By Ken Werner • Jan 1 2015, 1:03am
At least, displays don’t matter as much as they used to.
In our era, hardware — including displays — quickly becomes commoditized.
That is not to say you can’t obtain a temporary competititve advantage with a dazzling display: the thin Samsung edge-lit “LED” TV, the Apple Retina, and the ASUS Zenbook NX500’s 4K, quantum-dot-enhanced display, […]
By The HT Guys • Dec 25 2014, 10:36am
Had we just waited about 11 months on our predictions for 2014, we could have done much, much better.
Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say.
Our crystal ball didn't improve very much for 2014, so this year's prediction review is about as rough as years past.
But we got pretty close on a few.
By Pete Putman • Dec 20 2014, 2:42am
Maybe referring to CES as the 'Chinese Electronics Show' isn't as facetious as it soundsâ?¦
By The HT Guys • Dec 19 2014, 11:24am
There are so many cheap Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) systems out there, most of which cost less than the price of a single good speaker! And none of them include a TV.
You have to wonder how good a system that cheap can actually be? We thought, why not design a complete system, that anyone would be proud to show off but wouldn't break the bank.
Our Home Theater in a Box(es) would actually look and sound really good! Minimum components for our system are a HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Receiver, and 7.1 speakers.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 17 2014, 3:30am
There is too much 4K inertia at trade shows and the effort is concentrated on the concept of displays with four times the pixel count, and less on better methods of improving image quality.
Other than the professional trade meetings I regularly attend, too little is said about the concept of better quality for 4K pixels, or better quality for even current HD pixels.
The industry has jumped into 4K without considering the possibility of improving the pixels of HD during 16 years of HDTV implementation since 1998.
Is it too late for that now that we have 4K?
At CEDIA, and at the yearly Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Technical Conference in Hollywood this past October, we discussed again how 4K pixels can be improved, the "better pixels" concept.
Ideas such as using more bits than the current 8-bit color depth, and pursue High Dynamic Range, less color compression than the current 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling that discards 75% of the color data of the 4:4:4 un ...
By The HT Guys • Dec 12 2014, 10:20am
We aren't done spending your money yet.
And we're still loving every minute of it.
This one hits really close to home; ever since we've made the move to front projection home theaters, we just sit around drooling over what our next projector might be.
If you haven't jumped into the front projector yet, maybe 2015 will be your year.
And you can start it with a wonderful Merry Christmas to yourself.
We each pick two projectors and one ultimate projector for those who may have more disposable income to play with.
By Ken Werner • Dec 6 2014, 11:15pm
The fourth Thursday in November was Thanksgiving in the United States, as it has been since Abraham Lincoln made it so in 1863.
Â This quintessentially American celebration was created as a national holiday not by Act of Congress but by Presidential Proclamation, which is worth pondering given our current debate concerning the proper limits of […]
By The HT Guys • Dec 5 2014, 10:04am
It is that time of year where we get to spend your money again! This week we concentrate on receivers.
Our goal with these guides is not necessarily about getting the latest product.
Its about getting a good product at a great price so you may see some of last year's gear on the list.
All these receivers are readily available online or at a big box store.
Just like the HDTV Buying Guide, we're going to skip the budget categories jump right to our top picks.
We each pick three receivers and one 'money is no object' / 'dare to dream' receiver for you to consider.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 2 2014, 3:45am
This article follows the “Living with 4K” series of articles that I have been publishing during the past couple of years.
Currently a 4K display is more expensive than an HDTV and many use the excuse of “there is no 4K content available” to postpone buying a UHDTV.
In 2006 the first Blu-ray player Sony released to market was priced at about $900.
If I tell you how to get a 4K player and content now, how much would you say a 4K player is worth? How many 4K players are there? Most people do not know the answer to those questions.
At the moment there are two companies making 4K players for consumers...
By Pete Putman • Dec 1 2014, 10:18pm
Point-and-shoot digital cameras offer amazing performance these days for very reasonable prices.
Some are close to DSLRs in image quality.
By Pete Putman • Dec 1 2014, 8:42pm
Retail sales over the Thanksgiving / Black Friday weekend weren't nearly as good as predicted, declining 11% Y-Y from 2013.
But TV sales did show an increase, thanks to a free-fall in prices.
By The HT Guys • Nov 28 2014, 10:29am
Tis the season for us to go wishlist shopping and help you spend your money - one of our favorite times of the year.
If you happen to be lucky enough to have budget for a new HDTV this Christmas, but still aren't sure which one to buy, we've got you covered.
Unlike years past, we're going to skip the budget categories, and the screen size categories and jump right to our top picks.
We each pick three TVs and one 'money is no object' / 'dare to dream' TV for you to consider.
By The HT Guys • Nov 21 2014, 11:22am
Each year at this time of year we do a show where we discuss what we are thankful for.
There are the obvious things to be thankful for like our families, especially our wives who put up with our home theater obsessions.
