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Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 31, 2013 1 comments
Q My new TV has four HDMI inputs. Would I get better picture quality if I bypassed my receiver and hooked all the equipment up directly to the TV? I also plan to run a TosLink digital audio cable from the TV to the receiver for sound. Any issues there to consider? —Jose / Colorado Springs, CO

A Whether or not you’ll get better picture quality from your proposed setup depends on the video capabilities of the receiver you’ve been using to handle HDMI switching. A number of A/V receivers provide both high-quality video deinterlacing/scaling and an ability to pass-through 1080p signals with no degradation (this Marantz that Sound & Vision recently reviewed, for example). But some other models are known to reduce the chroma (color) resolution of signals passing through, or to clip above-white and below-black information at the extreme ends of the video brightness range.

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 24, 2013 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I am looking to buy an amplifier and speakers manufactured someplace other than China. Can you recommend some options? My budget is $2,000 total for both amp and speakers (tower or bookshelf). —Gopal Venkat / via email

I cut the political content from your question because I don’t feel that this column is the best forum to discuss those issues. That said, I’m happy to help you find gear in your price range that’s made someplace other than China.

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 17, 2013 12 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I have a question about streaming audio from my PC to an A/V system located in another room. I want to be able to stream my vast collection of FLAC audio files along with Internet radio to an Integra DTR 5.9 A/V receiver. Running an Ethernet cable wouldn’t be my first choice; I have a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the entire house and would like to use that instead for streaming. I've looked at the Sonos and Nuvo systems and the WD TV Live box. Each of these options seems to have good and bad points. But I’ve also thought about buying an inexpensive laptop and connecting it to my A/V system with a portable USB DAC. Can you recommend a solution? —John Hanlon / Encinitas, CA

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 10, 2013 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I wish to place center-channel speakers above and below my projection screen. I know the distance from the two speakers to the seating position at ear level will not be the same, and I would like to know how to calibrate or compensate for this difference. I have a 5.1 surround setup with an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, a six-channel amp, and a powered sub. I am patient enough to do the onscreen setup from the Oppo, but I’m at a loss over the dual center speaker issue. —Dale Kay / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 08, 2013 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q. I recently purchased a Samsung 6420 LED TV. I contacted both Samsung and TweakTV looking for suggested calibration settings, but they were of no help. I am not satisfied with the set’s current picture and was wondering if you had some suggested settings for this model or could direct me to other Websites that might help. —Cannon / via e-mail

Al Griffin Posted: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE
$2,299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright, crisp 3D display
Unique Magic Remote
Voice Mate feature
Minus
Below-average picture contrast

THE VERDICT
LG’s mid-level set is undoubtedly Smart and a very good value, but its less than stellar contrast and picture uniformity make it an also-ran in the LCD TV race.

At first look, there’s nothing groundbreaking about LG’s 55LA7400, the mid-size model in the company’s LA7400 line of 3D-capable LCDs (47- and 60-inch versions are also available). To be honest, its feature list is packed, yawn, with lots of stuff we’ve seen before from LG: TruMotion 240-hertz display, edge-arrayed LED backlight with local dimming, passive 3D using polarized glasses. Where the LA7400 series starts to get interesting is when you look beyond the video specs to the Smart features and connectivity options—things video enthusiasts routinely dismiss but in reality are futuristic and cool. As one of the big three companies pushing the Smart TV envelope (Panasonic and Samsung are the other two), LG takes this stuff seriously, and it hopes you will too.

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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 29, 2013 0 comments
CEDIA was packed with plenty of pricey options for transmitting audio over the air, but at least one company was showing wireless gear at a down-to-earth price. Monoprice’s Wireless Speaker Transmitter ($88.11) is a transmitter/receiver system that sends CD-quality audio over the 2.4 GHz band at distances up to 98 feet. And since were talking Monoprice here, a no-frills cables/accessories e-tailer that places a premium on value over marketing, I will also note the system’s product number: 10601.
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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
Digital Projection showcased its two newest DLP projectors at CEDIA, the updated single-chip M-Vision Cine LED1000 ($12,995) and the 3-chip Titan 1080P LED 3D ($80,000). And when I say showcase, I mean showcase: Both PJs were projecting images on a huge 165-inch screen that made you feel as if you were sitting in a real cinema.
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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
The Sanus Trillium A/V console is a trend-driven design that the company hopes will appeal to buyers beyond the hardcore home-theaterphile. To that end, they’ve gone for a classic modernist look and an affordable price point: $799 for a 63-inch wide version and $599 for a 53-inch version. The larger console supports TVs up to 70 inches, while the smaller one holds up to 60-inch screens. Color options include Dark Cherry (shown here) and Walnut.
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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
LG may not be at CEDIA proper, but they are definitely in Denver. The company held an off-site press event to debut a pair of new Ultra HDTVs. Its LA9650 Series arrives in 65- and 55-inch screen sizes, priced at $4,999 and $3,499 respectively. The addition of the pair brings LG’s total UHDTV count up to five, with the line still topped off by its 84-inch LM9600 ($18,000).

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