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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).

Al Griffin Posted: Aug 23, 2012 0 comments

There are two stories to tell about Samsung’s new E8000 line of plasma TVs. The first, and likely the more compelling one for S+V readers, is that the E8000 continues Samsung’s streak of putting out plasmas that meet videophile standards for color accuracy, contrast, and shadow detail. The second is that the E8000 is one of the company’s flagship “Smart TV” lines. This basically means that every Smart feature you can think of has been tossed in, including voice and gesture control, face recognition, Web browser, interactive fitness training — the list goes on.

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 06, 2012 0 comments

It's summertime, and that means outdoor concerts. Here in the far other end of New York state, we typically get to lay out our blankets and take in a predictable bunch of touring acts from the '70s and '80s. Peter Frampton? Check. Huey Lewis and the News? Check. Yes? Yes. The Jesus and Mary Chain. Um, did you say "The Jesus And Mary Chain?"

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2012 0 comments

Most new Blu-ray players are cheap enough and perform well enough that there isn’t an urgent need to differentiate between (read: review) them.

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 11, 2012 0 comments

Father's Day is upon us again, graduations have just gone by - and chances are you may not have quite finished all of your shopping. Don't worry, the staff of Sound+Vision is here to help.


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