Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 06, 2014 1 comments
With 2013 being the year of the OLED—sorry, Ultra HDTV—it comes as a surprise to find that Samsung’s 2014 TV lineup lacks a new OLED model (though the 55-inch KN55S9C Sound & Vision recently reviewed carries over into 2014). What did Samsung have to announce at CES? Plenty of Ultra HDTVs in all manner of screen sizes with both curved and non-curved (flat, that is) screens.
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 06, 2014 0 comments
Sharp has big plans in the works for HDTV and UHDTV. According to the company’s presentation at CES, they’ve placed more 60-inch-plus HDTVs in homes over the last 3 years than any other maker. And they plan to keep the emphasis on big going forward in their 2014 Ultra HDTV and HDTV models, along with a new product category that the company calls Quattron+ (more on that in a bit).
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 02, 2014 0 comments
Q I’m looking to buy a new receiver and was checking out Yamaha’s RX-A1030. A problem with that unit, however, is that it doesn’t appear to route signals from an optical digital input to its second-zone output—a feature that I require. (Other than that, the RX-A1030 has everything I need.) Is there another option on the market that can do this? Researching receiver specs is very tiring because specific info is hard to find. —Pete via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 30, 2013 2 comments
Q My Panasonic DMP-BDT500 Blu-ray player has four 192-kHz/32-bit Burr-Brown DACs. To take full advantage of these, should I use analog RCA cables to connect the player to my Denon AV receiver? I would only use an analog connection to the receiver’s CD input for music and would still use an HDMI hookup so that the Denon could decode high-resolution soundtracks on Blu-ray.—Paolo Fiorentino via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 26, 2013 4 comments
Q My Onkyo HTS-S5400 home theater system has a front USB input where I plug in my iPhone to play music. I recently bought a new Sony Xperia L Android smartphone, however, and would like to use that for music playback instead. The Onkyo’s manual says the USB input is for iPhone/iPod playback only. Is there any special cable or app that I can use to play music through the system with my Android phone? —Mila Arasu via email
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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