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High-End Audio

A 9.1ch Surround Wireless Theater “On your Head”

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Apr 26 2015, 1:53am

This headphone is for home theater installations not for mobile devices, it uses a base unit that serves as HDMI switcher as well, and it should appeal to movie viewers rather than video game enthusiasts.

The headphone plays multi-channel movies with an immersive field effect and reproduces surround sounds with relatively accurate localization. It should be particularly suitable for living spaces that are not adequately insulated for the high volume levels of typical home theater speakers/subwoofers, such as apartments, dorms, and shared environments where a surround multi-speaker setup may bother others.

The headphones may be a solution to the hearing impaired, which is becoming a very high percentage of the US population, and who usually tend to increase the volume of the center channel speaker for better speech intelligibility on a movie, or all the channels, imposing his/her preferred higher volume to other viewers who maybe listening to the same source using the speaker setup in ...


Blu-ray Review: Magic Mike

By Ryan Gibbs • Apr 18 2013, 2:21pm

Set in the world of male strippers, Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money.

Ok, as a guy I was very hesitant to watch this movie...


Blu-ray Review: The Campaign

By Ryan Gibbs • Apr 17 2013, 2:03pm

When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plots to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but with the help of his new benefactors' support, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family's political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about. As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other, in this mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy.

This movie is exactly what it’s supposed to be...


Blu-ray Review: This is 40

By Ryan Gibbs • Apr 1 2013, 2:21pm

From the director of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes an unfiltered, comedic look inside the life of an American family. After years of marriage, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are approaching a milestone meltdown. As they try to balance romance, careers, parents and children in their own hilarious ways, they must also figure out how to enjoy the rest of their lives. Featuring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segal, Megan Fox, John Lithgow and Albert Brooks, This is 40 is a candid and heartwarming comedy about the challenges and rewards of marriage and parenthood in the modern age.

Let me begin this by stating that I’m 38 years old. So I went into this movie with the thought process that I could relate to some of the themes and situations that would be presented in this feature. After watching it...


Blu-ray Review: Wreck-It Ralph

By Ryan Gibbs • Mar 15 2013, 2:25pm

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), the "good guy" star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he's tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he's got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero's Duty. But it's the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it's too late?

Growing up in the 80’s and witnessing the birth of home gaming and mall arcade venues, Wreck-It Ralph wa ...


Blu-ray Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Ryan Gibbs • Mar 14 2013, 2:24pm

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope-and the unforgettable friends that help us through life.

I absolutely loved this film - specifically...

Smart HDTVs & Peripherals

SmartStick Makes "Any" TV Smart

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Mar 7 2013, 3:56pm

This small device promises to make "any TV" Smart, giving you access to Internet streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, etc., network content, and even browsing capabilities and email, all using your own TV as display device.

The idea is great, the device is relatively low in price but I should add: when it works and when you have the compatible TV.

The first question I asked myself is: which kind of TV can actually be made "Smart" based on the connectivity and specifications of the SmartStick?


Blu-ray Review: Death Race 3

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 25 2013, 3:12pm

Repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss), aka Frankenstein, is a legendary driver in the brutal prison blood sport known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom, Lucas is plunged into his most vicious competition yet: the first-ever desert Death Race. Through South Africa’s infernal Kalahari Desert, Lucas is pitted against his most ruthless adversaries and powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat. Also starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, Death Race 3; Inferno is an insane, action-packed thrill ride.

This is going to be one of my shortest reviews to date. This movie reaffirms for me that if there’s...


Blu-ray Review: Flight

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 22 2013, 3:11pm

Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars in this “riveting and powerful nail-biting thriller” from Robert Zemeckis, the Academy Award winning director of Forrest Gump and Cast Away. Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Washington) miraculously lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. But even as he’s being hailed for his heroic efforts, questions arise as to who or what was really at fault. Action-packed, engrossing and powerful, Washington’s performance is being hailed as “a triumph” and one that “will be talked about for years.”

Flight will rank alongside Leaving Las Vegas as one of the...


Blu-ray Review: Guns, Girls and Gambling

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 21 2013, 3:10pm

Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman, Christian Slater, and Dane Cook headline this outrageous action-comedy about greed, revenge, and a desert full of dead Elvis impersonators. A priceless Apache war mask has been stolen from an Indian casino causing criminals, frat boys, tomahawk-wielding hit men, modern-day cowboys, and a six-foot-tall blonde assassin to rampage through a small town in hopes of claiming the treasure first. Guns, Girls and Gambling is an action-packed comedy where the laughs pile up faster than the body count.

