Wide Angle

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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  |  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  |  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 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  |  Jun 11, 2018  |  4 comments
For me, a thrill that comes with the arrival of spring and summer months is jumping in my car and traveling in pursuit of music. Two months back, I saluted the warm weather, loaded up my Impreza, and drove a few hundred miles south to Takoma Park, Maryland to attend The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose, A Festival of American Primitive Guitar.
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.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 02, 2013  |  0 comments

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

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  |  Mar 09, 2012  |  0 comments

Though we got a good peek at them at the recent CES, Samsung’s 3/6 event in NYC gave Sound+Vision a chance to get even more up close and personal with the company’s new LCD and plasma Smart TVs.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Collecting records is an activity linked in most folks’ minds with combing through dusty stacks in cramped storefronts or at garage sales. But there’s an alternative way to check out vintage vinyl, and I don’t mean record fairs (though those are cool, too). I’m talking about YouTube.

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  |  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  |  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  |  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.

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