Wide Angle

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Al Griffin  |  May 16, 2012  |  0 comments

SRS, a company best known for audio processing used to improve the sound of on-board TV speakers — and one that was recently acquired by movie sound bigwig DTS — has been steadily promoting its Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA) concept over the past two years, demoing the audio creation/distribution platform to movie studios, music labels, and journalists alike. This spring saw the establishment of version 1.0 of the MDA spec, along with the release of MDA Creator, a plug-in designed for a range of popular audio workstations that enables sound mixers to store audio in the MDA format. Now, the company has added the MDA Director app to its list of new things for 2012.

Al Griffin  |  May 24, 2012  |  0 comments

Ever wonder why there are so many great Canadian speaker companies? Here’s one reason: government intervention. Canada’s government-sponsored National Research Council, which, among other things, facilitates research in the fields of speaker measurement, signal processing, and noise control, has proven to be a breeding ground for speaker design.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 02, 2011  |  0 comments

It’s that time of year again when the undead walk the earth. But along with ghosts, vampires, and zombies, another partially animated entity haunts us: Blu-ray players in need of a firmware update.

Al Griffin  |  May 29, 2013  |  1 comments

The 2002 film version of Spider-Man was a success on many levels, but most of its magic can be attributed to director Sam Raimi (he of Evil Dead fame), who put his distinctive visual stamp on the production. Spider-Man is also perfectly cast, with Tobey Maguire playing a wide-eyed Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, and Willem Dafoe chewing up the screen as Spider-Man nemesis Green Goblin.

Al Griffin  |  Sep 24, 2019  |  0 comments
Following an overriding trend that started many years back, the annual Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) expo, held this year at the Denver Convention Center, showcased an abundance of home automation technologies — everything from networked, voice-controlled window shades and lighting to home security systems. The show even had “wellness rooms” that seek to bring the outdoor experience indoors via circadian lighting, purified air, and ambient nature sounds.
Al Griffin  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Need something to watch on that new 8K TV? (You have one of those, of course, don’t you?) Florian Friedrich, a developer who creates HDR mastering software and who has worked with video expert Joe Kane to develop UHDTV test content, has created a reformatted 8K version of the 8K footage NASA recently made available for download on its website.

It apparently was necessary for Friedrich to reformat the original NASA 8K footage because it wouldn’t play on the Samsung 8K TV that he initially tried it with. Why not? According to Friedrich, “The whole encoding was not optimized for playback with CE-devices: wrong video levels, incompatible MPEG profile, critical bitrate.”

Al Griffin  |  Sep 27, 2011  |  0 comments

As an A/V connection standard, HDMI has its downsides: limited cable length, glitches, slow switching, and version upgrades that make new gear incompatible with old stuff — the list goes on. But a major upside is that one interconnect can handle the jobs previously carried out by a thick wad of cables. In its most current version, HDMI 1.4, a single link will convey high-def video/multichannel audio, link devices to a local network (HDMI Ethernet Channel), and route audio signals from a TV back out to an A/V receiver  (Audio Return Channel). Sweet!

But any TV making the hook-up also needs to be plugged into a power socket. That means an additional wire, plus the logistical problem of locating a TV near an AC outlet — or, for a wall-mounted installation, of embedding one within the wall (a task that generally requires the services of an electrician). Wouldn’t it be great if HDMI also carried power?

HDMI can’t. But HDBaseT can.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 06, 2012  |  0 comments

It's summertime, and that means outdoor concerts. Here in the far other end of New York state, we typically get to lay out our blankets and take in a predictable bunch of touring acts from the '70s and '80s. Peter Frampton? Check. Huey Lewis and the News? Check. Yes? Yes. The Jesus and Mary Chain. Um, did you say "The Jesus And Mary Chain?"

Al Griffin  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
Not to be outdone by Samsung, LG had its own 8K TV to show at IFA 2018, this one an 88-inch OLED model.
Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  1 comments
The IFA show happening right now in Berlin, Germany is as much about home appliances as A/V electronics — I’ve never seen so many refrigerators in one place in my life. Still, there are interesting products to report on, particularly the new 8K TVs from Samsung and LG.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  0 comments
Road trips are a common enough activity in the U.S., but most, if not all, drivers leave their loudspeakers behind. Not Wendell Diller. The marketing mind behind Magnepan hit the road earlier this year with the company’s 30.7 Magneplanar loudspeaker, a flagship model, in tow. The plan? To visit every one of the company’s U.S. dealers and demo the new $30,000/pair loudspeaker.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 19, 2012  |  0 comments

Back before the development of 33 1/3-rpm vinyl records (those things that DJ types and a few of us here at Sound+Vision collect) and CDs, people used to listen to music using something called the 78, a 10-inch disc format that spun at 78 revolutions per minute and was made from a variety of materials during its lifespan, including rubber, shellac, and, ultimately, vin

Al Griffin  |  May 11, 2012  |  0 comments

You hear plenty about Sony in the news these days. Reports usually cite the company’s latest staggering financial loss, followed by something on its most recent vow to get its house in order by cutting business interests it no longer deems profitable.

One biz that’s apparently dragging Sony down is LCD TV. In an effort to turn things around, the company recently sold its stake in a LCD panel manufacturing venture it owned jointly with Samsung. But even though Sony is no longer involved in manufacturing raw LCD panel components, it is still very much involved in selling TVs. The company also claims significant performance advantages over other LCD TV brands — and it isn’t afraid to demonstrate those advantages in a side-by-side shoot-out.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 02, 2013  |  0 comments

Samsung is about to make good on a promise to make Smart TVs even smarter.

Al Griffin  |  Jul 19, 2011  |  0 comments

Sometimes the mere fact of something being inaccessible can enhance its value — a lot. Take Spotify, for example. For years we’ve wondered when music labels would finally allow the European online music service to make its supposed 15 million-track library available here. That day has finally arrived.

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