The Big Picture

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 23, 2010  |  3 comments
As the song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year—or the most dreadful, depending on whether or not you plan to join the buying frenzy on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Many stores open at an ungodly hour and offer seemingly outrageous deals on certain products to get people in the door, hoping that they'll buy more than they bargained for and put the store's accounts in the black for the year, which is why it's called Black Friday—either that, or it might be due to all the black eyes resulting from fights over the last remaining $60 Blu-ray player.

I've been looking at some Black Friday previews, and I've found some apparently great deals on flat panels, Blu-ray players, and other home-theater gear. Unfortunately, many stores do not reveal the model number of the sale items, making it difficult to judge just how good these deals really are, and as far as I can tell, none of them are flagship products. Still, there are a few that I think are good enough to share with you…

Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 18, 2010  |  0 comments
On Tuesday evening, Tom Norton and I went to see Megamind in Imax 3D, and I have to say it's one of the best animated 3D movies I've seen to date. The delightful, touching, often hilarious story is an original and unexpected riff on good vs. evil—and how the boundary between them is often not so clear—and the voice acting by Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, and Brad Pitt is superb.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 25, 2010  |  0 comments
In the fast-paced Web world, nothing remains the same for long. So it is with We decided it was time for a major makeover, and the result is now staring you in the face—welcome to the new UAV!
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 30, 2010  |  9 comments

I know, I know—I'm a little late to the party. I just saw Despicable Me, even though it's been in theaters for three weeks. I rarely see a movie on its opening weekend—I really hate waiting in line only to get a lousy seat right in front of a fidgety kid—but I don't normally wait this long for such a hyped 3D title. So how was it?

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  16 comments

With all the buzz about Toy Story 3, my expectations were pretty high, and I wasn't disappointed when I saw it in Imax 3D—that is, I wasn't disappointed in the story or the 3D, which was among the best I've ever seen. However, the particular presentation I attended at the AMC Burbank 16 did have some problems.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 04, 2010  |  4 comments

I just saw <I>Shrek 4D The Final Chapter Forever After...whatever</I> in Imax 3D. (I really wish DreamWorks had settled on one name for its marketing campaign!) I went because I want to see as much 3D as possible, but after reading several lukewarm reviews, I was prepared to be unimpressed, at least with the story.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 21, 2010  |  9 comments

I get lots of thoughtful, intelligent e-mail from our readers, which I greatly appreciate, even&#151;sometimes especially&#151;when they disagree with my positions. But once in a while, a real doozy arrives in my inbox. Normally, I ignore these rants, but I recently received one that I'd like to share, along with my responses. The original is mostly one very long, convoluted paragraph regarding <A href="">my blog about Roger Ebert's hatred of 3D</A>. I will break it up here and respond to each point in turn, and I'll edit for clarity, doing my best to retain the writer's intended meaning.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 16, 2010  |  12 comments

<I>For the average consumer who takes a new LCD or plasma TV out of the box, what is the best way to set it up for home use? What is the name of the DVD used for adjusting and fine tuning?

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 23, 2010  |  18 comments

I recently posted an item in the Ultimate Gear blog about <A href="">Nordost Odin audio and power cables</A>, the company's flagship, ultra-expensive line. What do I mean by "ultra-expensive"? How about $20,000 for a 3-foot pair of speaker cables? As you might expect, this stimulated many contentious comments about whether or not such cables can possibly affect the sound enough to justify such an exorbitant price tag.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 09, 2010  |  15 comments

On Sunday, March 7, the 2010 Academy Awards were handed out at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, and like 41.3 million other viewers around the world (including 3.1 million New York Cablevision subscribers who almost didn't get to see it due to a dispute with ABC), my wife and I watched the spectacle live as it unfolded only a few miles from our house. Well, okay, we didn't watch it live, exactly&#151;we waited a couple of hours so we could skip through the commercials and acceptance speeches thanks to TiVo. So what I'd like to know from you is...

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 01, 2010  |  47 comments

This whole Panasonic plasma black-level thing really bugs me, and I'm not alone. Shoppers are shying away from Panny plasmas because they just don't know if the black level will increase significantly after months or years of use, and frankly, neither do I. In an effort to learn as much as possible about the phenomenon, I turn to you, our readers, for help. To anyone who owns a 2008 or 2009 Panasonic plasma, I pose the following question:

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 12, 2010  |  29 comments

It's been a bad week for Panasonic. A report of suddenly rising black levels in its 2008 and '09 plasmas gained some serious traction throughout the A/V community over the past few days, even though it's been brewing since July 31, 2009, when AVS Forum member Orta (who I assume is male) <A href="">posted that his TC-P50G10 doubled its black level literally overnight, with measurements to prove it</A>. As you might imagine, this led to a flurry of concern, to which Panasonic finally responded with this official statement:

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 05, 2010  |  13 comments

To paraphrase The Firesign Theatre, we're all A/V geeks on this bus. We can't get enough about Blu-ray players, high-def displays, receivers, speakers, room acoustics, content creation and distribution, and all the other elements that contribute to an exceptional audio/video experience. To feed that need, I'm delighted to introduce a new feature to <I>UAV</I>&#151;<A href="">Home Theater Geeks</A>, a weekly, hour-long podcast in which I chat with the most important and influential technical experts in our industry about all things audio and video.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 02, 2010  |  5 comments

Last Sunday, my wife and I joined 25.8 million of our closest friends to watch the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on CBS. So why am I writing about it here? Because this is <I>Ultimate AV</I>, and the Grammys are all about the best in audio <I>and</I> video. The audio part is obvious&#151;this is "music's biggest night" honoring the best recording artists, and all the performances are live, a technological tour de force in its own right. But the show is no less dedicated to video, both on stage and in the home.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 20, 2010  |  33 comments

As I watched demo after demo of 3D at CES this year, I kept wondering if 3D is something that consumers really want or if it's being pushed on them by the studios and manufacturers in their quest to sell more products. So I decided to conduct a purely unscientific survey here on <I>UAV</I>. To participate, all you have to do is post a comment on this blog with your responses to any of the following questions, especially the first one: