Ken C. Pohlmann

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 15, 2011 0 comments

Well, it's official: the 1.65 million students of the high-school class of '11 have set a new record. They collectively racked up the lowest SAT reading scores ever. Moreover, their score compared to the '10 score represented one of the biggest declines in 20 years. So not only are today's kids terrible readers, they are rapidly getting more terrible.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 04, 2005 0 comments

Digital amplifiers are nothing new - they've been around for years in powered subwoofers and, more recently, home theater box systems. But standalone digital receivers are a somewhat new revelation.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

"One size fits all" surround is dying. It's time for us all to consider a whole new dimension. First, a parallel to impart from the annals of tech history. In the earliest days of photography, the emulsions and lenses were extremely "slow." Even in bright sunlight, a plate might require hours of exposure time. As technology improved, exposure times decreased to a minute or so.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 01, 2007 0 comments

"Hey, stop hanging around! You're blocking the doorway!"

That's what shop owners were shouting at teenagers who were loitering outside stores and in malls. The kids were supposedly deterring adult customers - that is, the ones with more spending power.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 22, 2011 0 comments

What is the Great American Pastime? Baseball? Football? Soccer? Actually, it’s none of those. Our great pastime is sitting passively and yelling as other people actively run around. And while shouting from the bleachers is fun, it’s even more fun to sit and shout at the TV.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 30, 2008 0 comments

When your TV suddenly stops working at midnight on February 17, 2009, blame Vice President Dick Cheney. Back in 2005, the Senate's vote on a spending bill that included $1.5 billion to help people buy digital-TV converter boxes was deadlocked 50-50, so Cheney flew back from the Middle East to cast the tiebreaker.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 14, 2012 0 comments

Boy, do I feel like a dope. I was under the impression that the decades of conspicuous consumption were finished. What with all the Occupy protesters and unemployed French literature majors out there, I thought that anything ostentatious was unfashionable. Or, as French literature majors would say, passé.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 21, 2002 0 comments

Audio buffs have been known to lock horns over all kinds of things - CDs vs. vinyl, Dolby Digital vs. DTS, tubes vs. solid-state, DVD-Audio vs. Super Audio CD, and on and on. But one of the hottest debates of recent years has been over which kind of speakers work best for the rearward surround channels in a multichannel setup: monopole (a.k.a. direct-radiating) or dipole?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

I travel. A lot. Hotel rooms are not my home away from home — they are my home. As such, most of my TV viewing is done in hotel rooms. Thanks to the miracle of jet lag, I know the late-night schedule everywhere around the world. I’ve watched Wheel of Fortune in 53 different languages, and counting.

I’m also familiar with every brand of flat-panel TV. Samsung, LG, Vizio, Panasonic, Hitachi, Philips, Magnavox, Toshiba, JVC, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony: I’ve seen them all. And I know I’m in a faraway place when I’m staring at a Kogan or a Vestel. It doesn’t make any difference. They all have one thing in common: All of these TVs sound terrible.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 05, 2006 0 comments

From the vantage point of Sony BMG'S corporate headquarters, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time. With music piracy up and profits down, it made complete sense to add some get-tough digital-rights management (DRM) to certain CDs. But what seemed smart in the corporate world led to a royal debacle in the real world.

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