This is the kind of cinematic experience where everything you need to know...


Blu-ray Review: The Awakening

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 20 2013, 3:08pm

Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), author of the popular book "Seeing Through Ghosts," has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiancé, she is approached by Robert Mallory (Dominic West) to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy's ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her.

This movie differs from what people perceive as a typical scary/horror movie...


Blu-ray Review: Hotel Transylvania

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 19 2013, 3:08pm

Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (Adam Sandler) lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world's most famous monsters--Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more--to celebrate his daughter Mavis's 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem--but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.

What can I say about Adam Sandler...


Blu-ray Review: Looper

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 18 2013, 3:04pm

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented - but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" - a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good... until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.

Every once in a while, Hollywood gives us...


Blu-ray Review: The Bourne Legacy

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 5 2013, 3:12pm

The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. On the verge of having their conspiracy exposed, members of the government’s intelligence community will stop at nothing to erase all evidence of their top-secret programs – even the agents involved. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) must use his genetically engineered skills to survive the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse and finish what Jason Bourne started.

The movie shows the domino effect caused by Jason Bourne's activities. We are introduced to two more operations in this movie...


Blu-ray Review: Frankenweenie

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 4 2013, 3:08pm

From creative genius Tim Burton comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life-with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor's fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new "leash on life" can be monstrous. A stop-motion animated film; Frankenweenie was filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D, which will elevate the classic style to a whole new experience.

Even though the movie presentation was flawless, as mentioned above, the movie itself was very lacking. Now before you read on, you should know that...


Blu-ray Review: For a Good Time, Call...

By Ryan Gibbs • Feb 1 2013, 3:50pm

Overachiever Lauren is suddenly on her own after her boyfriend breaks up with her. Free spirit and irrepressible Katie is about to lose a dream apartment unless she can find a roommate. They reluctantly agree to room together even though they have nothing in common, until Lauren discovers that Katie is working as a phone-sex operator, and recognizes a good business opportunity. But as their business partnership takes off, their newfound friendship finds unexpected challenges that may leave them both, as they say, hanging on the telephone.

I had my reservations when it came to actually watching this movie. It didn’t seem like a movie that a guy would be drawn to watching without the help of a woman. But...


Blu-ray Review: End of Watch

By Ryan Gibbs • Jan 31 2013, 3:39pm

From the writer of Training Day comes a gripping, action-packed cop drama starring Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officers’ Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the end of watch. But nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that happens after they pull over the members of a notorious drug cartel for a routine traffic stop. Seen from the point of view of the officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, dash cams and citizens caught in the line of fire, a 360 degree perspective creates a gritty, compassionate and intense portrait of the city’s darkest streets, and the brave men and women patrolling them.

End of Watch is the most realistic cop film that I have seen, at least in recent years. The film is shot from a variety of cameras, whether it is Brian Taylor's personal camera, the dashboard cameras in the ...

Digital Video Processors

Review: DarbeeVision Visual Presence DVP 5000 (Darblet)

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 28 2012, 3:52pm

I know what many of you would say: “if you are a purist, do not alter the original image; it should be viewed that way”.

However, you should give this little box a chance and see the results by yourself. Although I am warning you, when you do that it is almost guaranteed that you would never turn this processor off. You can adjust the effect to your preferred level of image realism and depth, and play with the settings for every content, and once you do that, there will not be a comeback to using your system without this box, you will be hooked.


Blu-ray Review: E.T.- The Extra-Terrestrial

By The HT Guys • Dec 27 2012, 3:41pm

A heartwarming story of the special bond 10-year-old Elliot forges with an alien he names E.T. The adventures they share as Elliot tries to hide his new friend and E.T. tries to get back to his planet provide plenty of action, laughter and tears.

E.T. is a very charming and warm classic piece of movie history that still remains to be relevant for today’s generation of kids. Spielberg does a great job of telling the story without simplifying the movie, which makes it relate to adults as well as children. It could be said that movie is...


Blu-ray Review: Brave

By The HT Guys • Dec 21 2012, 3:36pm

Scottish princess Merida uses her archery skills to establish her independence, but when she accidentally angers the ancient land's three powerful lords and is granted a poorly conceived wish by a witch, she must go on a quest to repair the damage.

Brave does a great job of examining the complex relationship of a mother and a teenage daughter. It captures the wildness of youth and the heavy responsibilities of adulthood in a magical story. All the characters are well defined and likeable, which makes the story very easy to digest. Half way though the film...