Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Jul 07, 2016  |  7 comments
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Q I have plans to buy a new LG 65EF9500 OLED TV. Here’s my question: How long a break-in period would you recommend before having it professionally calibrated? I used my current Panasonic plasma for about 100 hours before having it calibrated.  Also, can any ISF-certified technician handle an OLED TV, or does it require special training? —John Violette

A It’s recommended that you treat an OLED TV the same as you would a plasma for the first 100 hours of use, being careful not to leave fixed images like electronic program guides or paused video game frames onscreen for an extended amount of time. This will be especially important when viewing high dynamic range (HDR) content with the 65EF9500. LG even warns about the potential for burn-in in the EF9500’s manual and recommends steps you can take to prevent it, though any image retention you experience in most situations should only be temporary.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 23, 2016  |  5 comments
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Q It’s my understanding that the overhead speakers in a Dolby Atmos system are meant to create diffused sound. I have a pair of dipole surround speakers with a front-facing woofer and side-facing drivers. Could these be used in a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos system if I hung them from my cathedral ceiling with the woofer facing down and the side drivers firing to the front and back of the room? — Al Erdelyi / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jun 16, 2016  |  6 comments
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Q I have a substantial amount of money invested in my home theater. With the arrival of object-based Dolby Atmos/DTS:X audio and High Dynamic Range video, not to mention the forthcoming ATSC 3.0 Digital TV standard, I’d like to know which components in my rig should I replace first? Also, how much should I plan to spend for each upgrade? —R. Hill / Chattanooga, TN

Q The first component I’d recommend upgrading is your A/V receiver. Why? New 2016 receivers from Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Pioneer, and Anthem are equipped to provide Dolby Atmos and, in some cases, DTS:X processing (either out of the box or via a firmware upgrade). Along with offering the latest advancements in home theater audio, 2016 receivers should all be outfitted with HDMI 2.0a connections. Why is that important? Because HDMI 2.0a, the latest HDMI version, accommodates a range of new video technologies including 4K/Ultra HD resolution, 10-bit color, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Plan to spend $500 and up for a new HDMI 2.0a-equipped receiver with object-based audio support.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 09, 2016  |  6 comments
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Q I have an Onkyo TX NR1009 AV receiver that I operate in a 7.2 configuration. All is well when I watch a movie with a 7.1 soundtrack since my couch is inline with the back surround speakers. However, when I watch movies or TV with 5.1 sound the rear speakers go silent and I need to shift my position to be inline with the side surround speakers. Is it possible to have the receiver route the 5.1 signal so the back surround speakers remain active and I don’t have to change my seating position? —George Yeoh

Al Griffin  |  Jun 03, 2016  |  1 comments
When you hear the term wireless speakers, chances are you think of Sonos. There’s good reason for that. Sonos staked out the wireless speaker category early on, establishing a solid product line known for reliable performance, engaging sound, and a user-friendly app that controls speakers in multiple rooms around the home. It also didn’t hurt that Sonos had the marketing budget in recent years for Super Bowl commercials—not exactly something that audio manufacturers are known for doing.
Al Griffin  |  Jun 01, 2016  |  2 comments
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Q My TV is currently installed at the perfect eye-level for 3D viewing. To make space for new equipment, however, I will need to move my set from its stand and mount it higher than eye-level on the wall behind the stand. If I use a tilt mount to adjust the screen’s angle, can I get the same great 3D viewing experience that I’m accustomed to? —Jack Barker

Al Griffin  |  May 30, 2016  |  7 comments
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Q I have a Vizio M70-C3 UHD TV, a Roku 4 streaming media device, and a Sony HT-XT1 Sound Base. My question is, can the Sony’s HDMI passthrough route 4K movies from the Roku to the HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 input on the Vizio TV? — Damon J. Jackson / via email

Al Griffin  |  May 26, 2016  |  4 comments
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Q I need some help connecting my old equipment to my new equipment. I own the following: Denon AVR-S900W AV receiver, Panasonic TC-P60ST60 plasma TV, a Roku box, and an over-the-air antenna for receiving local HDTV channels.  Here’s my question: How can I connect my Panasonic DMR-EH75VS combination DVD recorder/VCR to the system and record programming as I did back when I had a satellite TV subscription? —Tim Raab

Al Griffin  |  May 18, 2016  |  6 comments
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Q I would like to know if my current Vizio TV (P502Ui-B1E) and Pioneer receiver (VSX-1130-K) will be able to support both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats.  I’d really prefer not to have to upgrade the Pioneer receiver since it was purchased recently to support both 4K@60Hz video and Dolby Atmos audio in my system. I'm also interested in picking up LG’s 65EF9500 OLED, a 2015 model,  but am wondering the same thing about HDR support on that TV.  —Johnston Cheng

Al Griffin  |  May 18, 2016  |  2 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
PRICE $1,400

Ultra short throw design
Accurate color
Built-in smart/streaming features
Mediocre picture contrast
Limited brightness
Poor picture uniformity

LG’s PF1000U has a number of compelling convenience features, but its performance is well below that of other comparably priced 1080p projectors.

A compact, portable projector makes sense for a rec room or vacation home where a full-scale, full-time home theater isn’t possible—or even wanted. LG isn’t well known as a projector company, but they’ve been steadily building a portfolio of compact projector options over the past few years. Last year, I checked out the PF85U (, a 1080p model with an array of smart features, including Web browsing and Netflix streaming. This time around, I’m looking at LG’s PF1000U, another 1080p DLP model packed with an array of smart/streaming features.