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Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 20, 2013 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very wide viewing angle
Accurate out-of-box color
Great GUI and Smart features
Minus
Some picture-uniformity issues
Pricey compared with high-end LCD competition

THE VERDICT
Panasonic’s LCD boasts an impressive array of Smart features and decent picture quality, but some uniformity issues on dark movie scenes prevent it from stacking up to the high-end LCD competition.

Panasonic is a company that has stuck with plasma TV tech through thick and thin. In the thick column, you’ll find loads of great reviews and general raves from videophiles. In the thin column, there are claims (largely unfounded) of burn-in damage generated by everything from video games to stock tickers; more crucial, there’s bruising sales competition from LCD. What’s less known about Panasonic is that the company actually does sell LCD HDTVs—quite a few of ’em, in fact. If you were to check Panasonic’s Website right now (do it!), you’d see that its TV lineup is divided equally between plasma and LCD. And with rumors circulating about the company’s imminent departure from the plasma manufacturing biz (say it ain’t so!), that balance could soon swing fully over to the LCD side.

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 19, 2013 0 comments
Q I just bought a Sharp HDTV from Best Buy. When watching a dark scene from the TV series Grimm that I recorded with my DirecTV DVR, horrible black splotches suddenly appeared on the screen. Is this problem fixable?—Darryl Cameron via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 17, 2013 3 comments
Q How much amplifier power is too much power? My speakers have a 75-to-100-watt RMS power rating and are connected to an entry-level Yamaha receiver, so it’s safe to say they aren’t being pushed anywhere near their potential. I plan to upgrade to separates in the near future, however, and need to know how powerful an amp I should buy. Should I go with too much amp (200 watts RMS per channel), or just enough (125 watts RMS per channel)? —Audiophile Noob via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 12, 2013 8 comments
Q What are the pros and cons of having a 2013 Panasonic plasma TV such as the TC-P55VT60 professionally calibrated? And what should I look for in a calibrator? —Scott Oakley / via email

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 10, 2013 0 comments
Q My friend uses an iPod touch to stream Pandora Internet Radio over a speaker system at his outdoor tiki bar but is having a problem with some songs playing louder than others. I have gone into his iPod’s General Settings menu and activated the Sound Check button, but that feature only seems to work for tracks played in iTunes. Is there an in-line device with 3.5mm connectors that can hook up to the iPod’s headphone jack to level the audio output?—J. Glemming / Calabash, NC
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 03, 2013 8 comments
Q I’m wondering about the best setup to stream music from my computer. I currently use an Apple TV connected to an Onkyo receiver to stream Apple Lossless files from my Mac via AirPlay. Is there a better way? Should I add an outboard DAC or switch to a different network streaming device? —Rafael Cremonese / via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 28, 2013 1 comments
Q I’m in the market to buy a new receiver. The speakers I’m using are powered models that I plug directly into the back of the receiver. My question: Will it hurt or decrease the life of the speakers if I instead plug them into a regular AC outlet on my wall? New receivers I’ve checked out with features that I like do not provide AC outlets. —Bill Major / via email

You won't be hurting or decreasing the life of your powered speakers by plugging them into a regular wall AC outlet. Instead, you’ll be helping them.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 25, 2013 1 comments
Q Why at this time of near-perfect plasma TVs are there no sets available in the 65-to-85-inch range? I would like to consider one of the new Panasonic or Samsung models for my home theater but require a set with a screen size larger than 65 inches.—Steve Stolte / Cedar Rapids, IA
Al Griffin Posted: Nov 22, 2013 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent picture quality for an LCD HDTV Innovative remote control
Minus
Overly wide Arc Stand base

THE VERDICT
Samsung’s F8000 Series represents an evolutionary leap in the company’s LCD TV offerings.

My last experience with a Samsung TV (aside from the company’s KN55S9C OLED, reviewed in the November issue) was a memorable one. The company had just endowed its Smart Hub interface with voice control, and, consequently, it was the first TV I ever found myself talking at. Or screaming at, rather, since that feature proved useless in practice. Another reason was its performance: The Samsung was one of the best sets I’d tested in recent memory.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 21, 2013 1 comments
Q I have been reading A/V magazines for years, as well as conducting my own research, and am still a little confused about how to select the right amplifier to use with MartinLogan electrostatic speakers. The literature I’ve read clearly indicates that the ohm rating of a receiver is just as important, or more so, than its wattage per channel when considering an A/V receiver to pair with speakers. Does the ohm rating of MartinLogan electrostatic speakers make them incompatible with typical AVRs?

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