Sharp has big plans in the works for HDTV and UHDTV. According to the company’s presentation at CES, they’ve placed more 60-inch-plus HDTVs in homes over the last 3 years than any other maker. And they plan to keep the emphasis on big going forward in their 2014 Ultra HDTV and HDTV models, along with a new product category that the company calls Quattron+ (more on that in a bit).
You hear plenty about Sony in the news these days. Reports usually cite the company’s latest staggering financial loss, followed by something on its most recent vow to get its house in order by cutting business interests it no longer deems profitable.
One biz that’s apparently dragging Sony down is LCD TV. In an effort to turn things around, the company recently sold its stake in a LCD panel manufacturing venture it owned jointly with Samsung. But even though Sony is no longer involved in manufacturing raw LCD panel components, it is still very much involved in selling TVs. The company also claims significant performance advantages over other LCD TV brands — and it isn’t afraid to demonstrate those advantages in a side-by-side shoot-out.
As new formats go, Blu-ray Disc got off to a shaky start. First, there were repeated production delays with Sony's PlayStation 3, an overhauled version of the company's popular game console that features a Blu-ray Disc drive for high-definition movie playback.
Q I went to Best Buy looking for a TV with the highest possible refresh rate. (I like to watch sports.)
The salesperson there explained to me that buying a 240Hz TV would be a waste of money since there are no broadcasts with that frame rate—TV networks, cable, and satellite providers all transmit either 60Hz or 120Hz signals. He also said that if a set receives a signal that doesn’t match from its native refresh rate (240 Hz, for example), it can’t convert it. Was the salesman right, or I should follow through with my initial plan to buy a 240Hz set? —Nelson Aleman
Q I am looking to replace the 65-inch Panasonic plasma TV in my man cave/theater room with a larger, high dynamic range-compatible Ultra HD model that would be used for watching sports and movies. I was considering a Samsung 85-inch LCD, but am also looking into a projector like the JVC DLA-X550R, a Sound & Vision top pick. When all is said and done, I believe that the cost would be the same: roughly $8-10,000. My room is 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, so I have plenty of wall space for the new screen. What display should I buy? —Chris Amaral
A Since your room is a man cave, I’d say get a projector. To me, man cave implies an utter absence of aesthetic or lifestyle considerations that might interfere with the quest to get the biggest, best picture possible. It also means stuff like dartboards and mirrors embossed with the Jack Daniel’s logo, but that’s not our concern here.
Q Most multichannel speaker configurations I see advertised have large L/R tower speakers combined with smaller center and surround speakers. It seems to me, however, that money invested in large (mostly full-range) L/R towers would be wasted if you care more about multichannel movie soundtracks than two-channel stereo music. Given the conventional wisdom that movie soundtracks rely heavily on the center channel for dialogue reproduction, shouldn’t you buy a higher-performing center speaker instead of big front towers? —Rick James Boettger / via e-mail
Q I have an Integra DHC-80.3 preamp/processor with Audyssey MultEQ XT32. Reading the manual, I learned that I should set the speaker crossover to 80 Hz because “Audyssey recommends that speakers are ALWAYS set to Small when there is a subwoofer in the system.” This apparently allows for proper bass management and more headroom in the receiver or amplifier.
So here are my questions. My speaker system is based around full-range B&W CM10 towers (powered by 250-watt mono amps) and includes a single subwoofer. Do I still need to choose an 80 Hz crossover point for my setup? Also, is there a point in upgrading to speakers with more powerful bass if I do cross them over at 80 Hz? —Bill Wong / via email