SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 01, 2014 6 comments
As you probably know, the Supreme Court took a dim view of Aereo, and ruled that its activities were illegal because Aereo violated broadcasters’ copyrights. In response, Aereo pulled the plug. Literally. Within hours, it notified its subscribers that the jig was up, and that it was shutting down. Signals went dark, and remaining subscriptions will be refunded. R.I.P. Aereo. But wait a minute.....

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 17, 2014 2 comments
Seat 9D is an aisle seat. The front cover of the Safety Instructions in my seat-back pocket advises me that, "Final assembly of this aircraft was completed in Brazil." I wonder why that is relevant. Should that make me feel more secure, or less? Are Brazilians good, or perhaps lacking, when it comes to assembling airplanes? In any case, I look around me to find the nearest exit. Then I notice that almost everyone on board has a consumer electronics device in their hands.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 10, 2014 5 comments
It’s often said that generals fight the last war. If the previous war was fought in trenches, you train and equip your armies for that kind of conflict. Then the enemy drives its fast-moving tanks around the ends of your fortified line, and before you know it, is eating croissants in Paris. So you re-equip and retrain for massive tank battles in the hedgerows of Europe, and suddenly you’re wading knee-deep in rice paddies in Vietnam. It’s tough on us troops.

The same could be said of the record and movie industries...

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 02, 2014 2 comments
I am so very, very, very disappointed in you. You recycle. You installed solar panels on your roof. You put up a wind turbine. You voted for Al Gore. You phased out incandescents. You bring your own hemp bags to the grocery store. You compost. You ride a bicycle to work. You water your xeriscape with gray water. You have a Greenpeace bumper sticker on your Prius. And then you have to go and ruin it all. You play a DVD. You traitor. I hate you.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 20, 2014 1 comments
I am deeply disappointed that many of you are still viewing a 1080p display. I mean, seriously. Why don’t you just take two rocks and bang them together and consider yourself technologically advanced? Don’t you realize that you are missing all of the nuance in the picture? Frankly, with such a low resolution, can you even tell if the display is turned on or not? 1080p is a joke. I want you to take your phone and just drop it in the toilet right now. That’s right - we’re talking about phone displays.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 13, 2014 2 comments
Unabashedly, I admire the power of the individual to accomplish great things. Nothing fascinates me more than extraordinary individuals who start with an idea, build an enabling means (such as a corporation), and then use that resource to change the world. Consider individuals like Bill Gates (Microsoft ), Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and let’s not forget Thomas Edison (General Electric). These are men and women possessing genius (defined by Edison as 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration) who can profoundly rattle the status quo.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 06, 2014 4 comments
The decades-long transition from home loudspeakers to earbuds as the preferred listening technology is well documented. Now we have another data point to help us examine the question of whether the same downward spiral is happening to television screens. The short answer is: Yes. The long answer is: Yes, and quickly.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 22, 2014 2 comments
Editor’s Note: The following article appears in the May 2014 print edition of Sound & Vision.

How Was Your Day?

Friday afternoon, McCarran Airport. The International CES ends today. Some bitter-enders are still at the convention center, but for me, the show is over. With a mixture of relief and regret, I toss my press pass into a recycling bin. As I wait for my boarding call, I pull out some notes, trying to make sense of what just happened.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 15, 2014 0 comments
Beats Music is a new subscription music service that is an offshoot of the wildly popular hardware company (mainly headphones) founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Beats Music is a logical extension: if people love the headphones so much, maybe they’ll extend the affection upstream and into content selection. Recently launched (January 21), the early numbers for Beats Music are in....

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 01, 2014 6 comments
Frankly, I thought he was dead. You know—like one of those male Hollywood stars who’s gone through three too many facelifts and goes into seclusion. Then suddenly he reappears in Teen Beat magazine with a photo of him kitesurfing with his 18-year-old supermodel girlfriend who is naked and you say to yourself—"Whoa! I thought he was dead!" Anyway, last night, precisely at midnight, there was a knock on my door. I unwisely opened it, and there stood Professor Lirpa.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 18, 2014 0 comments
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything from new from Pono. When it was first unveiled, at least in concept, two years ago, Pono was a bit of a head-scratcher. Brainchild of rocker Neil Young, Pono was his response to the scourge of lo-fi music. Pono was a new music player and/or file format and/or music delivery system that would resurrect recorded music. Stay tuned. So, it was interesting to see Pono surface again at SXSW last week.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 11, 2014 0 comments
Ouch! Thank goodness for the Affordable Care Act, because now I’ve got a pre-existing condition called Bruised Ego. Man, oh, man&mdashdid I get a beat down. Even after all the stitches and bandages are removed, I’ll probably always walk a little wobbly.

I made the cardinal error of dismissing two high-rez audio formats. You can tell a man that his wife is hot, you can tell him his horse is ugly, you can even tell him his car is slow. But you should never, ever, tell him his audio format is obsolete...

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 04, 2014 3 comments
Apple has announced that it is bringing its iOS to a dashboard near you. The CarPlay system will link your iPhone 5S, 5C or 5 to the vehicle’s in-dash controls and display. Think of the phone as the brains of the operation, and the car as the touchscreen, and speakers. With CarPlay, you’ll be able to access the phone’s maps, traffic information, music, and messages. For music streaming, CarPlay will support iHeartRadio and Spotify. Also, as you might expect, Siri will be on board.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 18, 2014 2 comments
Is it just me, or is there something really weird about this video? I’ll invite you to watch it after the break, but meanwhile, at least IMHO, someone has gone off the rails here. Maybe it was a marketing big-wig at Sony’s HQ. Maybe it was just some regional manager. Or maybe the whole thing is a put-on, a spoof specifically designed to encourage suckers like me to recommend that you watch it. In any case, the video might go viral, but I’m pretty sure this marketing concept never will.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 11, 2014 3 comments
Video streaming company Aereo is fascinating from a technological standpoint. The legal questions it raises are equally intriguing. They will determine whether Aereo proceeds on its merry way or whether it will be shut down. There’s only one way to decide, and that’s to ask the Justices. Yep—another big AV case is heading to the Supreme Court.

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