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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 04, 2015 12 comments
Anyone who follows my work will see references to multiple audio systems, including my reference system and my desktop system. But I actually use a good half-dozen audio systems—in a one-bedroom apartment. Why? I'm tempted to say because I can. But it would be closer to the truth to say I must.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 02, 2015 0 comments
ESPN is tired of being just another channel in someone else’s pay-TV system. Its parent company Disney is considering going direct to consumers with a video streaming service, as HBO is already doing with HBO Now. CEO Bob Iger raised the prospect in a CNBC interview, though he added the move is at least five years away, presumably because of existing contracts with pay-TV providers. Analysts said the service could get consumers to shell out between $21 and $28 a month.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 24, 2015 2 comments
The latest addition to Comcast’s X1 IP-video platform is an Auto Extend feature that adds 30-minute increments to DVR recordings so you won’t miss events that run past their scheduled air times. The option works only with certain sporting events—NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA men’s football and basketball, and NASCAR—but Comcast promises to expand that.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 23, 2015 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive bass without external sub
Smooth, unfussy top end
Suitable for TVs up to 100 pounds
Minus
Passive design requires use of an AV receiver

THE VERDICT
Atlantic Technology’s 3.1 HSB uses H-PAS bass technology to deliver real bass response along with enviable smoothness and dynamics.

Visualize, if you will, a home theater system with a flat-panel TV and 5.1-channel surround sound. For many readers, this is nirvana. For others, it’s too much stuff—a TV, three speakers in front, two surrounds, and a subwoofer. How do you reduce the intrusion into the room? Wall-mounting the TV is a no-brainer. Now imagine that the three front speakers have disappeared, along with that pesky sub. What’s left, you’re probably thinking, is some kind of typical soundbase or bar. It offers bass hardly worthy of the name, fake surround, and a fraction of the features of a receiver-based system. For this Atlantic Technology model, you got the first part right—the 3.1 HSB is a soundbase—but the rest is wrong.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 20, 2015 3 comments

Performance
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X on board
HDMI 2.0a with HDR video
Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction
Minus
Like other seven-channel AVRs, just two Atmos height channels
Remote volume keys undernourished

THE VERDICT
Triple wireless connectivity and excellent room correction may lure more listeners to this top-performing budget receiver than its limited 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X capabilities will.

The Denon AVR-X1200W is among a growing trickle of receivers that name-check DTS:X surround sound. By the time you read this, it might even be operational.

For every one of Dolby’s home surround standards, there has been a DTS equivalent. The competition began in the mid 1990s, when Dolby Digital and DTS first went head to head on laserdisc, with DVD following soon after. Dolby then added back-surround channels for Dolby Digital EX; DTS responded with DTS-ES. Dolby upgraded to lossless encoding with Dolby TrueHD; DTS shot back with DTS-HD Master Audio. Object-oriented surround—which uses metadata to map objects in a dome-shaped soundfield—is no different. In response to Dolby Atmos, which has just begun infiltrating surround receivers, DTS offers DTS:X. This is a transitional time, and you’ll find some models supporting Atmos without supporting DTS’s answer. Others are “DTS:X ready,” but not yet functional as they await the release of new firmware.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 19, 2015 1 comments
One-third of viewers casting around for something to watch still make live TV their first port of call, said a Hub Entertainment study. However, that’s down from 50 percent in 2013, and Netflix is making inroads among younger viewers. Millennials prefer live TV to Netflix by just 33 to 31 percent. And those 16 to 24 prefer Netflix over live TV by 40 to 26 percent.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 10, 2015 0 comments
Look out, Dolby Atmos. Another object-oriented surround sound system is coming to town.

The DTS:X system hit Carmike Cinemas-owned theaters in September with Lionsgate titles American Ultra and Sicario and in November with Mockingjay: Part 2. Carmike upgraded seven theaters in Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, California, and Alabama.

DTS:X and Atmos both enable soundtrack mixes to use metadata to steer objects around a three-dimensional soundfield. In addition to its theatrical debut, DTS:X is also following Atmos into home theaters with compatible A/V receivers and Blu-ray Disc releases.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 06, 2015 4 comments
It's been 30 years since I bought my first Compact Disc player and first CDs. With the CD format in a death spiral, the LP recovering nicely, high-resolution downloads on the rise, and streaming capturing a new generation of listeners, defending the CD at this moment in history may seem like pure contrarianism. That alone is reason enough to reevaluate the CD—even if it seemingly contradicts things I myself have written in the recent past. But let's make it clear that if I am about to find a few kind words to say about the dear old shiny disc, it doesn't mean I don't love my vinyl and FLACs any less. It's just that my music library has room for more than one format. I still buy CDs, but I collect LPs and high-res audio too.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 04, 2015 0 comments
Second-screen use is “creating a generation of kids for whom TV is punishment,” says Miner & Co. Studio.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 20, 2015 1 comments
Yes, you read that right—Sears. The iconic (and stodgy) retailer has opened a Connected Solutions store-within-a store in San Bruno, California.

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