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Rob Sabin

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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Speaker designer Paul Barton of PSB, who has applied his considerable skills and ears in the past year to wirless bluetooth speakers (the NAD Viso 1) and headphones (the M4U), has now bowed his answer to the powered desktop speaker system. The PSB Alpha PS1 features built-in amplification delivering 20 watts per side. The left side speaker has the volume control on the back panel, along with analog RCA and 1/8-inch inputs and an RCA subwoofer output. A clever touch is the USB power-only port, which can be used to power any third-party wireless dongle you might use to facilitate wireless streaming from a computer or source component. Price on the system will be $300 when it becomes available in October.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 06, 2012 11 comments
Though not exhibiting at the 2012 CEDIA Expo, LG Electronics took space in a local restaurant in Indianapolis on Thursday night to announce pending availability of its new 84-inch 4K-resolution flat-panel HDTV. According to Jay Vandenbree, senior VP of Home Electronics, the 3840 x 2160-pixel display will be sold by a limited selection of U.S. retailers starting in October. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing has been set at $19,999, about $5,000 less than Sony plans to charge for it’s own 84-inch 4K panel announced for the U.S market on Wednesday. That HDTV should be available in November. Of course, there’s no real 4K content available to view on these televisions, nor any medium to deliver it, so buyers will be viewing upscaled 1080i from their cable boxes or 1080p from their Blu-ray players for the foreseeable future. Both sets are said to accept a 4K signal, though, so viewers will not only be future-proofed but should also be able to use other 3rd party scalers to achieve the best image quality with existing 2K content.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 28, 2012 2 comments
i just upgraded to a bigger subwoofer, a JBL ES250P rated at 400 watts RMS and 700 watts peak power. The sub specs say it can play down to 25 Hz, which is very low, and the sub has a crossover adjustment that goes from 150 Hz to 50hz. My HSU Research speakers are rated down to 60 Hz. Should I set the subwoofer crossover at or near 60 Hz? Or all the way up to 150 Hz? I currently have my system crossed over at 100 Hz.

Bob

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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 10, 2012 10 comments
Regular readers of Home Theater have heard me espouse, maybe once or twice too often, my belief in a broad definition of what makes a home theater. At the risk of repeating myself, perhaps verbatim, it’s not about how many speakers you have, how expensive your electronics are, how big your screen is, or whether you own a front-projection system.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 10, 2012 7 comments
Of all the components in your home theater system, none gets more playtime than your audio/video receiver. But buying an AVR can be daunting for home theater newbies or even seasoned enthusiasts diving back into the upgrade pool. AVR technology and features have been constantly moving targets these last few years. Here are some basics to help you make your selection, circa 2012.

A/V What?
An A/V receiver combines three audio components in one box. Primarily, it performs the traditional roles of a preamplifier and power amplifier. The sound for any home theater begins as a relatively low-level audio signal coming off a source component such as a cable box or disc player. These days, it’s more likely to be a digital audio signal than an analog signal. That signal gets converted between digital and analog as needed, manipulated to affect your volume adjustment, and might perhaps have some bass and treble contouring (or more sophisticated equalization) applied before it’s sent to the power amplifier, whose only job is to pump it up to the power level necessary to drive your speakers to sufficient volume.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 18, 2012 7 comments
After cornering the market for LCD TVs above 60-inches diagonal with exclusive 70- and 80-inch models, Sharp has released its first 90-inch LED-backlit LCD set.

As Sharp executives were quick to point out at the product’s launch party in New York City tonight, this is one big TV. Its 1920x1080-pixel, 90-inch diagonal screen measures 6 feet, 8 inches wide by 4 feet tall. That’s said to be equivalent to nearly twice the screen area of a 65-inch television, or three times the area of a 55-inch set. To take it even further, you can squeeze eight 32-inch TVs into its screen, or 56 iPads.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $400 At A Glance: Effective, free alternative to cable or satellite • Vudu streaming • Runs hot!

In this day of dozens of HDTV channels delivered via hardwired cable or satellite transmission, it’s hard to remember that watching TV wasn’t always quite so easy. Way back when, every television had an antenna connected to it. If you were distant from the transmission tower, you might have had a big mast antenna on your roof, as did your next-door neighbor, and his next-door neighbor, and so on, until the suburban skyline came to be defined by these skeletal sculptures reaching into the bright dawn of a soaring postwar America. If you lived a little closer to the tower, you probably just used the telescopic rabbit ears poking up from the back or top of every set, and the ritual of changing channels (to another of the seven or eight available) involved walking across the room, manually clicking the TV’s rotary tuning knob, and then reorienting the antenna arms to minimize the distortion. Even then, it didn’t always work. Depending on conditions, it wasn’t uncommon to get snowy artifacts from a weak signal, or ghosting caused by multipath reception as the signal bounced off nearby buildings or other large objects.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 04, 2012 0 comments
You have to wonder what the folks at Labor Saving Devices were thinking when they dreamed up the Wet Noodle Magnetic In-Wall Retrieval System—but thankfully they did. Until you’re struggling to fish a wire out of a closed-wall cavity, especially one with insulation, it’s hard to fully appreciate the simplicity and elegance of this popular tool.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 03, 2012 3 comments
Any room with a TV, a surround sound audio system, and a mess of wires snaking across the floor can become a home theater once the lights go down. But a truly integrated room that fits your lifestyle and makes you proud to show it off takes some work. Whether you do it yourself or bring in a pro, the steps to get there are always the same. This article will help you understand the process. Building a home theater isn’t rocket science, but it does require a broad mix of knowledge and skills, and a willingness to do your homework before you begin. If after reading this, you’re not confident you can handle the job, you should strongly consider hiring a pro who does this day in and day out.
Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 31, 2012 2 comments
If you've got your heart set on a new big-screen for the big game, you're in luck. The days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday are the traditional last, best chance for retailers to dump their remaining inventory before new models hit shelves in the spring. The competition is as fierce among stores this week as it will be on the field this weekend. But your primary TV shouldn't be an impulse purchase, and jumping on the first hyper-bright picture or low pricetag that catches your eye is a recipe for long-term remorse. So, slow down, take a deep breath, and tackle these tips to guard against the dreaded Monday morning quaterbacking.

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