John Sciacca

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John Sciacca Posted: Jun 03, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $220

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Terrific interface
Fast and simple setup
Stream shows to anywhere via Internet
Minus
No direct HDMI output
Must add your own hard drive
Long buffer time for channel surfing
No “resume play” function for recordings

THE VERDICT
Tablo offers cord cutters an affordable option to enjoy DVR features and view TV from anywhere in the world.

Cord cutting is a trend that continues to gain momentum. And why not? With low-cost/free services like Netflix and YouTube accounting for more than 50 percent of Web traffic in the U.S., it’s obvious that people are happy to get their content from any place that doesn’t require a monthly pound of flesh. Even TV networks have started accepting the streaming mentality by offering shows online, typically a day (or more) after they have aired live but still giving viewers an alternative to the traditional cable or satellite pay-to-view option.

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John Sciacca Posted: May 21, 2014 0 comments
The day will come when you will press the “Watch TV” button on your fancy remote control—or however it is that you turn your system on—and…nothing will happen. Or something will happen, but it won’t be the right thing. Generally the problem will boil down to you’ll be able to see it but not hear it or you’ll hear it but not see it. Before you panic and start spiraling down into a world of Apocalypse Now-level darkness, try these five simple troubleshooting tips. Chances are one of them will get you back on track before the first commercial break!
John Sciacca Posted: May 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-performance Wolfson Audio WM8671 DAC handles signals up to 192 kHz/24-bit
AccuBASS designed to restore depth to compressed audio sources
Automatic input switching

Minus
Runs hot
Lack of front-panel controls may be problematic for some installs

THE VERDICT
This terrific amplifier and DAC solution improves sonics in a small package.

The quest for audio simplicity has come far closer to becoming a reality with the introduction of music streamers from the likes of Sonos and Apple. Now just connect one of these devices to an audio system, and you’ve got an entire world of music literally at your fingertips. However, these components aren’t exactly revered for their terrific audio qualities, and many dress up the sonics by running them through an outboard DAC before connecting to a quality amplifier. But in space-challenged places like an office, kitchen, or bedroom, this can be easier said than done.

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John Sciacca Posted: May 07, 2014 0 comments
Good listening is safe listening. Here are three sets of headphones that add to your (and your kids) enjoyment of music without blowing out your eardrums.
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John Sciacca Posted: Apr 16, 2014 2 comments
A few weeks ago I got an email notification from my Kaleidescape movie server saying temperatures has exceeded safe operating range and the server would be shutting itself down if temps didn’t soon return to normal. “What the hell?!” I wondered. Nothing had changed in my rack, I hadn’t added any new gear or changed anything with the ventilation and the server was exactly where it had always been sitting and working fine for the past few years. Of course, I immediately blamed my 7 year old daughter, accusing her of all manner of destructive behavior, but when she assured me she was (in this case) innocent, I searched further.
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John Sciacca Posted: Apr 01, 2014 19 comments
Ask virtually any music listener if they own any high-resolution audio files, and they’ll likely give you a blank stare, wait a beat, and then maybe come back with a question like, “You mean like CDs I put on my computer or something?”

For the record, high-resolution refers to music recorded at better than CD’s 44.1-kHz/16-bit quality, usually 96-kHz/24-bit, typically written as “96/24.” (See my high-rez audio audio primer here).

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John Sciacca Posted: Mar 18, 2014 0 comments
Once Cutting-Edge Systems Are Starting to Look like Dinosuars

Having been a custom installer since 1998, I’ve installed more than my share of housewide audio systems. And, as you can imagine, these systems have changed and evolved quite a bit over the years.

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John Sciacca Posted: Feb 18, 2014 1 comments
As a custom installer, I’m routinely asked, “What should I do with my old stuff?” It’s a great question, because with all the recent advancements and price drops in technology, lots of people are upgrading and ending up with older gear still in working order but with no idea what to do with it. If you find yourself in this predicament, here are some suggestions that I give to my clients.

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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 12, 2014 2 comments
While 3D demonstrations at CES were almost non-existent – other than some glasses-free technology demonstrations put on from some companies or the massive 140-panel mega-3D display outside of LG’s booth – there are still millions of 3D capable TVs already in the marketplace and people’s homes. Sensio looks to tap into this reservoir of displays by delivering tons of streaming 3D content directly to these displays with its 3DGO! rental service.

The company said that 3DGO! had to be “good 3D” which means good content, good quality and a good user experience. The UI was definitely slick, allowing you to easily navigate films and make a selection. The service currently offers about 100 titles and has deals inked with some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters in the form of Disney, Pixar, Paramount, Dreamworks Animation, Universal, Starz and National Geographic.

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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 12, 2014 0 comments
I stumbled across Bluesound at a suite in the Venetian on my last day of the show and I’m certainly glad that I did. This new company is comprised of many of the same people from NAD with a true passion for delivering uncompromised audio, and Bluesound looks to have an array of products that might be the first true high-end challenger to Sonos’ wireless music dominance.

The Bluesound system is comprised of four primary components: Node, PowerNode, Vault, and Pulse. With a combination of these units, you can build a wireless housewide music system that suits your needs and is capable of streaming FLAC, AAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, WMA-L, OGG and MP3 files up to full resolution 24-bit/192kHz quality!

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