Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  0 comments
Chinese TV makers are all over CES showing sets with the same high-end tech that Korean and Japanese companies are touting. While some companies — HiSense, for example — will sell those models through outlets familiar to U.S. consumers like Best Buy, others like Konka have no plans to ship their premium models to these shores.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  1 comments
For Sony’s CES exhibit, the company put the focus on its proprietary TV technology, rather than trot out an extended lineup of 2016 models. The model it used for the demos, which encompassed its new Slim Backlight Drive, 4K Processor X1, and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO, was the XBR X930D.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  2 comments
LG made a bold statement with its Signature model and other OLED TVs at CES, but it isn’t the only company hawking the technology. A surprisingly small A/V product showcase in Panasonic’s booth featured the company’s forthcoming 65CZ950 OLED UHDTV.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 29, 2015  |  3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have two preschool-aged kids who use my CDs and DVDs as Frisbees and coasters. For that reason alone, I feel a need to make a transition from physical media to computer-based playback. I bought an AppleTV so the kids could watch cartoons on Netflix, which solved some issues. When I used AirPlay to stream music to the Apple TV from my computer and tablet, however, I wasn’t impressed by the sound quality...

Should I retire my circa-1998 Acurus Act 3 preamp and buy a new model with HDMI/USB inputs, or should I spend a few hundred dollars on an add-on solution for my PC and get more mileage out of my current system? I have an unused Dell Vostro 230 computer with a 240-GB SSD drive and a 3-TB backup that I can co-opt for that purpose. — Paul Erickson / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Dec 22, 2015  |  5 comments
TV shopping has become vastly more complicated over the past decade. Buyer confusion used to revolve around issues of 720p versus 1080p, LCD versus plasma, edge-lit versus full-array, 3D or not 3D, and “What’s a smart TV?” All manageable problems, in retrospect.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 17, 2015  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Are different wireless speakers compatible with each other? I own several Sonos speakers, but have recently noticed more top-line speaker makers (e.g., Definitive Technology, Polk) starting to distribute their own. As I continue expanding my wireless hook-ups, I’m wondering if I'm locked-in to using just Sonos? —Stephen Romanelli

Al Griffin  |  Dec 09, 2015  |  4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Several months ago, I cut the cord and started relying on over-the-air digital broadcasts for TV, supplemented by a Roku streaming box. Here’s my issue: I get decent reception, but know that it could be better if my indoor TV antenna was located at a higher point in the house. My wife, however, doesn't want an outdoor antenna installed on the roof or in the attic. Running cable from the second floor to the first is also out of the question. Is there a solution similar to wireless speakers that would let me install the antenna and a wireless transmitter on the second floor with a receiver connected to the TV on the first? —Rick Mesick / Simsbury, CT

Al Griffin  |  Dec 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I store my music collection on an iMac and use iTunes for playback. I have a plan to use two JBL powered studio monitors and an old Sunfire MKII subwoofer for a desktop speaker system. Here’s my question: How do I set the system up for optimal sound quality? Should I buy a USB DAC? If I did, how would I integrate it with the speakers and sub? Is there a DAC with three RCA outputs and a built-in subwoofer crossover? —Rick Martinez

Al Griffin  |  Nov 25, 2015  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color
Good contrast
Inexpensive
Minus
So-so shadow detail

THE VERDICT
Vizio’s E65-C3 is a very good HDTV that delivers considerable bang for the buck.

Let’s hear it for the good, old-fashioned HDTV. You know, the sort that once wowed us with its ability to display crisp, highdefinition broadcasts, Blu-ray Discs, and other next-gen sources of home entertainment. In recent years, however, HDTVs have been upstaged by Ultra HDTVs— fancy-pants upstarts that promise compatibility with all manner of future innovations, from UHD Blu-ray to High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. It should come as no surprise, then, that such sets cost on average 50 percent more than their regular HDTV brethren.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 24, 2015  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Spacious sound
Fold-up, portable design
Cool conversation piece
Minus
Limited volume
Limited bass
Pricey compared with Bluetooth speakers with similar volume/bass capabilities

THE VERDICT
BenQ’s treVolo is a lush-sounding Bluetooth speaker that should please audiophiles with reasonable expectations.

Portable Bluetooth speakers range from toy-like novelties you can tote along in the shower to high-end Danish audio lunch boxes designed to survive a day at the beach. In between, you’ll find plenty of other options ranging from cheap and bad-sounding to pricey and good-sounding.

With Bluetooth speakers starting to become not just a popular, but a default audio playback system for many people, it’s perhaps time to take the category seriously. BenQ, a company best known for video monitors and projectors, has entered the crowded Bluetooth speaker arena with an attention-grabbing effort: a compact portable design that uses electrostatic panels—the same tech found in speakers from companies like MartinLogan—to convey sound. If that doesn’t count as a bid for Bluetooth speaker seriousness, I don’t know what would.

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