And of course we are thankful for you, the listener/reader of our show.
So as is tradition over the last six Thanksgivings, on today's show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.
By Ken Werner • Nov 18 2014, 12:01am
LG Display will ramp up its M2 OLED-TV panel line next month, according to a report in South Korea’s ET News quoted in English by Amy Fan and Alex Wolfgram in Digitimes.
As prevously reported, the new $640-million line is expected to have a monthly capacity of 34,000 units, quadrupling the company’s current capacity.
By The HT Guys • Nov 14 2014, 9:43am
Another year passes, another Black Friday approaches.
True to form, the deals are as good as ever.
Looking back, the deals we thought were amazing look like a rip off now.
In 2008 the cheapest Blu-ray player was $128 and a 50-inch 720p plasma was going for $900.
In 2009 the Blu-ray player price dropped to $78 and you could get a 50-inch 1080p plasma with a Blu-ray player for $1000.
In 2013, plasma TVs were still all the rage.
Can't find any this year
By Pete Putman • Nov 14 2014, 3:37am
It has become increasingly clear that consumers are moving to streaming and cloud downloads to watch TV shows and movies at home.
By The HT Guys • Nov 7 2014, 11:59am
A few listeners have written and asked us what our take on Dolby Atmos is.
Since we don't have any gear capable of decoding Atmos we thought we'd enlist Kef's own Jack Sharkey (Internet Marketing & Event Coordinator) to discuss this technology.
Kef has announced the R50 Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers which will help bring this technology to life.
By Pete Putman • Nov 6 2014, 3:53am
Time to conduct another test of indoor digital TV antennas from Winegard, Mohu, and Antennas Direct.
You may be surprised at the results!
By The HT Guys • Oct 31 2014, 9:58am
No tricks, just treats.
A special Halloween episode full of everything you want in your bag; even better than candy.
From the promise of Ultra HD over the air with ATSC 3.0 to the next, or yet again, entry into the set top market from Google.
And if that isn't enough, we also have a great list of movies for those looking for something to do after the kids are done knocking on your door this Halloween.
Grab a tootsie roll, sit back, and enjoy.
By Pete Putman • Oct 29 2014, 5:58pm
On September 23, Vizio rolled out its new line of Ultra HD TVs at an art gallery in lower Manhattan.
We'd been expecting these to show up ever since pricing was announced way back at CES in January, and there weren't any real surprises in the lineup: Five models, ranging in size from 50' to […]
By Ken Werner • Oct 24 2014, 6:52pm
At PEPCOM’s Holiday Spectacular, a press-and-analysts-only show held last monthÂ at the Metropolitan Pavilion on New York City’s West Side, I came across the new ASUS PG278Q 2560×1440 gaming monitor.
In discussing the monitor with ASUS personnel, and then with nVidia’s Bryan Del Rizzo, I learned things about the way high-performance games present their imagery to […]
By The HT Guys • Oct 24 2014, 9:56am
VIZIO P702ui-B3 70-Inch 4K UHD We have been talking about 4K TVs for what seems like an eternity.
This week Ara finally took possession of his VIZIO P702ui-B3 70-Inch 4K UHD (Buy Now $2498).
Now before you all say "no one can see the difference on a screen that size sitting at a normal distance", hang on until we get to the performace part of the review.
As soon as Vizio announced this set at CES Ara knew it was going to be his first 4K TV.
By The HT Guys • Oct 17 2014, 11:52am
Electronic House recently posted an article titled 'Home Theater Projector Tips for Multipurpose Rooms.' The basic premise is that projectors aren't just for man caves or dedicated theater rooms, but can be used very effectively in what we've traditionally called a family room but what a lot of integrators are now calling media rooms, multipurpose rooms or hybrid entertainment room
By The HT Guys • Oct 10 2014, 12:05pm
It will come as no surprise that the HT Guys will opt to wait for the Blu-ray version of popular movies so that we can enjoy them in the comfort of our own homes.
We know that we are not alone, many of our listeners are doing the same.
As our hobby grows, people are setting up relatively inexpensive home theaters that provide a quite enjoyable experience.
Others will spend a little more money and create an experience that rivals what you get in the cinema.
By The HT Guys • Oct 3 2014, 8:36am
A recent discussion on the show about the 'good old days' of HDTV, the days of rear projection LCD, DLP and LCoS, the days of High Definition CRT, got us thinking about some of the other aspects of the early days, like video scalers.
Once considered a must have for any true home theater connoisseur, the video scaler seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur.
By Pete Putman • Sep 27 2014, 12:26am
On Tuesday, September 23, Vizio officially launched its new P-Series of 4K (Ultra HD) televisions at an art gallery in Chelsea, NY.
These televisions weren't a secret to anyone who attended CES w-a-y back in January.
