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Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2012 0 comments
I don’t know what this means, but considering its prominence on the Nyko booth wall this must be something very profound.

Filed under
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2012 1 comments
Dish Network’s new mascot, Hopper, was happy to be at CES.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2012 0 comments
Klipsch says that sales of iOS devices - those handheld and portable digital multimedia/smartphone/tablet/etc things we all can’t live without - are eclipsing (“eKlipsching”?) sales of HDTVs and other “traditional” entertainment devices. Keeping to the company’s audio-reproduction roots, the Klipsch folks want to bring high-performance audio to you and me in whatever form we find the most convenient, be it a home theater system, a bookshelf system, or a pair of earphones. At the Klipsch press conference this morning, the company presented a couple of the new and soon-to-be AirPlay-enabled audio systems.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2012 0 comments
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a one-eyed Cyclops or a three-eyed alien being locked away deep in some secret laboratory in Area 51 - no one likes the idea of wearing glasses to watch 3D video. Stream TV hates glasses for 3D, too, and this morning they showed off the company’s Ultra-D technology that can produce a glasses-free 3D image that’s watchable across a wide range of viewing angles. (Just to eliminate any confusion, “glasses-free” doesn’t mean you get “free glasses” with the system. It means you don’t need no stinkin’ glasses at all to watch 3D on the screen.) According to Stream TV, the proprietary technology can be used with all types of displays; and they anticipate we’ll see Ultra-D technology in everything from flat-panel TVs to tablets to smartphones.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 21, 2011 1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,249 At A Glance: BD player/recorder with 3D support • HDMI 1.4a • IR remote control

One of the many questions that keeps me up at night is why dedicated A/V media servers—the kind that sit cozily on a shelf above your AVR and pretend to be just another A/V source in your system—have traditionally been and continue to be so darn expensive. At the gleaming pinnacle of all that is good and glorious (and most expensive) in the media server world is the Kaleidescape movie system. Once you pull your head out of the “I could buy a new car with that kind of money” cloud and look down on the mountain of mere mortal media servers, you’ll see a small variety of makes and models with varying sphincter-constricting price points from companies such as Meridian, Olive, NuVo, and VidaBox. I reviewed Autonomic’s Mirage MMS-2 two-zone media server (Home Theater, October 2011), and I found lots to like about it—the iOS control apps, the integration of Internet streaming and cloud services, the two-zone outputs, and the all-around spiffy and ultra-easy way it provided access to my 300-plus-gigabyte library of digital media files—although none of that makes it any easier for most of us to sneak its $2,000 cost onto an already overburdened credit card.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 31, 2011 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $5,290 At A Glance: CLS Xstat electrostatic transducer • Folded Motion XT tweeter • Dipolar panels

I hate MartinLogan.

That’s right. I hate MartinLogan with a passion that borders on the obsessive. And there’s more to it than the fact that the company’s headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas, are just a hop, skip, and a third-and-long TD pass away from KU. (As a graduate of Mizzou, I say, “Pluck the Jayhawks.”) What gets me is that every time I see those tall, translucent, slightly curved, hard-to-believe-they-actually-work panels that are the hallmark of a MartinLogan electrostatic speaker, I want a pair.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 28, 2011 0 comments
Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $6,003 At A Glance: Discrete center-channel drivers built into main speakers • Grilles custom-sized to match flat panel • Can also be mounted on the wall

One of the more interesting things I overheard during this year’s CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis was an offhanded comment that “the sound quality of TVs today is worse than it was with TVs 20 years ago.” Think about that for a minute. A new, George Jetson–style, 50-inch flat-panel HDTV hanging on the wall makes one of those old, 50-inch, three-CRT, rear-projection (analog) TVs look like something even Fred Flintstone would pass on. But put those two sets side by side, close your eyes, and give a good, long listen to a movie, a football game, or even the nightly news running on each one of them. Despite the 20 years of technological “improvements” between them, my highly educated (I am a professional, after all) guess is that most people will pick that hulking behemoth 50-inch console rear-projection TV as the one they’d rather have if sound quality were the only concern.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 11, 2011 3 comments
Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $1,975 At A Glance: Only 1.75 inches deep • Woofer frame is part of the steel speaker cabinet itself • Planar magnetic tweeter

As I sit in my theater room writing this, there’s an interesting juxtaposition in front of me. On the wall are three FineLine LCR-21 speakers neatly mounted around my Samsung plasma HDTV. Now that I’m finished with my listening tests of the FineLines, I’ve hauled my next set of review speakers (a MartinLogan ElectroMotion system) into the room in order to finish burning them in. The main MartinLogan EM-ESLs are floorstanding speakers that need to be positioned out from the wall to sound best. So there it is: small, svelte, unobtrusive panels on the wall versus slender, 52-inch-tall towers (plus associated speaker wires and power cables on the floor) that are unmistakably part of an audio system.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 07, 2011 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $17,000 as tested At A Glance: Control one to 200 devices • No new wires for easy retrofits • Saves electricity and lengthens bulb life

Unless you’re one of the enlightened, you probably use the same simple lighting-control system that most everyone else in the electrified world uses—your finger. Sometimes it’s the side of your hand, or when your hands are full, a nudge with your elbow or shoulder. While the electrical hardware is reliable, this type of system is prone to user error (forgetfulness), doesn’t react quickly to changing circumstances (daytime/nighttime), and is often just damned inconvenient (you’re here, but the switch is over there). On top of all that, gangs of three, four, or more switches on the wall, no matter how fancy the wall plate, are unsightly and not especially intuitive to use when it comes to flipping the right switch to turn on the right light—especially in the dark.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 16, 2011 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $2,000 At A Glance: Super-slim on-wall mounting • Twin-layered flat-diaphragm bass drivers • Tangerine waveguide to control high-frequency dispersion

According to a recent (and somewhat controversial) translation of a Dead Sea Scroll fragment, “Thou shalt not alloweth the tail to waggeth thy dog” was the eleventh commandment. Evidently, Moses ran out of room on the tablets and was understandably a little reluctant to ask the Big Guy to “hold that thought” while he scrounged around for another flat rock to chisel on. I think Moses was banking on the fact that he could always make a note in the margins later, but then there was that unfortunate idol-worshiping and throwing-of-the-tablets incident at the bottom of Mt. Sinai. When all was said and done, Moses completely forgot about adding that final admonition.

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