Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 17, 2014 6 comments
The effects of dynamic volume control are illustrated in this diagram from Audyssey.

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Q When watching a movie, I often have to turn the volume up to hear the dialogue but then find that the action scenes are too loud and have to turn it down again. My speakers are all from the same product line, so I know they are meant to play well together. I also use the automatic room correction on my Pioneer VSX-914-K AV receiver to adjust levels and distances for the speakers. Is the volume issue due to the way movies are mixed these days? —Ricky Meadows / via e-mail Ricky Meadows / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 13, 2014 4 comments
Q I'm looking for a way to play two-channel music via iTunes AirPlay streaming through my Pioneer SC-57 receiver while watching muted sports on my plasma TV, which doesn’t have ARC. All my HDMI sources currently go into the receiver, with a single HDMI output to the TV. Is there a way to set up a second zone on the SC-57? Some other simple solution that I'm missing? —Jason Karley / via email
Al Griffin Posted: Mar 10, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,400

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great contrast and screen uniformity
Good looks
Decent set of streaming options
Minus
Slightly inaccurate color
Unimpressive 3D performance

THE VERDICT
Vizio’s 60-incher combines very good value with above-average picture quality.

With the CES in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the new TVs that 2014 will bring. Hold on: Was there something we missed as 2013 wound down? Sound & Vision lavished loads of attention on OLED, 4K, and other high-priced TV options in 2013, but what about the budget category? Anything happen there worth looking at?

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 06, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have a 56-inch Samsung rear-projection DLP TV that I purchased in 2006. The set is installed in a room with low to medium light, and I sit about 12 to 14 feet away. I have never had any problems with the TV and have yet to replace its lamp. I’m now wondering, though, should I wait for the lamp to die, or replace it? Would a lamp replacement improve the picture? I have a two-year-old 40-inch Samsung LCD in another room that I’ve always admired for its crisp picture, though it looks a bit like a daytime soap opera even with the Movie mode selected.—Brian Pridgen / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 03, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am moving to a new home and plan to transfer my AV receiver and speakers to the new location but don’t want to have to run new wiring. Is there a system available that will let me attach a wireless transmitter to my AV receiver and wireless receivers to my speakers and avoid running wires?—Michael DeWaters / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 27, 2014 7 comments
Q I thought that plasma TVs don’t suffer from motion blur, but I definitely see it when watching with my new Panasonic TC-P60ST60 plasma. Is there some setting I have configured incorrectly, or was I wrong in thinking that plasma tech is free from motion blur? —Bob Shedlock / Strongsville, Ohio
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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 20, 2014 4 comments
Q I recently learned that my television’s 120 Hz feature is global—when I turn it on, it remains on for all sources. I'm not a fan of this because I don't like seeing the “Soap Opera Effect” on TV and movie sources, though I do like it when playing videogames because the higher frame rate gives them a silky-smooth look. Here’s my question: Do you know of any TVs with a 120 Hz feature that can be turned on or off for specific inputs? —Ricky Meadows / via email
Al Griffin Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound quality for Bluetooth
Audiophile-friendly look
Pain-free setup
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It might not be high-rez or high end, but Mass Fidelity’s Bluetooth receiver is a great option for casual listening.

Bluetooth gets a bad rap in the hi-fi world, and for good reason: In contrast to other wireless audio technologies that let you stream uncompressed CD-quality audio from a PC or portable device, Bluetooth subjects the signal to lossy compression. If you’re an audiophile with a reputation to uphold, the story pretty much ends there.

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 13, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I need a new TV. Here’s what I want: LED-backlit LCD, 55- to 60-inch screen, thin (2 inches or less deep), great picture.  I also want it to be truly dumb, with as few Smart features as possible. My research has turned up a new NuVision Lucidium NVU55FX10LS, a 55-inch model that appears to have a good picture. Can you suggest another dumb TV with an equally good picture that might be cheaper?  —Dennis A. Fuller / Dallas, TX

Al Griffin Posted: Feb 09, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,099

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color (after adjustment)
Good screen uniformity
Affordable price
Minus
Half-baked Cloud TV user interface
Not-great remote control

THE VERDICT
Smart TV shortcomings aside, Toshiba’s LCD offers very good picture quality at a low price.

With plasma TV tech seemingly on a path to early, unwarranted extinction, prospective TV buyers unwilling to spring for OLED soon won’t have much choice other than to purchase an LED-backlit LCD TV (aka “LED TV”). And while the performance of such sets has improved quite a bit over the years, the better ones are still expensive for what you get—particularly in comparison with same-sized plasmas. So, what’s a quality-conscious consumer to do? Roll over and get eat the high prices? Not necessarily.

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