SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 03, 2014 3 comments
Some people watch the Super Bowl to see some football. Some just want to see the commercials. I tune into the Super Bowl to hear the music. Unlike the game, this year didn’t disappoint. I was blown away by an opera singer selling nothing, and a folk singer selling his soul.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 21, 2014 3 comments
“My my, hey hey. Rock and roll is here to stay. It's better to burn out than to fade away. My my, hey hey. Out of the blue and into the black. They give you this, but you pay for that. And once you're gone, you can never come back. When you're out of the blue, and into the black. Hey hey, my my. Rock and roll can never die.”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 15, 2014 1 comments
Clearly, things that are apparent to our senses are real. For example, if I see or hear something, it’s real. But I see and hear things in my dreams, and they certainly are not real. What if the things in my waking life are just as illusionary? Hmm, perhaps we can only say that reality is what we believe it to be.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 31, 2013 10 comments
Attention all you early adopters: It may be time to pull the trigger on a 4K Ultra HD TV. If you act now, you can still hold the coveted title of First On Your Block. If you wait, you’ll have only yourself to blame. 2014 may be the break-out year for the new TV format.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 17, 2013 0 comments
Ah, once again, it’s that magical time of year. Malls jammed with shoppers looking for that elusively perfect gift, parking lots jammed with cars competing for that even more elusive parking space, and everyone’s favorite—the joyous strains of holiday music. When I say “strains,” I mean as in you straining not to go insane when you hear Little Drummer Boy for the umpteenth time.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 03, 2013 0 comments
David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is one of the most memorable songs of the late 60s. Its release on July 11, 1969 not coincidentally coincided with the Apollo 11 moon landing. The single reached #5 on the British charts and later in his career Bowie revisited the theme several times. This odd song about an astronaut drifting in space is simply iconic. Now, audiences are discovering a uniquely new version of Space Oddity.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 26, 2013 0 comments
Whether you support it or not, few of us are completely comfortable with the fact that the government can read our e-mails and listen to our phone calls. On the other hand, without much thought, most of us freely give away our privacy to various companies. Now, that privacy debate is coming into our home theaters.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 19, 2013 11 comments
For the last few months I’ve thought a lot about the health of the audio/video industry. I worried that the success of smartphones and tablets was irreparably overwhelming traditional consumer-electronics technologies like audio/video. I tried to convince myself that smartphone mania would taper off and the mass market will rediscover big stereos and big TVs. I desperately wanted to evangelize for the profound pleasure that a kick-ass home theater can bring. But lately I’ve changed my mind. I have a new message for everyone glued to their phone: drop dead.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 12, 2013 3 comments
Is our most fervent technology infatuation about to reverse course?

Without question, smartphones are awesome, and they have dramatically changed our everyday lives. We measure our self-worth by the number of bars we have. When our phones are fully charged, we are happy. When they are discharged, we are in full panic mode. Kids today probably can’t fathom how anyone functioned before the advent of smartphones. They ask, “Dude, how did people post pictures of themselves on Facebook while water skiing?”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 05, 2013 3 comments
The wildly popular Google Chromecast just got even better. It has added Pandora Radio and Hulu Plus to its list of supported content. And, the best may be yet to come.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 21, 2013 6 comments
Their future seemed so very bright. The SACD format, with a bit rate four times that of CD, was designed to lead the CD to new heights. DVD-Audio, sibling of the wildly successful DVD-Video format, offered audiophile fantasy surround at 96 kilohertz/24 bit. Hard on the heels of Avatar, 3DTV promised to change TV viewing forever.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 15, 2013 8 comments
A screen of infinite beauty, of most excellent fancy. He hath shone on me a thousand times. And now, how abhorred he is. Where be your hues now? Your wider viewing angle? Your deeper blacks? Your brightness that was wont to set the room on a roar? Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and let her paint a screen an inch thick. Make her look at that.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
Much to the dismay of audiophile old fogies, the audio scene has been overrun by punks and their celebrity endorsements. Everywhere you look (Dre, I’m looking at you) you see audio gear, headphones in particular, with a famous DJ or other artist name attached. Of course, even old fogies were young once, and now it’s another generation’s turn to discover how cool audio is.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 23, 2013 0 comments
So far, this has been a pretty good year for moviegoers. The Hollywood dream machine has cranked out a steady stream of big-budget movies with colossal production values. If you enjoy getting your eyeballs fried by flying fireballs or your ears rocked by rampaging robots, the multiplex has been very, very good to you. But how will these screen gems look from your Lay-Z-Boy? After our reviews of the theatrical releases, I asked colleague Leslie Shapiro (our Grace Notes blogger) to join me in eagerly anticipating their Blu-ray releases.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

I travel. A lot. Hotel rooms are not my home away from home — they are my home. As such, most of my TV viewing is done in hotel rooms. Thanks to the miracle of jet lag, I know the late-night schedule everywhere around the world. I’ve watched Wheel of Fortune in 53 different languages, and counting.

I’m also familiar with every brand of flat-panel TV. Samsung, LG, Vizio, Panasonic, Hitachi, Philips, Magnavox, Toshiba, JVC, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony: I’ve seen them all. And I know I’m in a faraway place when I’m staring at a Kogan or a Vestel. It doesn’t make any difference. They all have one thing in common: All of these TVs sound terrible.

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