Thomas J. Norton  |  May 02, 2017  |  1 comments
We all have our favorite reference discs—the ones we pull out to show off our system to friends. UHD has now given us a lot to choose from, whether your preference is for action spectaculars or more subtle, thoughtful fare. But there’s now a new king of the home theater hill.

In 2007 the multi-part BBC nature documentary Planet Earth first appeared on broadcast television, and later came out on DVD and Blu-ray. Directed and narrated by British naturalist David Attenborough, it was widely praised (though as I recall the commentary on the US broadcasts substituted actress Sigourney Weaver for Attenborough—a not entirely effective move).

But now we have its 2016 follow-up, Planet Earth II...

SV Staff  |  May 02, 2017  |  0 comments
A newly restored director’s edition of the 1995 crime drama Heat, starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, is returning to theaters tonight for a one night engagement in advance of its May 9 release on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD.
SV Staff  |  May 01, 2017  |  0 comments
Onkyo and Integra have released a firmware update that adds Chromecast audio streaming and Google Home voice capability to a dozen products.
Al Griffin  |  May 01, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I just purchased a Samsung Ultra HDTV and plan to buy an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. My current AV receiver is four years old. Is there any way I can get a 4K picture and Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio sound without having to buy a new receiver? —Michael Errico / via email

Rob Sabin  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
Vizio officially showed off its new 2017 flat-panel display line-up in New York this week, with an emphasis on demonstrations designed to show off their improved technology and, as usual, high value.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  3 comments

Audio Performance
PRICE $2,199

Nine amp channels
HEOS multiroom compatibility
Audyssey, ISF, Control4, Crestron
No PC-friendly USB jack

The Marantz SR7011 is a state-of-the-art receiver with excellent room correction, fine overall sound, and the potential for HEOS multiroom extension.

The D+M Group was formed in 2002 with the merger of Denon and Marantz, each a powerhouse in A/V receivers and other audio categories. Through several changes of ownership, the two brands have remained distinct, with different cosmetic looks, slightly different feature sets, and slightly different voicings; each team has its own sound-tuning engineers and expert listeners. But as a reader once pointed out, popping the lid on comparably priced models from the two brands may reveal a close kinship in circuit layouts, suggesting certain economies of scale. And the new top-of-the-line AVR from Marantz further mimics its sister brand by adopting HEOS multiroom connectivity, a feature previously associated with Denon. Our review sample of the receiver arrived with Denon’s HEOS 7 and HEOS 1 speakers, and we put them through their paces together.

Chris Chiarella  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
Anchored by a disquietingly reserved performance from star Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy), this Portrait is an artful character study of a very bad man. Loosely based upon documented events, Henry explores the unspeakable crimes of an unrepentant murderer, a dark soul whose bleak existence is punctuated by frequent acts of violence. And when he brings his particularly loathsome roommate into the fold, no one in Chicago is safe. The matter-of-fact dramatic style makes the instances of gore hit that much harder, and yet plot developments are sometimes revealed in clever, original ways.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
Max is living a great dog’s life. But one day his owner brings home Duke, a huge, stray shaggy-dog from the pound. Duke makes himself at home, much to Max’s chagrin. But one day, when the apartment house’s loopy dog walker is distracted, both Max and Duke get into a tussle, break free, and end up lost in New York.
SV Staff  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
While April didn’t necessarily shower us with gear goodness, it turned in a lucky seven lineup of Top Pick recommendations. From two mind-blowing speaker systems and the world’s first planar-magnetic in-ear headphones to a spectacular Ultra HD Blu-ray player and a pair of projectors that meet different needs, there’s something here for everyone.
Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
I have never been a fan of soundbars. How can a little row of speakers replace the full-range sound of a true home-theater speaker system? It just can’t. However, soundbars heavy-set cousin, the soundbase, provides an interesting middle ground. I was skeptical of the Fluance AB40 Wide Angle soundbase when it first showed up, but after spending some time getting to know it, my opinion has changed—dramatically.