Vizio caused a bit of a stir by announcing five 'smart' LCD TVs with direct LED backlighting that would […]
By Pete Putman • Sep 26 2014, 11:42pm
HDMI 2.0 has been out for more than a year, but can barely support Quad UHD signals @ 60 Hz.
Wait - what was that blur that just shot by?
By The HT Guys • Sep 26 2014, 10:43am
CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association) just wrapped up and with that the organization announced their Best New Products award.
As you read this be aware that much of these products are geared towards home integrators.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 20 2014, 12:25am
This article is a continuation of the "Living with 4K" series of articles that I have been publishing over the past couple of years.
I just came back from CEDIA Expo 2014 and was very pleased with the event this year.
My primary objective was to evaluate the quality of the information provided on a couple of technical classes related to 4K, HDMI for 4K, and Home Theater Audio (including the new Dolby Atmos), and also to meet 4K equipment manufacturers and see demos of their new product introductions.
By The HT Guys • Sep 19 2014, 10:40am
We celebrate it every year, and it's that time of year again - a whole fall slate full of new HDTV shows.
These new shows give us the opportunity to make new friends, share some laughs, and have an adventure or two, all from the comfort of your comfy living room sofa.
When we were kids we looked forward to Christmas and the first day of summer.
As adults, we look forward to the fall more than anything else.
Yes, the kids are back in school and football is back, but also our favorite shows are coming back with new episodes and we get the opportunity to fill the DVR with brand new series.
By The HT Guys • Sep 12 2014, 8:47am
On today's show we interview Will Price CEO and Founder of Roomie Remote Incorporated.
Will tells us about the next release of the remote app which should be available in a few days.
And Android users listen in, there is good news for you!
By The HT Guys • Sep 5 2014, 8:44am
On today's show we interview Blake Vackar Director of US Residential Sales for Screen Innovations.
Blake tells us what to look for in a screen that will provide the best 3D experience in your home.
By Pete Putman • Sep 4 2014, 4:57pm
It finally happened.
More people are subscribing to broadband services than to pay TV services.
Is this the tip of the iceberg?
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 4 2014, 2:38pm
This article is a continuation of the “Living with 4K” series of articles.
As I mentioned on my previous article regarding 4K players, I started with the idea of testing Sony’s FMP-X1 4K player offered as part of the upgrade of my VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector (to the newer VPL-VW1100ES model), which was covered on the previous article, and also evaluating the quality of the 4K content available for download from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K Service, covered on this article.
Over a year ago (March 2013) I performed my first review of 4K content using my own 4K projector and a server Sony’s used to demo 4K on trade shows such as CES and CEDIA that Sony made available for my review.
Below is an excerpt from that article...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 3 2014, 2:22pm
This article is a continuation of the “Living with 4K” series of articles.
I started with the idea of testing Sony’s FMP-X1 4K player offered as part of the upgrade of my VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector (to the newer VPL-VW1100ES model), and also evaluating the quality of the 4K content available for download from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K Service.
This article covers 4K players and will be immediately followed by an article about 4K content.
However, a couple of weeks ago Nuvola confirmed the delivery of a review unit of their 4K player NP-1 (which I introduced on this article), and I plan to review their 4K content service as well, and compare with Sony’s 4K player and content, although the unit’s availability is being announced since May 29, 2013.
Additionally, Sony also announced the newer streaming/downloading FMP-X10 4K player that is now available to consumers for...
By The HT Guys • Aug 29 2014, 10:15am
We have had a running joke about the year of home automation for a few years now.
Judging by how many home automation hubs that have been released in the last few months it's safe to say home automation is now mainstream.
There is the Revolv (HT Guys Review Podcast #620) that can speak to Z-Wave, Insteon, and more.
It goes for $299.
Home Depot got into the game with their $50 Wink Home Automation Hub and connected devices.
Staples has a competing $50 product called Staples Connect Home Automation Hub.
With all these products you may wonder is there room for anyone else?
By The HT Guys • Aug 22 2014, 7:59am
Ever since the big HDTV buying boom a few years ago, television manufacturers have tried to come up with new ways to stimulate another giant upgrade cycle.
It didn't work with 3D.
UHD or Ultra HD, is the next big hope.
But while some are predicting a pretty quick uptake, some analysts aren't counting on it.
There seems to be a bit of debate raging in the analyst-sphere about just how big the UHD transition will be and how quickly it will take hold.
By Ken Werner • Aug 18 2014, 9:22pm
I may have been wrong.
Here’s some history.
Some years ago Qualcomm purchased an MIT display spinout called Iridigm and renamed the technology mirasol (with a small “m”).
At a time before Apple created the consumer tablet revolution, the standard for non-PC media consumption was the eReader, and the standard for low-power reflective displays was […]
By The HT Guys • Aug 15 2014, 9:28am
We both took vacations recently and decided to leave the laptops behind.
But that didn't mean we didn't want to take our content with us.
If you have an iPad you are limited to 64GB at present and with Andriod many devices allow you to add storage through SD cards.
