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AV GLOSSARY

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 12, 2007 0 comments
An important feature of HDMI is its ability to carry both video and audio. If it passes this information in bitstream form, the receiver or pre-pro, rather than the player, decodes the various versions of Dolby Digital and DTS.
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Joshua Zyber Posted: May 19, 2008 0 comments
To bitstream or not to bitstream?

For all the dramatic improvements they’ve given us in the picture and sound quality of movie playback in our homes, sometimes it feels like the new high-definition disc formats—both Blu-ray and HD DVD—also make our lives needlessly complicated in some respects. Case in point is the process of getting high-resolution surround sound audio from the disc player to an A/V receiver or processor. Let’s be frank here and admit that, in this regard, things were a lot simpler with standard DVD, where there was far less confusion about the different audio formats and hardware hookup requirements.

Chris Lewis Posted: Jan 03, 2002 Published: Jan 04, 2002 0 comments
The basics of bass management.

Bass: It is undoubtedly the most misunderstood aspect of a home theater system's performance and, in some ways, the least appreciated—especially among the higher-end ranks. Bass' bad rap (no pun intended) derives from a number of sources, but its fundamental undoing is its poor implementation in the vast majority of audio systems—from the genius who cruises around with 10 $50 monotone subwoofers in the trunk of his car to the home theater owner who hasn't put forth the considerable time and effort it takes to properly calibrate low-frequency output. Poor-quality subs, of which there is no shortage, are as much to blame in this situation as user error. The bottom line is that quality bass performance is critical to any audio, music, or home theater system, and its journey begins long before the signals ever reach our speakers.

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Mike Wood Posted: Jul 02, 2001 Published: Jul 03, 2001 0 comments
Feeding the Beast and Chasing Its Gremlins : A basic guide for harnessing AC power.

There's absolutely nothing worse than putting together an awesome home theater system that's starved for power or buzzing with ground loops. We often take electricity for granted, assuming it will be there when we need it. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. You don't necessarily need an electrician just to connect your audio and video system, but you may need to check out your electrical system before you spend hours, if not days, connecting all your components. The two things you should consider are whether your system is getting enough power and if your components are connected to that power system correctly.

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Peter Putman Posted: Mar 27, 2005 0 comments
Flat-screen imaging technologies like LCD and DLP are slowly toppling the cathode-ray tube (CRT) from its pedestal. How much do you really understand about these new ways of watching TV?
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 26, 2008 Published: Jan 26, 2008 0 comments
The greatest thing to happen to LCD, ever.

The coolest demo I saw at CEDIA 2007 was a demo I saw at CEDIA 2006. The original demo was at the Planar suite. Dolby now owns the company that was working with Planar, BrightSide Technologies, and the technology shown in these demos has a name—Dolby Vision. The short version is this: Using LEDs, you can dim specific areas of the backlight to go along with what is happening with the video. In other words, you can dim certain areas of the screen, while keeping other areas bright. In the simplest form, picture a split screen with black on one side and white on the other. Local dimming would allow the LEDs on the black side to be off and the LEDs on the white side to be lit. The result is a fantastic, legitimate contrast ratio, along with possible energy savings and a host of other potential benefits. But first, we have to understand the problem before we can talk about this solution.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 13, 2007 Published: Jul 13, 2007 0 comments
The bad, the ugly, and the 120 hertz.

I have long been a complainer about motion blur with LCDs. It drives me crazy. I have gotten a lot of flack over the years for this, which I really couldn't care less about. (You don't see me making fun of your issues, do you?) I would just like to point this out: Why, if I weren't the only one who hated motion blur with LCDs, would nearly every LCD manufacturer come to market with 120-hertz LCD panels that claim to eliminate motion blur (a problem that they, surprisingly, haven't mentioned before)? Before I rub it in and say, "I told you so," let's look at what causes motion blur, why it may or may not be a big deal, and how a 120-Hz refresh rate can help solve the problem for LCDs.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 28, 2005 Published: Sep 28, 2005 0 comments
How a new codec may change DTV as we know it.

MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) is a next-generation video codec (coder/decoder) that's about to change the face of digital television—slimming it down, enabling it to move into narrower channels, and probably changing how it looks. I can almost see your eyes glazing over: Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do.

Mike Wood Posted: May 02, 2001 Published: May 03, 2001 0 comments
The truth behind progressive-scan DVD players.

Conspiracy theories are like computer problems—almost everyone has one. From JFK's assassination to the demise of TWA flight 800, it's rare that everyone will accept the simplest explanation as the truth. Consumer electronics has its fair share of conspiracy theories, as well. They may not be as complex as a Louisiana district attorney's triangulated-bullet-trajectory theory, but they exist, nonetheless. What do you expect to happen when a large number of obsessive-compulsive personalities have too much free time and join a chat room?

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Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 04, 2007 2 comments
You've installed your speakers, but your room still doesn't sound right. In this installment, we show you how to tweak your room's sound with acoustics.
HT Staff Posted: May 25, 2007 0 comments
Introduction
Shopping for an AVR you're going to be confronted with sheer tonnage of surround sound decoding options. You don't really have to pick and choose among them since they're all included, but we thought that you might want to know what you're buying in all those little logos that appear on your AVR's front panel, and also get a basic primer on surround sound in general.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 11, 2006 0 comments
Dolby and DTS help renovate high-def DVD digs.

Have you ever heard wine lovers obsess about the bottle? Of course not. True oenophiles care most about what's in the bottle. There, in a nutshell, you have what's most peculiar about the high-definition-DVD format race. All we hear about is the vessel. What about the contents?

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J. Gordon Holt Posted: May 30, 2005 0 comments
This quiz covers all areas of home theater, from audio through film production to video. Only one answer out of every three (a, b, or c) is correct; circle the letter of your choice.
Michael Fremer Posted: May 08, 2005 0 comments
In our ongoing run-up to our 10th anniversary in early 2005, Michael Fremer looks at his experiences working on the soundtrack to the groundbreaking movie Tron. This article was first published in our Fall 1997 issue. We've made a few edits to account for changes since then (particularly in the references to laserdiscs!), but MF's description of the creation of an early-1980s soundtrack is as fascinating, interesting, and pertinent as ever. Modern digital techniques have revolutionized the film-sound business, but a good soundtrack is still a good soundtrack.
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Chris Lewis Posted: May 09, 2002 Published: May 10, 2002 0 comments
Our first look at Ultra 2 and the first certified system from Snell and Pioneer.

It may be time to start asking the question that's asked of all pastimes with hobbyist roots when their popularity surges: Is home theater a permanent cultural phenomenon or just another fad destined to burn out before its time? Recent evidence certainly shades the former. DVD-Video has been the catalyst for an unprecedented boom in the popularity of home theater and should probably be credited with completing home theater's undeniable transition from novelty act to mainstream entertainment that began with Dolby Surround and the first inexpensive multichannel speaker system. But is home theater a cultural phenomenon the way that the computer is a cultural phenomenon? Do a majority of Americans actively seek to make it a part of their lives day in and day out? Not yet—but home theater's high-water mark is still to come.

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