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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 12, 2011 4 comments
SRS & the Future of Surround

Like most Home Theater readers, I’ve known SRS Labs primarily as the company that does virtual surround sound and other audio solutions for HDTVs and soundbars—features largely dismissed by serious enthusiasts as lightweight hocus-pocus. So it was with some skepticism that, back in March, I rolled into the firm’s Santa Ana, California, headquarters for a private demo of some new surround sound technology.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 11, 2011 2 comments
It’s a given that most readers of Home Theater are that guy—the one friends and family call when they need a new HDTV. But it doesn’t stop there. Because after your 82-year-old grandmother finally tosses out that old Sylvania console and buys a 52-inch LCD on your expert recommendation, you still have to help with the picture settings. We can’t have nana blowing out her sensitive retinas on the factory torch mode, now can we? Oh, what those eyes have seen...
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 08, 2011 0 comments
If you're shopping for an HDTV this weekend, you might find yourself battle-scarred by a war you didn't even know was happening. Anyone considering a set with 3D compatibility—which now comes along for the ride in most better flat panels —will be forced to choose between one that comes with either active-shutter or passive 3D technology. The key proponents of active-shutter 3D are Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony. Leading the charge for the more recently introduced passive technology are Toshiba, Vizio, and LG (which developed the passive home 3D system being used by the others). Although both types will play back the same 3D Blu-ray Discs and broadcasts, the glasses and the resulting 3D image are different. Here are some facts to help you sort things out.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 17, 2011 1 comments
Successful streaming is about making the right connection.

If you’ve just read “Streaming for the Masses”, you’ve got some idea of the range of hardware that lets you stream video and music from the Internet to your home entertainment system. The primary options include HDTVs, Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, game consoles, and various DVRs and dedicated streaming appliances. To some extent, it does matter which you choose, both in terms of the content you can access and your ability to connect it for the best picture or sound quality.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 12, 2011 0 comments

I took the invitation a while back to visit the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory in Los Angeles, where the company introduced its 3D Innovation Center to members of the press. PHL is a research and mastering center where Panasonic works with filmmakers on new camera, editing, encoding and playback technologies.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 25, 2011 9 comments
In recent months we've received a number of letters at Home Theater complaining about our coverage of the new 3D video technology and of the Web-streaming capabilities appearing in everything from TVs to Blu-ray players to set-top boxes. Most of our video reviews now have a dedicated section describing 3D performance and a short discussion of what content is available on each product's streaming platform. Some readers who are skeptical or not interested in these new part-time features think we shouldn't be wasting their time by writing about them, while others have defended us and acknowledged our obligation to report on any significant new features and assess their performance.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 05, 2011 1 comments
Moving Pictures is finally on Blu-ray—not the kind of pictures you watch, but Moving Pictures, the seminal Rush album that went quadruple platinum in the U.S. and will be released April 5th in a new, fully remastered audiophile edition.

The new 30th anniversary Deluxe Edition reissue from Universal Music comes in a dual-disc package, combining a digitally remastered version of the original CD mated with either a DVD or Blu-ray Disc. Both the DVD and Blu-ray include high-resolution 96kHz/24-bit stereo taken from the original analog master, as well as 96/24 5.1-channel PCM surround audio mixed down from the original multitrack assets under the careful supervision of Rush lead guitarist Alex Lifeson.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 21, 2011 14 comments
"Once in awhile, even a blind pig finds an acorn."

I'll never forget when I first heard that expression. I was just starting my consumer electronics journalism career, writing for a car audio enthusiast magazine, a city slicker from New York interviewing a down-home Southern boy about a high-end install he'd done in his old Acura. I asked him how he'd managed to win all these big car stereo competition trophies, and he let loose that platitude as a way of saying, "well, if you work hard enough and just keep stumbling around, eventually you can't help but get lucky."

Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 26, 2011 0 comments

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that it's a great big 3D world out there, and it's getting bigger every day. The latest arrival is Toshiba's 55WX800U, a 55-inch 3D LCD TV with edge-lit LED backlighting. At $3,300 (list), the 55WX800U doesn?t come cheap, but it does have the usual array of features we've come to expect from a top-of-the-line set.

Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 23, 2010 0 comments

Despite the rising popularity of LED-backlit LCD TVs, plasma has remained a favored display technology for many critical viewers who think it delivers the more natural, film-like picture. What it hasn't delivered, at least in the past, is the svelte profile and sleek styling that you get with LED-backlit LCD sets.

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