600, the company’s new 65-inch Ultra HD-resolution OLED.

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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: Oct 08, 2015 1 comments
Two close-together and closely aligned recent announcements about the flat-panel TV business really got me reflecting on how much that world has changed…and is changing again.

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