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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: Jan 30, 2015 0 comments
And Some Personal Faves…

We’ve just posted our annual Top Picks of the Year list of the best products from among all those we tested in 2014, culled from all the Top Picks named throughout the year in consultation with our staff of reviewers. Even from among this list, though, there are a few that really stand out for me, not just because of their performance but because of what I think they represent in the evolution of our hobby and the AV marketplace. Here are some of my personal highlights...

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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 21, 2015 8 comments
I received an e-mail recently from reader Francesco Tenti in Huntington, NY, politely complaining about the speed with which AV technology seems to be progressing...
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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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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 18, 2013 5 comments
Welcome to SoundandVision.com! If you’ve been a regular visitor to HomeTheater.com, you may be surprised to find yourself here, but rest assured you’re in the right place. As a byproduct of the recent merger of Home Theater and Sound & Vision magazines, this new enhanced Website combines the deep archives and expertise of both publications and their former sites HomeTheater.com and SoundandVisionmag.com. Along with a new, shorter URL, former readers of both sites will enjoy simplified, faster navigation thanks to direct-access drop-down menus for Reviews and Top Picks by category.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 29, 2015 3 comments
We’ve recently spent time covering two very different audio/video technologies. One is long-established but in some ways breaking new ground. The other—well, I suppose that’s also long-established and breaking new ground, though with a fresh spin.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 14, 2011 3 comments
Take a deep breath and inhale that acrid air, my friends. No, it's not the wildfires burning out west this season, but the stench of fuming Netflix customers as they cancel their subscriptions in droves following the announcement Tuesday of a startling 60% rate hike for the company's popular streaming/DVD combo plan.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 03, 2011 2 comments
I’ve given a lot of thought lately to our Top Picks list and what it should take for a product to achieve Top Picks status. This is no small matter. Most of us on the edit staff have counted on magazines just like this one to help direct our purchases, so we take the responsibility seriously. Home Theater’s list of best products needs to reflect the highest standards we can apply—and to be presented in a fashion that’s intuitive and useful.


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