While that gives you a potentially unlimited amount of storage its impractical for large libraries.
What are you to do?
By Pete Putman • Aug 8 2014, 6:40pm
Samsung, Sony, and LG will partner with Best Buy on a 13-week consumer awareness campaign to increase interest in UHDTV and ultimately drive sales of 4K TVs.
By The HT Guys • Aug 8 2014, 6:55am
We're starting to see a strong push to merge two of the hot topics in technology today, the smart home and the cloud.
As home automation moves to cloud enabled devices and services, it certainly gets easier for the average user to install.
But does that convenience come at the cost of performance, flexibility or reliability? Perhaps, like MP3 audio and streamed video, it won't matter.
Convenience could trump quality once again.
By The HT Guys • Aug 1 2014, 10:37am
Ara has the Mohu Sky HD antenna on his roof and is picking up signals from Los Angeles (55 miles) and San Diego (90 miles) away.
Today we talk to the Mark Buff of Mohu about his company and the cutting edge technology they use as well as the yet to be released crowd funded Mohu Channels product.
By Ken Werner • Jul 30 2014, 9:37pm
All of AMOLED-land is divided into two parts.
Part 1: Â Samsung dominates production of smart-phone-sized AMOLED displayss, and is now doing the same for tablet-sized AMOLED displays.
(The first Samsung Galaxy tablets with AMOLED displays are now available in the U.S.
market.) Part 2: Â LG still struggles to make AMOLED TVs a mass-market product, but […]
By Pete Putman • Jul 25 2014, 9:07pm
It's late July, and the summer doldrums have definitely arrived.
The flow of press releases has slowed to a trickle, and all kinds of strange stuff arrives in my mailbox several times a day — most of it destined for the recycling bin.
Even so, there are a few stories worth mentioning.
Let's take a quick glance.
By The HT Guys • Jul 25 2014, 7:21am
4K or UltraHD technology is starting to approach mainstream, and the options for 4K TVs is getting better all the time.
In a quick glance at the choices selling right now at Amazon.com, we were surprised to see how many there are, and how affordable the have quickly become.
Of course, Vizio isn't in the list yet, so if you're waiting for that like a certain HT Guy might be, you'll have to keep waiting.
But if you need a new TV now, 4K might be within reach.
By Ken Werner • Jul 18 2014, 6:56pm
Repeat after me: 4K TV does NOT require native 4K media.
Again: 4K TV does NOT require native 4K media.
The reason I’m repeating myself — not only in the previous sentence, but also in echoing other articles I’ve written — is that self-styled experts continue to say that 4K TV will not be successful […]
By The HT Guys • Jul 18 2014, 9:42am
Back in May of 2013 we reviewed one of Pioneer's entry Elite models the VSX-70.
At that time we were impressed with the sound quality but the MSRP of $750 may have been a barrier for some.
Now Pioneer has introduced two new entry Elites (VSX-80 MSRP $700 and VSX-44 MSRP $500) that have more capability and lower prices.
We take a closer look at the VSX-44.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jul 12 2014, 4:25am
On my previous article of the "Living with 4K" series I described the upgrade program Sony offers for their VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector ($24,999).
This article covers the actual upgrade procedure, performance observations after the upgrade, and final comments about who may benefit in doing the upgrade and why.
By Pete Putman • Jul 12 2014, 12:15am
Aereo, having lost its appeal to the Supreme Court, has done a turnabout and is asking the 2nd Circuit to be classified as a cable TV service provider.
By The HT Guys • Jul 11 2014, 9:07am
Oppo Digital has long been a favorite of the HT Guys.
There have certainly been more expensive and exotic Blu-ray players built, but we're yet to find a competitor that packs the functionality and features of an Oppo, with the same build quality at the same price.
Dollar for dollar, Oppo makes what is probably the best Blu-ray player you should ever need to buy.
By The HT Guys • Jul 4 2014, 9:36am
There has been a lot in the news about cutting the cord lately especially in light of the recent supreme court decision regarding Aereo's business model.
We learned that its a copyright infringement if a company leases you equipment that captures OTA signals, transcodes them and then sends them to you via the Internet.
But its not against the law if you do that yourself.
There are a few products on the market that can do this.
One of them is Simple.TV.
By Ken Werner • Jun 27 2014, 10:44pm
If your main priority is watching your smart phone, buy a Samsung Galaxy S5, which has the best display ever put into a cell phone, at least thus far.
But what do you do if you want much-better-than-CD-quality sound to come out of your phone's little 3.5-mm audio jack? Is such a thing even possible? […]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jun 27 2014, 4:10pm
This article is a continuation of the "Living with 4K" series of articles I published on this magazine during the past two years, and is also a follow up of the last article regarding the subject of upgradeability of UHDTVs.
