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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 04, 2017 Published: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Samsung Electronics executive vp Joe Stinziano introduces new QLED UHDTVs at 2017 CES.

New advanced UHDTVs and UHD Blu-ray players were the most notable product announcements for A/V enthusiasts at Samsung's 2017 CES press conference today.

The brand's new QLED TVs are said to push the state of the art with a new metallic-core quantum dot formulation in the backlight, one that ultimately provides the ability to deliver brighter highlights and an even wider color gamut than Samsung's top-line 2016 models.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 05, 2017 0 comments
Sony upped its soundbar game at CES with introduction of a new flagship model featuring Dolby Atmos capability, while also announcing a new mid-priced AVR.

Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 22, 2016 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
HDR10 plus Dolby Vision HDR
Great color
Wide viewing window
Minus
Middling black levels
Backlight artifacts

THE VERDICT
LG’s midpriced 65UH8500 delivers good image quality with a super-wide viewing window, and it’s one of the few sets around that plays both predominant types of HDR content.

A year ago, I tested the LG 65UF9500, an LCD Ultra HDTV that retailed for $2,999, and I criticized it for offering no future-readiness for soon-to-emerge high dynamic range (HDR) content. Since then, Ultra HD Blu-ray has come to market, bringing HDR along with it, and there’s a growing library of HDR movies available for streaming. To LG’s credit, their line of so-called Super UHD LCD TVs for this holiday season, including the midline 65-inch 65UH8500 tested here ($1,700), recognizes both predominant types of HDR—namely, HDR10 (used currently on Ultra HD Blu-rays) and Dolby Vision (still only available via web streams). LG is one of only two TV makers to support both formats on a single chassis (in both their LCD and OLED models), the other being Vizio, which updated their Dolby Vision sets for HDR10 in mid-2016. So how does this wellfeatured, attractively priced set perform? Let’s have a look.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 08, 2016 0 comments
There was a time when audiophiles bemoaned “cheap” soundbars as the bane of our existence. We had good reason. Many early examples of the genre, sometimes from companies we’d most closely associate with clock radios, compromised the home theater experience in every way possible. Along with dramatically shrinking the front soundstage and sacrificing the discrete rear channels required for adequate reproduction of a surround field, they just sounded bad. By which I mean bright, boomy, fatiguing, and amusical. Frequently, “helpful” surround processing to enhance imaging just added echoey reverb and messed with the natural timbre of vocals and instruments.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 30, 2016 1 comments
If you’re a regular reader then you know we reviewed the Kaleidescape Strato 4K movie player and also reported on the company’s closure and subsequent rebirth.
Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 28, 2016 4 comments
It’s easy in this brave new world of Ultra-Uber-HDR-4K HDTV to forget that the sound is still half—yes, half—of the home theater experience. Even if you’re actually smart enough to know that, and you wander into your local big-box electronics store in an effort to improve upon the tiny rear-facing drivers that pass for flat-panel TV speakers, you’re probably in for a knee-deep wade through soundbars and Bluetooth speakers before you stumble onto the audio/video receivers. You remember receivers: Those boxy things? Bunch of buttons and knobs and lights on the front? At one time, people used to called them stereos? “Oh yeah...those,” says the young skeptic festooned with the store logo on his shirt. “I think we still carry a couple of them in that back room over there.”
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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 14, 2016 1 comments
In last year's annual AV receiver issue, I pondered the future of the AVR and whether it might just become a relic; a big black box rusting in the heap at the Ol’ Tech landfill, its unruly interconnects and speaker cables still clinging on for dear life and aimlessly seeking terra firma, yet another reminder of those days when the good stuff still had wires attached to it.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 27, 2016 3 comments
Nestled among the rolling estates of northcentral New Jersey is a recently completed 22,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres that represents the height of luxury. Among the usual features associated with such homes—the large and well-appointed kitchen with industrial-grade appliances, the sprawling master suite with grand bath and giant hisand-hers walk-in closets, the fully equipped gym area, the climate-controlled wine cellar, the multi-bay garage complex stocked with one or more exotic cars, the attached pool and cabana, and, of course, the dedicated home theater—is the extraordinary media/entertainment space you see here. Dubbed the Sports Room by the homeowner, it’s one of the still rare examples of a commercial video wall used in a residential application, and it is indeed the ultimate game day oasis.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 16, 2016 1 comments
Bluesound, the hi-res compliant multiroom audio platform from Lenbrook, the makers of NAD audio electronics and PSB speakers, has added a critical new product at CEDIA in its first soundbar. Priced at $999 and available later this month, the Pulse Soundbar is designed for screens 42-inches or larger, and offers up a number of features that should please audiophiles who want to start building a Bluesound system or extend an existing system into the TV room.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 14, 2016 0 comments
Following the successful launch this year of its flagship STR-ZA5000ES A/V receiver (review in the October 2016 issue of Sound & Vision), Sony plans to roll out four new ES models next year for the custom-install channel.

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