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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 08, 2016 0 comments
Definitive Technology and Polk Audio demonstrated for the first time the capability of its soundbars pairing with smaller, wireless speakers to form a true 5.1-channel wireless surround system. While company representatives would not confirm the technology being used, one could infer that since all of the speakers involved were from the PlayFi wireless ecosystem, and since one of the recent PlayFi updates enabled the possibility of adding surround speakers, that PlayFi was the underlying wireless technology at play.
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John Sciacca Posted: Feb 17, 2016 4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $899

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ultra-thin form factor
Triple-threat with movies, music, and wholehouse audio
Great sound
Minus
Awkward handling of network media

THE VERDICT
The W Studio Micro’s strong performance and tons of streaming music features make it an easy recommendation.

The soundbar is one of the fastest-growing market segments in recent years, and that’s no surprise. As consumer demand grows for ultra-thin TVs with virtually zero bezel, display manufacturers are in the quandary of where to put the built-in speakers. The answer for most has been placing shallow speakers behind the screen, firing away from listeners. Obviously, these sonic compromises make it increasingly difficult to understand dialogue— let alone actually enjoy the wider dynamics of movies or music— and the simple solution is adding a soundbar.

John Sciacca Posted: Mar 13, 2015 1 comments

W Studio Soundbar System
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W9 Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W7 Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
W Amp Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,295 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stellar audio quality
Sleek-looking components

Minus
Android app is pretty basic
iOS app very limited
Doesn’t currently support true high-res listening

THE VERDICT
The speakers sound amazing and the W Studio soundbar is a home run even without its multiroom capabilities, but the limited Play-Fi app for streaming leaves Def Tech’s W system lagging behind the best multiroom systems.

For a while, audio manufacturers seemed resigned to give it the ol’ “lie back and think of England” routine when it came to accepting Sonos as the dominant force in the wireless audio world. Sure, they might not have liked it, but they weren’t offering any compelling alternatives of their own. And while there had been some challengers in the past, most fell well short of the Sonos benchmark and quickly faded.

This tide has changed lately, however, and the war for wireless audio is heating up. Multiple systems are now offering their spin on wireless music distribution and hoping to take a bite out of the Wi-Fi audio pie. And unlike past attempts, several of these new solutions are not only good, they’re great. Darryl Wilkinson recently reviewed two top rivals for Sonos’ throne, Bluesound (S&V, June 2014) and Denon’s HEOS (S&V, January 2015). Now, well-regarded speaker manufacturer Definitive Technology is throwing its hat into the ring by embracing Play-Fi in its new Wireless Collection.

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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 15, 2015 0 comments
DISH continues to expand the Hopper ecosystem with its new 4K Joey, expected to arrive by November. The new player features an ultra-slim form-factor that can slip behind a wall-mounted flat panel TV and will cost DISH subscribers only $50 to upgrade and carry the same monthly fee as current Joeys, so there is no reason for DISH subscribers not to grab one!

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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 06, 2014 0 comments
Dish President and CEO, Joe Clayton, kicked off the company’s press event by welcoming the crowds to “part three of DISH’s transformation.”

Building on the success of its Hopper and Joey multi-room DVR system, DISH announced several significant upgrades to the system today. Where the previous Hopper system was capable of recording three programs at once – or up to six when using the PrimeTime Anytime feature – the new SuperJoey will record a breakthrough eight shows at once! (Any four shows plus the four major broadcast networks when using PrimeTime Anytime, or the five network tuners recording/watching any five shows from any network.)

John Sciacca Posted: Dec 25, 2012 0 comments

For those of us without six figures of disposable funds, there are still some ways to improve a home theater/media room that don’t involve organ donation or a potential divorce. Here are some simple, won’t-break-the-bank enhancements that you can do on your own.

John Sciacca Posted: Jul 21, 2015 2 comments
Custom Theater and Audio's Atmos-equipped demo room.

A lot has been written over the past few months about Dolby’s new home theater surround format, Atmos. Virtually every receiver manufacturer and many speaker companies have embraced Atmos-capable systems, both with in-ceiling and Atmos-enabled module speakers.

One of the perks of working at a custom installation firm with a showroom is having a playground to install and experience the latest technologies firsthand before installing them into someone’s home...

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John Sciacca Posted: Nov 05, 2014 1 comments
The biggest annual event on a custom installer’s calendar is the CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo, which took place September in Denver. This year’s Expo was brimming with new technology, namely the overwhelming rollout of Dolby Atmos, a new surround format that I discussed in my previous column, along with several other exciting introductions like a new laser-powered projector from Epson and several very cool new wireless music system such as Denon’s HEOS and DTS’s Play-Fi.
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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 14, 2008 0 comments
The Short Form
$2,000 (as tested) / ELANHOMESYSTEMS.COM / 859-269-7760
Snapsho
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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 15, 2015 0 comments
Kaleidescape, the company that literally invented the movie server category, is looking to remain on top with the launch of a new product line called Encore. This new line-up of movie players and servers will target aggressive price points designed to attract new customers as well as feature cutting-edge, industry leading performance in the new Strato Movie Player; the world’s first 4K Ultra HD, HDR player for the home to cement the company’s position at the top of the luxury home cinema market.

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