On that last article I highlighted the importance of selecting an upgradeable TV/Projector when choosing an UHDTV during these initial years of UHD introduction to consumers, due to the number of features from the standards that have not been implemented yet on the 4K/UHDTVs and on UHD content distribution channels (if they do), including pre-recorded physical media, such as 4K Blu-Ray, hopefully in the near future, with specs expected to be available by year end.
I also mentioned that Sony and Samsung were clear on their upgrade plans, while other manufacturers were more on the vague side, or issued unspecified promises, such as "we are looking into it".
To continue with the subject, this article is about the upgradeability of Sony's 4K two years old 4K proje ...
By The HT Guys • Jun 27 2014, 9:08am
When we first read the press release about Dolby Atmos enabled speakers, we'll admit, it sounded a bit puzzling and we found ourselves scratching our heads.
Atmos enabled receivers? Sure, that makes sense, but what does it take to make an Atmos enabled speaker? We've never heard of a Dolby TrueHD enabled speaker, or a DTS-HD Master Audio enabled speaker.
So what is the difference with Atmos that it needs, or can even provide, a special speaker?
By The HT Guys • Jun 20 2014, 9:45am
Before there was HDTV there was NTSC (National Television System Committee) or, as it was known by most people today, standard definition.
That was the standard developed in 1941 and was in effect until it was superseded by ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) which brought us high definition television - which in turn gave rise to this podcast!
By Pete Putman • Jun 13 2014, 7:56pm
I'm writing this column the Friday before InfoComm, the AV industry's largest trade show.
It takes place next week in Las Vegas and should be a doozy, what with all of the changes happening in our industry: 4K digital displays and media players, new IPTV 'in a box' solutions, expanding use of wireless connectivity, high-power […]
By The HT Guys • Jun 13 2014, 10:33am
We've reviewed multiple soundbars in the past, from a wide variety of companies, but we've never reviewed a Playbar.
What is the difference between a soundbar and a Playbar? Quite a bit as it turns out.
Knowing Sonos we expected big things, and we weren't disappointed in the slightest.
The Playbar sells for $699 and the optional Sub for an additional $699.
By Ken Werner • Jun 13 2014, 5:10am
A few years ago Samsung introduced very thin large-screen LCD-TV sets with LED edge-lighting and thin light-guide plates (LGPs).
The company earned its place in the infamous marketing hall of fame by ignoring reality and calling these sets 'LED TVs,' which has confused TV consumers and salesmen every since.
With these thin, elegantly designed sets, […]
By The HT Guys • Jun 6 2014, 9:39am
You know we are fans of the Slingbox and have used them to 'Sling' our local TV from one side of the world to another.
Ara spent a week in India and never watch a single minute of local television opting to watch football from the USA instead.
Slingboxes are quite simply the easiest way to watch your local content wherever you want, provided that you have an internet connection.
By Pete Putman • May 30 2014, 3:52pm
"Phablets" are turning out to be more popular with consumers that expected.
So are 4K Ultra HD televisions.
By The HT Guys • May 30 2014, 8:20am
Nothing says "the future of display technology" like holograms.
If you're a Star Wars or a Star Trek fan, you know that someday we'll have holograms for real, interacting with us.
Until now that notion has existing only in science fiction and our imaginations.
But fueled by the same dreams you have, over the past three years, researchers in the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab have steadily refined a design for a 3D video technology that doesn't require glasses at all.
By The HT Guys • May 23 2014, 9:12am
One of the best thing about producing this podcast each week is knowing that our listeners go on the same journey that we do.
Our current journey is that of separates.
A few weeks ago we reviewed the NuForce AVP-18 processor and MCA-20 Amplifier (Podcast #631).
This week we continue the journey by reviewing the Emotiva UPA-700 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier.
By Pete Putman • May 16 2014, 8:22pm
Panasonic's 2014 TV line show and Sony's final FY 2013 results coincided this week.
And what a contrast they presented.
By The HT Guys • May 16 2014, 9:38am
Lots of information and news this week to discuss including some changes in the OLED manufacturing landscape, a new way to share your online movie collection with Vudu and UltraViolet and the potential for pay-as-you-go Internet at home.
We close out with a discussion on Wireless whole house music systems, which really becomes a wider discussion on wireless networks in general and how to optimize them for multimedia distribution.
By The HT Guys • May 9 2014, 10:31am
This week Ara spoke with a broadcaster from the Birmingham AL about the internet streaming upstart Aereo and how their model is essentially to steal content from broadcasters and sell it for profit.
For those who are not familiar Aereo is a company that lets you record and stream local television in the cloud.
More info about Aereo available on their website.
By Ken Werner • May 7 2014, 12:22am
Sharp has established indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) as a successful backplane material that enables high aperture ratios in high-pixel-density LCDs in sizes too large for low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) to be financially viable.
IGZO is also an attractive, lower-cost alternative for LTPS in high-pixel-density smart-phone LCDs.
