Al Griffin  |  Jul 16, 2020  |  3 comments
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Q Can a TV’s built-in apps stream true 4K, or is it a lower resolution video format that the TV just upconverts to 4K? Also, would streaming via Wi-Fi instead of a hardwired Ethernet connection lower video resolution? —Cliff Parrish, via email

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 15, 2020  |  0 comments

PRICE $800

Effective local dimming
Precise HDR tracking
Low price
Poor off-center viewing
Minor banding artifacts

The Hisense 65H8G proves that even budget TVs now offer features enabling a high level of performance that was previously the domain of much pricier sets.

Hisense has joined the ranks of LCD TV makers using quantum dots, a technology that enables sets to more closely approach the wider color gamut promised by Ultra HDTV. (Quantum dots generate red and green light when energized by a blue LED, with the sum total providing the backlighting that LCD TVs require.) Along with the 65-inch 65H8G reviewed here, Hisense's H8G series also includes a 75-inch model, the largest flat-panel the company offers. For larger screen sizes, the company offers a range of ultra short throw laser projectors.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 14, 2020  |  2 comments
My last blog was limited to placement of the left and right speakers in 2-channel system, or just the left and right speakers in a home theater setup. There’s a lot more involved with a full surround sound setup....The remaining speaker channels we haven’t yet discussed are the center, the surrounds, and possibly Dolby Atmos. I’ll limit this discussion to 5.X or 5.X.4 setups, both with and without four Atmos speakers (for newbies, the 0.4 in the 5.2.4 designation describes the number of Atmos speakers, and the X is a stand-in here for the number of subwoofers, most often one or two). There’s a wide range of additional possibilities, including front height speakers, two additional surrounds (7.X.4), more than four Atmos speakers (though we don’t know of any consumer Atmos sources that offer more than four discrete Atmos channels), or only two rather than four Atmos speakers. But I suspect that 5.1.4 or 5.2.4 (five main channels, one or two subs, and four Atmos speakers) will describe most readers’ setups....
Al Griffin  |  Jul 13, 2020  |  2 comments
Harman Luxury Audio has announced that the JBL Conceal Series invisible loudspeakers the group first displayed at CEDIA 2019 are now available.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  2 comments
When we think shark, we think scares, but the incredible thrills that helped propel Jaws to the #1 box office crown in 1975 would not have been nearly as effective without a rock-solid story and engaging characters. (That's one explanation for the many awful rip-offs.) Peter Benchley's best-selling first novel gave director/ uncredited screenwriter Steven Spielberg tremendous fodder, with concrete plot points, clear motivations, and rich backstories.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  0 comments
The latest soundbar to emerge from Polk Audio is the $499 MagniFi 2, a 2.1 model featuring a six-driver array (four 1-inch by 3-inch full-range drivers, two 0.75-inch tweeters) and an 8-inch ported wireless subwoofer. It also features Chromecast built-in and Bluetooth for audio streaming. But what’s most notable about the MagniFi 2—aside from its affordable price—is the inclusion of the company’s patented Stereo Dimensional Array (SDA) technology, along with a new 3D Audio Mode that works with SDA tech to “create even more convincing immersive surround and height effects,” according to the company.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 09, 2020  |  0 comments
Staying at home for three-plus months gave us lots of time take stock of our lives. To rethink family relationships, rekindle dormant hobbies, reconnect with old friends, and reflect on everything — including what entertainment at home looks like. TiVo’s annual Video Trends Report sheds some light on that question.
John Sciacca  |  Jul 08, 2020  |  0 comments
PRICE $649

Unbeatable price point
Supports major streaming services
Good connectivity options
Analog audio quality
Occasional lockups

The SRT4 is a value-priced multi-zone streamer that will fill your house with music for not much money, but also comes with ergonomic and sound quality limitations.

Housewide audio distribution has evolved rapidly over the past few years, with new systems abandoning traditional music sources like CD changers and terrestrial radio tuners to move almost exclusively to streamed content. When it comes to choosing a multizone music streamer for a system, the buying criteria today often boils down to how many streaming services it supports, app ease of use, and cost.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 08, 2020  |  0 comments
More ways to watch videos with friends are now available to share on Hulu, Amazon, Disney Plus, HBO and more. Here's how to create watch parties in Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, video chat with friends in Scener and share your Plex library.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 07, 2020  |  5 comments
Marantz today dropped details on its 2020 SR-Series A/V Receiver lineup. There are four SR-Series AVRs in all, ranging from the 7-2-channel SR5015 ($1,099) up to the flagship SR8015 ($3,199), a 13.2 model with 11 built-in 140-watt amplifier channels. The new AVRs will be made available on a stepped basis, with the first model arriving in mid-July.