LATEST ADDITIONS

SV Staff  |  Jan 03, 2018  |  0 comments
Control4, a leader in smart home controls systems, today announced its acquisition of Ihiji, a company specializing in technology that enables home tech integrators to service connected homes remotely over the internet.
SV Staff  |  Jan 03, 2018  |  1 comments
LG is turning to the world’s factory — China — to help secure its future as the standard bearer of OLED.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 02, 2018  |  First Published: Jan 03, 2018  |  0 comments
Photo: Jim Summaria

British blues-rock pioneers Savoy Brown continue to fly the flag quite mightily on their current album, Witchy Feelin’. Kim Simmonds, their bandleader/guitarist/vocalist for over 52 years and counting, got on the line to discuss the importance of incorporating hooks and riffs together in songs, what he specifically listens for in order to garner creative inspiration, and why he can never relax as an artist.

SV Staff  |  Jan 02, 2018  |  1 comments
Amazon’s New Fire TV is a cube-shaped dongle that brings Ultra HD to a middling price point of $70. Does it speak Alexa? Of course!...

Comcast Is Upping the cost of its Broadcast TV and Regional Sports Network services by $3.50 to $14.50 a month. These very charges have attracted a class-action consumer lawsuit claiming Comcast “secretly and repeatedly” increased them and employees “explicitly lie” by calling them government-related fees and taxes...

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 02, 2018  |  2 comments
It seemed like a good idea. Novel, kind of offbeat, hip for sure, and overall just a nice bit of PR. But, of course, on the Internet, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

SV Staff  |  Dec 31, 2017  |  First Published: Dec 30, 2017  |  0 comments
We reviewed 13 products in December but only eight made the cut. Among them are three exemplary projectors ranging in price from $2,200 to $6,000, a fabulous sounding set of compact speakers with built-in power, excellent planar-magnetic headphones from a classic audio brand, a unique hi-res digital recording system that disciples of vinyl will love, and a separates-based 5.1-channel system that gives you everything you need except a source for just over two grand. As we ring in the New Year, any of these products would be a fine addition to your 2018 AV lineup.
Rob Sabin  |  Dec 29, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Typical Sonos build and sound quality
Alexa voice control
Minus
No Bluetooth
No hi-res audio

THE VERDICT
Sonos was slow to deliver a voice-controlled smart speaker, but with integrated Alexa (and Google Assistant arriving soon) in what amounts to a redesigned Play:1, they've created a nearly irresistible, low-cost intro to their wireless ecosystem.

The full impact of the home-based voice-actuated assistant, invented first by Amazon in the guise of Alexa, then followed by Google and now Apple with its Siri-driven HomePod, has yet to be felt. The category has loosely evolved into what we are now calling the "smart speaker," though it is not the speaker, but the microphone (or mic array) in conjunction with a network connection that imbues these devices with their extraordinary power. Sure, the speaker plays music, perhaps the simplest of its voice-controlled functions and (according to a recent study by NPR/Edison Research, the activity a smart speaker is still most frequently used for). But the opportunity presented by an artificially intelligent device that can respond to human language and trigger any number of events in our environment possesses extraordinary potential for transforming our lives. The fact that the most sophisticated of these voice interfaces to date, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, are offered in open, licensed platforms and being constantly advanced and promoted by two of the world's richest tech giants, suggests that we are on the verge of an explosion of innovation. The best is yet to come.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 29, 2017  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Good resolution in HD and UHD
Impressive HDR
Low price
Minus
Contrast and black level could be better
Manual HDR/SDR switching

THE VERDICT
The Epson 4000 offers an effective combination of HDR and SDR projection at a price that seemed impossible a year ago.

Native 4K imaging—where the chips display all 8.3 million individual pixels (3840 x 2160) in each frame simultaneously—is still rare in an affordable consumer projector. Currently, the entry price is $5,000, for Sony’s new VPL-VW285ES. But last year, Epson introduced two 3LCD models that use pixel shifting to achieve an apparent resolution close to 4K. The less expensive of the two was the PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB, still selling, as I write this, for around $2,700. (Its virtual twin, the Pro Cinema 6040UB, was reviewed in the October 2016 Sound & Vision.)

SV Staff  |  Dec 28, 2017  |  1 comments
Electrocompaniet Tana SL-1 Wireless Speaker
Recently introduced to North America, the Tana SL-1 from Norwegian high-end audio maker Electrocompaniet is built to deliver hi-res music over an existing Wi-Fi network. The two-way bass-reflex speaker is housed in a compact 10 x 7 x 7-inch aluminum cabinet along with a 150-watt Class A/B amplifier, 192-kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), and 32-bit floating-point digital signal processor.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2017  |  10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I currently use a receiver for watching movies in 5.1 surround and for listening to stereo music. I’d like to expand my system with a dedicated stereo preamplifier and amplifier for music playback but have realized that I would need to switch the cables of my main left/right speakers from the receiver to the amplifier every time I changed over from movies to music. Is there some type of switchbox that would enable such a setup? If so, is there an audiophile-grade version that wouldn’t negatively affect the sound? One more question: Would I be able use my subwoofer with both configurations? —Raphaël Rainville / via e-mail

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