Sharp and Qualcomm are working together on IGZO-driven pixtronix […]
By Pete Putman • May 2 2014, 4:50pm
It's annual meeting time in Japan, and the final reports for fiscal year 2014 are starting to trickle in.
Panasonic is up; and Sony is down.
By The HT Guys • May 2 2014, 8:13am
We recently reviewed the NuForce AVP-18 all-digital HT dedicated preamp/processor (MSRP $1095) paired with the NuForce MCA-20 multi-channel amplifier (MSRP $1995).
Our goal was to compare the performance of separates with the performance of a high quality AVR to see how they'd stack up.
We used to hold the position that for just about everyone, the AVR would be more than good enough...
By The HT Guys • Apr 25 2014, 6:40am
On the last show we read a news story that SONY announced pricing and availability for their new line for 4K TVs.
This week we thought we discuss in a bit more depth the latest from SONY.
For starters there are a total of nine UHD TVs.
The nine TVs are tiered on entry, mid, and high and range in price from $2,100 up to $25,000.
By Ken Werner • Apr 19 2014, 3:04pm
North American sales of Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S5 phone began on April 11, and pundits muttered that carriers were nervous about how the phone would sell.
As it turns out, either the worries were overblown or the pundits were smoking funny cigarettes.
Four days after North American sales commenced, a Samsung spokesperson said GS5 orders […]
By Ken Werner • Apr 19 2014, 2:52pm
Friend and colleague Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corp.
(www.displaymate.com), recently published the results of his painstaking tests on the display in Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smart phone.Â Soneira’s bottom line is that the GS5 has the best display ever put in a cell phone.
Although the 5.1-inch display has the same number (1920×1080) of […]
By Pete Putman • Apr 18 2014, 7:54pm
On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Aereo case.
Broadcasters want the company's unique 'antenna to IP' service shut down, claiming it is avoiding retransmission fees by a clever legal/engineering system, and operates in violation of copyright laws.
Aereo and many other amicus briefs argue that Aereo is within its rights […]
By Pete Putman • Apr 18 2014, 6:33pm
If I really had to pick one word to characterize this year's NAB Show, it would be 'flux.'
By The HT Guys • Apr 18 2014, 6:30am
We don't need to repeat ourselves, but we will anyways: Home Theater without surround sound isn't really Home Theater at all.
It's only half of the experience.
Without surround sound, you're just watching moving pictures on the wall.
But we've also stated that modern AV receivers are good enough and going the separate processor and amp route is overkill for most people.
Today we put that theory to the test.
By The HT Guys • Apr 11 2014, 6:09am
Last week Amazon released a set top box the Amazon Fire TV (Buy Now $99) to compete with the likes of Apple, Roku, and a host of others.
And of course the HT Guys got a hold of one and put it through its paces.
This will be a shorter review than previous boxes because we have done so many and they are essentially the same.
Today we'll focus on the differences.
By Ken Werner • Apr 7 2014, 1:24pm
Friend and colleague Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corp.
(www.displaymate.com), has just published the results of his painstaking tests on the display in Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smart phone.
Since mere mortals such as you and I will not be able to get a GS5 in North America until at least April 11, it […]
By Pete Putman • Apr 4 2014, 5:13pm
A recent poll conducted by the Harris organization revealed that 81% of respondents engage in 'binge viewing' on a regular basis — that is, watching two or more episodes of a TV program in a single sitting.
By The HT Guys • Apr 4 2014, 3:35pm
We mentioned the upcoming Quattron+ technology from Sharp in our CES roundup earlier this year.The tech just got real.
Sharp has announced several new LED LCD models for 2014 that feature the technology.
Along the lines of JVC's e-Shift technology we discussed a couple episodes back, Quattron+ looks like a clever bridge between the 1080p LED LCD televisions of today and the 4K and/or OLED televisions of tomorrow.
By The HT Guys • Mar 28 2014, 6:31am
If you are tired of the long cold Winter then these product announcements from Pioneer should warm your soul.
What better way to welcome Spring than with new receivers? Pioneer introduced 5 new models.
By Ken Werner • Mar 24 2014, 6:27pm
Smart-watch makers are trying to find the right combination of design, functionality, interface, and price that will galvanize a customer population that is curious, but not yet motivated to open their wallets in large numbers.
Probably the best-selling smart watch is Samsung’s first-generation Galaxy Gear, which Samsung says sold about a million units through the […]
By Pete Putman • Mar 21 2014, 3:16pm
Yesterday, Samsung held its annual home entertainment press event to show off its 2014 line of televisions.
Not surprisingly, the emphasis was on curved screens, so Samsung chose an appropriate venue for the event — the striking, spiraling Guggenheim Museum on 88th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York.
At the International CES a few […]
By The HT Guys • Mar 21 2014, 7:25am
We haven't spent too much time talking about 4K projectors because, to be blunt, they're just too expensive to be within reach for us, and for the majority of our audience.
While they're cool to think about, and maybe drool over, why spend too much time on them when you know you'll never drop $28,000 on a projector? But what if they were a fraction of that cost?
