Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 02, 2013 0 comments

 

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 20, 2012 0 comments

If 2011 was the year that tablets took over, 2012 was unquestionably the year of the headphone. The market for headphones has exploded, and Sound+Vision has stepped up its coverage to handle the flow, with reviews of new ‘phones, along with related gear such as portable and desktop speakers, amps, and DACs appearing on a weekly basis at soundandvisionmag.com.

Al Griffin Posted: Dec 18, 2012 0 comments

When it comes to picture quality, LCD TVs ?with a full-array, “local dimming” LED backlight tend to outperform their edge-lit LED brethren by a not insubstantial margin. We’ve covered the particulars of LED backlight tech before, so I won’t get sidetracked in explaining it here, but the finer control afforded by a full-array design allows for improved contrast and, for the most part, better uniformity when displaying dark images. Sony was among the first TV makers to push full-array for LCD, and then mysteriously put the tech on hold. But it roared back in 2011 with the XBR-HX929 line, a series that pushed full-array to new heights. The newest such sets to arrive from Sony are the HX950 series, which started shipping in late 2012. Can they match, or even exceed, Sony’s vaunted HX929 TVs?

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 12, 2012 0 comments

Sound+Vision has enthusiastically reviewed nearly every music server put out by Olive since it first launched. But the company’s newest offering, the One music player, looks to be its most interesting product yet.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 20, 2012 0 comments

Anyone shopping for a new set over the past year is likely to have encountered the term “Smart TV.” But what is a Smart TV? And why exactly should you want one? These are relevant questions because Smart TV is the latest marketing juggernaut to hit premium sets. Unless you make an effort to learn about Smart TV, there’s a chance you’ll end up paying for features that you don’t want or need.

Al Griffin Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

For a company whose supposed emphasis is LCD TV manufacturing, LG sure makes some good plasmas. Its 50PZ950, which we reviewed in the September 2011 issue, earned a Certified & Recommended stamp, both for its accurate, eminently tweakable picture and for its innovative Magic Motion remote-controlled “Smart” GUI. New for 2012 is the 50PM9700, which follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by being THX 3D-certified, Smart, and also Magic Motion remote-controlled. There are a number of other differences between the two models, but here’s one that immediately stands out: At $1,299, the 50PM9700 sells for about $300 less than the 50PZ950.

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

Say what you want about soundbars, but the category counts as one of the more active areas of speaker design. Sure, many products pumped out over the last few years are low-end ones designed to be sold as accessories for flat-panel TVs. But plenty of serious speaker companies have also gotten into the game, and the performance of the resulting products, while not yet at a level to make audiophiles toss out their tower speakers en masse, has proven more than sufficient for casual home theater use, as well as for background music listening.

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 02, 2012 0 comments

Regional hi-fi shows are sprouting up all over North America. We now have the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver, T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, AXPONA in Jacksonville, and NYC’s New York Audio and A/V show. And each year Montreal gets its own event, Salon Son & Image. Wouldn’t it be great if they also held one in Toronto?

Al Griffin Posted: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

When I tested Sony’s flagship XBR-55HX929 TV for our November 2011 issue, I called it out as having “the best-looking picture I’ve seen from an LCD TV in a long time.” Jump forward a few months, and I’m attending a demonstration at Sony’s HQ. During the demo, Sony put its flagship XBR, a model with a full-array LED backlight, up against a group of other TVs, including the company’s new edge-lit HX85 Series set. If you follow our reviews, you’ll know that LCDs with edge-lit LED backlights typically don’t fare well, mostly due to screen uniformity issues. However, the HX85 set in Sony’s shootout not only smoked the competition but was about on par with the company’s XBR model. Naturally, I was eager to get my hands on one.

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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 08, 2012 0 comments

Both Sony and LG had 84-inch edge-lit LCD TVs on display at CEDIA. What distinguishes these sets from other oversized TVs from companies like Sharp, etc. is that they have a resolution of 4K (actually, 3,840 x 2,160, or “Quad Full” HD).

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