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?
Boy, oh boy, do I feel like an idiot. I read a news item this morning, and it unleashed a series of tremendously brilliant insights that rocketed through my brain . Surely, no one else had ever so deeply penetrated into the nature of the truth of things. Now, it occurs to me that in fact, everyone else had realized all this long ago. Captain Obvious had struck again.
I am not a cheapskate. I am, however, very careful with my money. Okay, actually I am a cheapskate. In my weak defense, I work hard for the money, and I feel bad, real bad, when I underutilize its value. The continual drip, drip, drip of monthly fees particularly drives me nuts. Thus cord-cutting greatly interests me. Aereo was shining bright on my radar until the Supreme Court shot it out of the sky. Hmm, how can I get a cable experience with an antenna? Enter the TiVo Roamio OTA.
I am a huge fan of Dolby Atmos in commercial movie theaters. I routinely specifically choose to see movies in theaters that are Atmos-equipped, and will gladly pay a little extra if necessary. The immersion provided by Atmos playback, particularly from the array of ceiling speakers, is remarkable and in my opinion measurably improves the movie experience.
Thus I was overjoyed when the rumors of Atmos at home came true. The prospect of hearing Atmos soundtracks in my home theater suddenly made me excited about home-theater audio again. I could hardly wait for the specifications to be released, so I could install the necessary speakers, and buy whatever gear I would need. Now, comments from a Dolby heavyweight have made me a little nervous.
You probably read about it in the news. Some filmmakers were making a documentary on the history of Atari, and they became intrigued by an urban legend of lost video games. To solve the mystery, they brought in heavy equipment and dug into a
Although MP3 files may not entirely deserve all the scorn heaped on them, it is widely accepted that it was the proliferation of those files that put the whammy on high-end audio. Despite the availability of higher quality formats like CD, SACD and DVD-Audio, conventional wisdom says the convenience of MP3 led consumers to dumb down their audio expectations. Now, is it possible that an old-school audio company and a brand name largely associated with cassettes could lead the way back to high audio quality?
It comes as no surprise to you that smartphones are taking over the world. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention is swiftly achieving total domination, 138 years after its invention. Of course, today’s smartphones are a far cry from “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” But I digress.
I offer you a data point demonstrating how firmly smartphones are in charge: Specifically, I offer the premise that smartphones will be a primary factor that drives adoption of 4K televisions. That’s right - your phone will persuade you to buy a new TV.
As you probably know, the Supreme Court took a dim view of Aereo, and ruled that its activities were illegal because Aereo violated broadcasters’ copyrights. In response, Aereo pulled the plug. Literally. Within hours, it notified its subscribers that the jig was up, and that it was shutting down. Signals went dark, and remaining subscriptions will be refunded. R.I.P. Aereo. But wait a minute.....