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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 17, 2016 10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q For years, I used iTunes to rip my CDs in the Apple Lossless Audio Compression (ALAC) format and load them onto a 160-gigabyte iPod classic. Now that iPods are no more, I would like to switch to one of the new hi-res-capable portable players but want to avoid having to rip all of my CDs again. Do any of the new players support ALAC so I can continue using iTunes? Also, is there some way to use iTunes to load files from my computer to a new portable player? —Mark Hoornstra / Maryland

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 10, 2016 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I'm slow to bite on buying an Ultra HDTV because I’m waiting to see which high dynamic range format will stick. If I buy an HDR10-only set and Dolby Vision wins, can support for that format be added through a future software update? —Ray Blackburn

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 07, 2016 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Is Samsung’s 2016 Ultra HDTV line capable of passing a 5.1 surround sound signal received from an HDMI input to a Sonos Playbar system via its optical digital audio output? I’ve heard that only Sony and Vizio TVs provide this 5.1 passthrough capability.—Glenn Patton / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 03, 2016 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I bought my Samsung UN65JS9500 Ultra HDTV back in 2015.  According to Samsung, it supports high dynamic range. However, when I browse the Netflix app on the TV, the listings will indicate if a program is 4K/Ultra HD, but not if it’s high dynamic range. I’ve asked both Samsung and Netflix tech support what the problem is, but have yet to receive a clear answer. Can you help? — Jon Fraser

Al Griffin Posted: Nov 02, 2016 1 comments
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $549

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive
HDR compatible
Impressive contrast
Minus
Minor backlight artifacts
No extended color-space option
Flimsy stand

THE VERDICT
Hisense’s sensibly priced 50H8C does many things right, but buyers expecting an ultimate HDR experience will want to pass.

There’s been plenty of what tech marketing types call “disruption” in the TV industry over the past decade, with big-name Japanese brands like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and Toshiba bowing out and Chinese companies like TCL and Hisense stepping in. While TCL has gained recognition as a maker of Roku TVs that span a range of screen sizes, it’s still a bit early in the game for us to get a sense of what Hisense is all about. What’s clear so far is that the company is producing sets with upscale features like 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range, at disruptively affordable prices. Case in point: the new 50H8C, an HDR-compatible 50-inch UHDTV that sells for a mere $549.

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 27, 2016 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q The rock group Genesis and several other bands have released albums in 5.1 surround. Is it true there’s no way to listen to these recordings without losing detail when using a soundbar for playback? Or would you have to use an actual five-speaker surround sound system? —Robert Hadley Jr. / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 20, 2016 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I'm big into home theater and computers, hobbies that naturally consume lots of electricity. Now that my AV receiver and TV are both due for replacement, I'm hoping you can recommend “green” products that will give me the same great experience, but without the ding on my energy bill and the planet. —Justin Nealis

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 17, 2016 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Do all speaker wires running to matched sets of speakers need to be the same length? I’m using 12 AWG wire to connect my AV receiver to speakers with an impedance of 6 ohms. My plan was to use 3-foot runs to my right and center speakers, a 10-foot run to the left speaker, and 26-foot and 36-foot runs, respectively, to the left and right surrounds. Will this create a problem? —Dan Donna / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 13, 2016 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q My audio setup consists of a Yamaha RX-A3030 receiver, M&K speakers with 2 Paradigm front effect speakers, and a Velodyne sub. Although I’m in my late 70s and have trouble hearing high frequencies, regular TV broadcasts sound clear on the system. Movie dialogue, on the other hand, sounds muted and is difficult to understand when I watch DVDs or Blu-rays. What steps can I take to make movie dialogue match what I hear with regular broadcast TV? —Bill Vandervoort, Chanute, KS

Al Griffin Posted: Oct 12, 2016 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $549

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Good value
Decent overall performance
Capable of high brightness
Minus
Brightness limits color accuracy
So-so contrast

THE VERDICT
While it’s not without compromises, the SP1080 delivers good overall home theater image quality for its very low price.

A home theater projector is designed for permanent installation in a light-controlled environment. A mini projector is meant for giving business presentations or toting to a vacation home. What is the line that separates the two categories? Until recently, it was price: A typical home theater model started at around $1,000 and shot up from there. But the InFocus ScreenPlay SP1080 seems intended to blur that line: It’s priced at a mere $549, or the same amount you’d pay for a high-quality mini projector. Consequently, home theater projection has now become almost absurdly cheap. But is this new InFocus any good? Let’s take a look.

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