Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Dec 15, 2016  |  9 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Al Griffin helps out an early adopter caught in the crossfire of emerging technologies—in this case, HDMI.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 13, 2016  |  0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $579

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great value
Good overall performance
Backlit remote control
Minus
Limited installation features
So-so contrast

THE VERDICT
Good overall performance, ample adjustments, and a low price make Optoma’s HD142X a great entry-level projector.

You might not be aware of it, but there’s a new war going on. No, it’s not between countries, ideologies, or individuals; it’s between DLP projector manufacturers. A handful of companies are battling to provide a single-chip model that delivers the best-looking, brightest picture at the lowest price. Over the past few months, I’ve reported on two such projectors, the ViewSonic LightStream Pro7827HD ($890, Sound & Vision, September) and the InFocus ScreenPlay SP1080 ($549, see review at soundandvision.com). Next up: Optoma’s HD142X ($579), another affordable model aimed at the casual home theater fan and gamer.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 08, 2016  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Do you know of a good solution for streaming audio from a Windows PC to B&W P7 wireless headphones using Bluetooth? Is there some kind of USB adapter? —Robert Prinz

Al Griffin  |  Dec 01, 2016  |  0 comments

Performance
Setup
Value
PRICE $219 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Highly affordable
Good uniformity
Quality construction
Minus
Time-consuming to assemble

THE VERDICT
The VApex PRO is a great option for anyone looking to put together a home theater on a budget without cutting corners.

Recent advances in projection screen technology have created a shift in home A/V from cave-like theaters that block out every last drop of light to open spaces that integrate with the rest of the living environment. For screen manufacturers, a main mission over the past few years has been to design models capable of withstanding some degree of ambient light while delivering good image quality over a wide viewing angle. Known as ambient-light-rejecting (ALR) screens, these do exactly what their name suggests: cancel out the impact of lamps, overhead lighting, and undraped windows so that the light you see reflected off the screen is primarily what’s beamed at it by the projector.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 01, 2016  |  7 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Are there any standalone surround preamp/processors that decode Dolby Atmos? I’m interested in a unit that doesn’t include an AM/FM radio tuner. —Doc Lockett

Al Griffin  |  Nov 29, 2016  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive contrast and shadow detail
Handles both Dolby Vision and HDR10
Affordable price
Minus
Wi-Fi sync issue with included tablet remote
No extended-color-gamut capability
Some halo artifacts from local dimming backlight
Only one HDMI 2.0a input

THE VERDICT
Vizio’s budget-minded display handles both flavors of HDR and, a few quirks aside, delivers impressive performance.

When is a TV not a TV? When it’s an Ultra HD Home Theater Display. With the new M series, Vizio has chosen to shake up conventional expectations of what a TV should be and should do. One key change is that each M series set lacks a tuner to receive over-the-air digital TV broadcasts—hence, the company’s use of the term Home Theater Display. Another change is that Vizio has scrapped the typical full-featured IR remote control and replaced it with an Android tablet. Future-savvy or future shock? Read on and find out.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 23, 2016  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Should I use the quartz lock feature on my Audio-Technica AT-LP120 turntable? I don't see or hear any difference when I press the quartz lock button. Same thing when I press the +10 /+20 pitch control button. FYI, I usually play records with the +10 pitch option selected. —Josh Rosenthal

Al Griffin  |  Nov 17, 2016  |  10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q For years, I used iTunes to rip my CDs in the Apple Lossless Audio Compression (ALAC) format and load them onto a 160-gigabyte iPod classic. Now that iPods are no more, I would like to switch to one of the new hi-res-capable portable players but want to avoid having to rip all of my CDs again. Do any of the new players support ALAC so I can continue using iTunes? Also, is there some way to use iTunes to load files from my computer to a new portable player? —Mark Hoornstra / Maryland

Al Griffin  |  Nov 10, 2016  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I'm slow to bite on buying an Ultra HDTV because I’m waiting to see which high dynamic range format will stick. If I buy an HDR10-only set and Dolby Vision wins, can support for that format be added through a future software update? —Ray Blackburn

Al Griffin  |  Nov 07, 2016  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Is Samsung’s 2016 Ultra HDTV line capable of passing a 5.1 surround sound signal received from an HDMI input to a Sonos Playbar system via its optical digital audio output? I’ve heard that only Sony and Vizio TVs provide this 5.1 passthrough capability.—Glenn Patton / via e-mail

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