By The HT Guys • Mar 14 2014, 6:28am
This week we sit down and talk with Jack Sharkey of Kef Speakers.
Jack shares his experience in making a room that is acoustically unfriendly into a place where Kef can showcase their products.
It's a six part series.
By Pete Putman • Mar 7 2014, 4:25pm
Aereo's service problems in New York City during the recent Oscars telecast could mean they've engineered themselves into a corner.
By The HT Guys • Mar 7 2014, 7:12am
Through the years we've had the opportunity to check out several wireless audio, video and wireless HDMI systems.
Everytime we do it, the quality goes up and the price goes down.
This week we're adding one more option to your list of choices for wireless HDMI.
It's the Gefen TV Wireless Extender for HDMI (GTV-WHD-60G).
List price is $449.
But if you look around, you can find it for around $300 online.
The first Gefen wireless HDMI system we reviewed back in 2009 had a list price of $999.
By Ken Werner • Mar 6 2014, 9:41pm
A lot of the display-related excitement at January’s CES 2014 related to 4K, multi-touch panels, and gesture-related system control.
A month later, and those same technologies were being featured in digital signage at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE), also in Las Vegas.
It’s impressive how quickly 4K migrated from television to signage.
LG’s 105-inch Ultra […]
By Ken Werner • Mar 6 2014, 9:29pm
After the close of Digital Signage Expo, my colleague Steve Sechrist and I had a dinner of expensive (but excellent) Las Vegas hamburgers and talked as we wandered around the Forum Shops.
We wound up at the Sony Store, nearly deserted late on a Thursday evening in early February.
We had leisurely conversations with the […]
By The HT Guys • Feb 28 2014, 6:52am
If you are a cord cutter you know that one thing that is difficult to live without is a DVR.
You can buy a Tivo Roamio and pay a smaller monthly service but you cut the cord so you wouldn't have to pay a monthly charge.
What most cord cutters are looking for is a way to record over the air HD without having to pay any monthly fees.
Channel Master has you covered with theDVR+ (MSRP $249.99).
The DVR+ is a subscription free DVR that allows you to cut the cord and still watch late night network TV on your terms.
By The HT Guys • Feb 21 2014, 7:02am
If you don't think your home theater looks or sounds as good as it should, you probably want to calibrate it.
Calibration is the process of dialing in all the settings on your TV and receiver to optimize the viewing and listening experience for your home.
There are a ton of options for this, from buying a calibration disc for the do it yourselfers, buying a calibration system likeSpyderTV for the almost do it yourselfers, to hiring a professional calibrator for those of the just do it for me persuasion.
By Pete Putman • Feb 20 2014, 8:00pm
I'm writing this while sitting in the third day of the annual Hollywood Post Alliance Technology Retreat, which is one of the top technology conferences anywhere and which attracted well over 500 attendees this year to the Hyatt Indian Wells Resort in the Palm Springs area.
I've been attending the Retreat since 2002, and it […]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 20 2014, 2:50pm
Your next question then would be “an upgrade to what and why?”
Unfortunately in most cases the upgrade may actually be a replacement of a short lived TV, depending who manufactured the UHDTV.
Over the past couple of years 4K displays and projectors were made available to consumers and, although market introduction is better than expected and prices are rapidly coming down, many journalists continuously discourage consumers with negativism, such as...
By Ken Werner • Feb 19 2014, 10:26pm
On February 8, in his presentation entitled “Are Quantum Dots Closing the Window of Opportunity for OLED-TV?” at the SID Los Angeles Chapter's One-Day Conference on Technologies for Advanced Television, held in Costa Mesa, CA, Seth Coe-Sullivan, co-founder and CTO of QD Vision, made a well-argued case that OLED-TV would become irrelevant in five years.
By The HT Guys • Feb 14 2014, 7:17am
Last August a listener alerted us to an Indiegogo campaign for a Wifi doorbell that would allow you to answer the door from anywhere in the world provided you had an Internet connection.
At that time to contribution was $125 and for that you would helping a startup company bring their product to the market.
By Pete Putman • Feb 10 2014, 9:24pm
During winter storms, the terrestrial 'one serving many' digital TV broadcast model continues to chug along reliably, providing timely news and weather updates and helping us feel like we're not cut off from the rest of the world.
By The HT Guys • Feb 7 2014, 7:37am
You've probably heard us stress over and over again how important surround sound is to your HDTV and home theater experience.
Without surround sound, it's really just surveillance, not home theater.
But we are regular guys too, and we leave in the real world.
We know that sometimes you have to make sacrifices and compromises.
You aren't the only one in the house, or the building or the neighborhood.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 4 2014, 4:45am
This article follows the series of articles of the “Living with 4K” topic, and 4K related products and subjects, including 4K content and 4K Blu-ray.
Today is about a new 4K player that is just coming to the market, the Nuvola NP-1.
