Al Griffin  |  Oct 01, 2020  |  5 comments
It seemed like a miracle when Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet was released in theaters a few weeks ago. But there was a dilemma. I live in New York State, and the governor hadn’t yet cleared movie theaters for reopening. And that’s still the case.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  0 comments
This year’s Roku fall lineup is a bit more interesting than in the past as the company has added new products and OS features aimed at A/V enthusiasts. The Roku Ultra streamer has been redesigned for better sound, video, and overall performance. The new Streambar is a hybrid Roku player and TV soundbar in a compact form. And updates to Roku OS 9.4 add some useful features. 
Leslie Shapiro  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  0 comments

PRICE $999

Rechargeable, fully wireless surrounds
Upfiring speakers for overhead effects
Easy to use auto-calibration
HDMI with eARC and Dolby Vision pass-through
Smart Mode processing difficult to switch on/off

The JBL Bar 9.1 system combines soundbar convenience with a level of immersive performance only achievable through dedicated surround and overhead effects speakers.

The JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar system provides one of the easiest ways to get a realistic Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio experience. JBL's secret? The Bar 9.1 uses a pair of detachable wireless, battery-operated surround speakers that can be situated anyplace in the room that's convenient. In addition, the Bar 9.1 has an auto-calibration feature that will adjust the sound to compensate for speaker placement.

Al Griffin  |  Sep 29, 2020  |  1 comments
Canada’s Bluesound, maker of multiroom wireless streamers, amps, speakers, and soundbars, has added a new subwoofer to its product lineup. With a larger 8-inch driver and 150-watt Smart DSP amplifier, The Pulse Sub+ ($749) appears to be a significant improvement over the company’s previous offering, the Pulse Sub. The new model can also be set up and adjusted via the company’s BluOS Controller app—a feature the earlier Pulse Sub lacked.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Sep 28, 2020  |  10 comments
Alert readers will recall that I recently chatted up the idea of building your own computer. Unlike most of my words, these were not idle. I needed a new computer for work on book projects, and I was also intent on finding a solid-state home for all my Compact Discs. So, following my own advice, I built a PC.

Josef Krebs  |  Sep 25, 2020  |  0 comments
At first glance, Marriage Story seems like six (or so) characters in search of a Woody Allen film. But it soon settles into writer-director Noah Baumbach's own rhythm and whine as two self-absorbed, narcissistic artistic personalities move toward a break-up and into the clutches of divorce lawyers.
Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 24, 2020  |  0 comments
Pandemic and all that ails 2020 be damned. The cool, crisp air of autumn has arrived and A/V makers are upping the frequency of new product releases in anticipation of what we all hope will be a joyous (and financially rewarding) holiday season. Here's a look at some of the new tech goodies headed your way.
Kris Deering  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments

Harmony Elite

Harmony Pro 2400
PRICE $350 (Harmony Elite), $550 (Harmony Pro 2400)

Easy setup and system integration
Cloud-based control and backup
Controls via IR, TCP/IP, and Bluetooth
Lacks Apple Siri support
Pro 2400 limited to custom installation channel

Harmony remotes offer the convenience and customization options of high-priced control systems, but without the intensive support requirements that come with them.

The biggest complaint I hear from clients when I'm out in the field doing video display calibration work involves problems with remote control systems. You'd think this would be because they have a stack of them to shuffle through, or they had bought some cheap off-the-rack universal remote at Walmart. On the contrary, the complaints are always about some high-end home automation system. As a happy Logitech Harmony remote control user, I've managed to avoid that direction. For the last few years, my remote of choice has been the Harmony Elite, which this review will focus on alongside its new cohort in the custom installation market, the Harmony Pro 2400.

John Sciacca  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments
In my last blog, I touched on the exciting world of voice control using widely available voice assistants from Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), and Apple (Siri) embedded in smart speakers and other devices. But what if your home has an advanced automation control system from a company like Control4, Crestron, or Savant? This time we look at the limitations of voice control in today’s smart homes.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 22, 2020  |  7 comments
I sort of expected it when I moved to Florida 5+ years ago, so when the eye of hurricane Sally struck about 100 miles west of here last week, it wasn’t really a surprise. It was Tuesday when the heavy rain started, and it continued through midday Wednesday. There was some wind, enough to drop a few trees within a mile of me, but heavy rain caused much of the damage. Over 20 inches fell in this area. They could have used that 20 inches on the west coast to kill the fires there; that’s something like eight years of rain at my former Los Angeles address! I hope no readers were seriously impacted by storms or wildfires on either side of the country.