Saturday night at Molasses Junction. Good food. Well, bar food. And spirits, lots of spirits. There are Harleys parked outside in the gravel lot. I pity the fool who backs his Prius into one of those hogs. Some attorneys and doctors ride Harleys on weekends. I scrutinize the gentlemen and ladies who are riding these Harleys and try to imagine any of them giving me an appendectomy. Uh, no. That’s never going to happen.
My table is lively with conversation. You already know how the thread goes. The government is messed up, our bosses grind on us all week long, the new Corvette blows the doors off the old Corvette, college football is way better than pro football. Then we talk about man caves. The mood intensity clicks up a notch. Man caves are serious business. Who has 4K? Who doesn’t? The question of cost comes up...
The plunging, fiery death of plasma TVs, the mind bendingly questionable benefits of curved TVs, the looks-awesome-up-close-and-personal 4K TVs, the ridiculously low prices on ridiculously big TVs, the intriguing new investments in quantum-dot TV manufacturing plants—the wide world of televisions is lively with fast and furious developments. But there is one development in particular that, I think, will overshadow all the others.
It is the patriotic duty of every American man, woman, and child to go shopping for a TV on Black Friday. After spending most of Thursday up-armoring me and my vehicle, I went to a Best Buy on Friday morning. Two observations: First, I lived to tell about it. Second, it takes about 20 minutes for the ambulance to drive from the Best Buy to the nearest ER.
You remember Gravity, right? Outer space, pulverized space ships, Sandra Bullock floating weightlessly, heavy breathing—pretty good film from both a technical and narrative standpoint. You might already have a copy on Blu-ray. But I'd like to give you two reasons to consider buying it again. A new "Diamond Luxe Edition" Blu-ray due in February promises to be very interesting for both film aficionados and home-theater enthusiasts. Doubly interesting if you are both.
Spinal Tap band member Nigel Tufnel is showing his equipment to director Marty DiBergi and points out that the volume controls on his Marshall guitar amp go to 11. “It’s one louder,” he helpfully explains. DiBergi asks why not just make a
“10” setting louder. A confused Tufnel replies, “These go to 11.”
The scene is renowned and has entered the popular culture as a way to point out needless excess, and particularly excess that demonstrates confusion, or otherwise serves no purpose. It’s my opinion that some audio technology now has knobs that go to 11.
As you know, LG is pulling the plug on its plasma production. Over time, LG expects that OLED will become the dominant TV technology. But, that time isn't quite here yet, mainly because OLED isn't entirely affordable for everyone. But with plasma going, going, gone, what technology is best suited for lower-cost LG screens? Enter the dots.
Congratulations! You, the president of a multinational audio technology company, are a man among boys. You are a captain of industry, a titan of corporate prowess. Under your command, your dozens of factories and thousands of employees toil to bring forth wondrous new products. And what wonders they are—your portable CD players are the best of the best. People line up to buy your cutting edge in-dash head units. In a few months, your keynote will blow away the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show. Then you wake up, alarm buzzing. It's 2014. Hitting the snooze button isn't an option.
I am excited. I am thrilled. I am checking my credit-card balance to make sure I can afford an upgrade to the audio side of my home theater. When Leslie Shapiro and I reviewed the theatrical release of the Atmos mix of Oblivion in April, 2013 at soundandvision.com, we were blown away. We wrote, “If you wisely see this film in Atmos, you will experience true state-of-the-art sound design and theatrical playback. It’s an open secret that Dolby will roll out Atmos to home theaters. When will that day come?” That day has
We loved them. We cherished them. We truly believed that we had purchased the last TV we would ever need to purchase. That's because picture quality could never get any better. Plasma was awesome! Wow! Look at those black levels.
Then, as they say, time marched on. Technology improved. Market sentiment shifted; people wanted something newer and cooler. Much like the dinosaurs, plasma TVs looked up in the sky and wondered—what's the deal with that huge flaming mass of asteroid hurtling down at me?
When I reviewed the original Charge last year, I wrote, “Long playback time, decent sound quality, compact size, and last but not least – the ability to keep your phone charged - the Charge does it all. Amid a sea of small speakers, this one merits a look and a listen.” Apparently millions of people, well, thousands, or perhaps hundreds, or at least more than a handful, agreed. That prompted JBL to capitalize on the success of the original to bring out a successor, the Charge 2. JBL is of the opinion that it is new and improved. I agree that it is new, but is it improved?