NanoTech Entertainment has confirmed product availability of their Nuvola NP-1 4K player that claims to be compatible with all UHDTVs regardless of brand, as opposed to the proprietary player/TV pairing setup Sony has done with their current 4K media player (FMP-X1) and their UHDTVs/4K Projectors, which limits their 4K media player connectivity to only Sony UHDTVs/4K Projectors.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 4 2014, 4:30am
Beyond the functionality and practical capabilities appreciated by most press reviewers, the primary reason of this article was to test and evaluate the storing and play back quality of Blu-ray audio/video using the Cinema One as a central/only server of content.
Kaleidescape targets the Cinema One to enthusiasts of high quality home-theaters looking to replace their existing players of physical media (CD, DVD, Blu-ray) with a product that claims to enhance the user experience by organizing and facilitating the access to a library that unifies their music and movie content.
At the end of this article I also provide a cost view for the consumer, depending on his/her style of collecting content, being physical disc, electronic, or both.
In my opinion this type of investment should be evaluated not only by its upfront expenditure as a system, but also as a per-movie-cost-of-ownership when all is installed and all the movies are loaded.
Throughout the article you can also read the respo ...
By The HT Guys • Jan 31 2014, 6:51am
With 2013 being the year of home automation ;-) we saw a bunch of new products come on the scene to make our lives easier.
Along with those products came apps for our mobile devices and before long we started suffering from app fatigue.
Wouldn't it be cool if a product could unite all those different technologies into one app! Well today we review a product that is well on its way to do so.
By Ken Werner • Jan 28 2014, 7:46pm
Let’s not talk about director Michael Bay’s meltdown at Samsung’s huge CES press event.
Okay, let’s, but just for a moment.
Bay, a featured guest (presumably because his explosion-filled action films look really good on Samsung large-screen TVs) came down with a severe case of stage fright when the teleprompter stopped showing him the words […]
By Pete Putman • Jan 25 2014, 12:49am
According to a news report, Samsung dominated the global television business in 2013.
Business as usual?
By The HT Guys • Jan 24 2014, 7:43am
Today’s Show: What's Hot Right Now (2014 Time Capsule) We didn't update it in 2013, but back in January of 2012, we put together a snapshot of the then-current HDTV landscape we could refer back to in the future.
Since we often look back at the technologies and prices of years gone by with shock […]
By Ken Werner • Jan 23 2014, 9:51pm
It has become conventional wisdom that the two major quantum-dot display-enhancement approaches — the flattened glass cylinder of QD Vision and the polymer sheet of Nanosys/3M — have there own natural market segments, and this conventional wisdom has been supported by statements from the two camps.
QD Vision’s “Color IQ” glass element, which is incorporated […]
By Ken Werner • Jan 23 2014, 3:52am
RCA, the iconic company that — more than any other — brought color television to the consumer mass market was dissolved years ago.
But its brand has survived and sometimes prospered.
The brand is owned and licensed by Technicolor.
After some mis-steps in years past, Technicolor is now managing the brand in an intelligent and […]
By Ken Werner • Jan 23 2014, 3:41am
Some of my fellow analysts have been bemoaning a lack of TV, tablet, and cell-phone innovations at CES 2014.
Well, either I have lower standards than my colleagues or a keener eye because I saw quite a few things that surprised, delighted, and horrified me.
Here are some of them.
3M’s Quantum Dot Enhancement Film […]
By Pete Putman • Jan 21 2014, 8:21pm
It's been almost two weeks since CES.
The booths and signs have long been taken down; the long lines and long hours are a distant memory.
Time for a thoughtful retrospective on the showâ?¦
By The HT Guys • Jan 17 2014, 7:38am
CES has come and gone so today we talk about what others have deemed 'Best'.
We rundown winners (home theater related) from the Digital Trends, Engadget, and CES Innovations.
Follow the links for the complete list.
By Ken Werner • Jan 12 2014, 2:25am
At Sharp's pre-CES press conference, held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on the morning of January 6, Sharp announced a television technology that John Harrington, president of the Sharp Marketing Company of America, called a 'game changer.' Unlike many of the products announced at CES, Quattron+ is a solution to a problem […]
By Pete Putman • Jan 11 2014, 10:50pm
Last week's International CES featured televisions in every size, aspect ratio, and form factor you can imagine.
Even so; it's becoming obvious that the glory days of TV are in the past.
By The HT Guys • Jan 10 2014, 6:58am
Early January every year, it seems the entire consumer electronics industry descends upon Las Vegas, NV for the annual pilgrimage to CES.
We decided to make a virtual pilgrimage this year, but have a lot of exiting news and product announcements to share.
By The HT Guys • Jan 3 2014, 5:53am
Time for the HT Guys to look into our crystal ball and try and predict the HDTV and Home Theater landscape for 2014.
Our crystal ball is never as clears as a good HDTV but we give it a shot nonetheless.
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