People love sound bars for a lot of good reasons: they eliminate most of the wiring and setup hassles associated with traditional 5.1-channel home theaters, they don't take up a lot of space, they are less expensive than subwoofer/satellite packages, and since most sound bars are self-powered, you don't need to buy an AV receiver. A skinny sound bar positioned under a sleek display is certainly a more appealing solution than a 5.1 or even stereo pair of speakers. There's just one problem: sound bars can't fill a room with sound nearly as well as separate speakers can.… Read more
A well-calibrated Panasonic TC-PVT50 TV will look exactly the same in almost any room with the lights turned down. Video performance is reliable and predictable, but audio is the exact opposite. Speakers will sound very different in different rooms, sometimes to a frightening degree. AV receivers' speaker calibration systems might help a little bit, but they can never eliminate the problems created by sound reflecting off a room's walls, floor and ceiling. The size and shape of the room, furniture, floor covering, mirrors, windows, and drapes all play their parts in the sound environment.
When I was a hi-fi … Read more
I love little speakers, especially when they're as fine as the Music Hall Marimbas I wrote about recently, but the best little ones can't touch the big guys for sheer power. If you've only heard little speakers at home, you have no idea what you've been missing. Big speakers sound, well, bigger, and more like live music.
That's why I'm so jazzed by the Tekton M-Lore. This 34-inch high tower sports an American-made 8-inch natural fiber woofer and a European-designed 1-inch silk dome tweeter, so the M-Lores can really belt out a big sound. … Read more
The official length of last week's thrilling Giants-Cowboys game was 3 hours and 25 minutes, although by my calculations there was only an hour of football worth watching.
That's not commentary on the quality of the game, but rather the endless stream of commercials, "analysis," and challenges that end up taking twice as long the actual football action. For DVR users accustomed to zipping past every commercial, watching a live NFL game can be an unbearable slog, even if the game itself is great. That's why I gave up watching NFL in real time years … Read more
Spunk, that's what Music Hall's Marimba speaker has lots of. No measurements are needed to confirm this is an exceptional speaker. Its low-key looks are deceiving; it's just a nicely finished "wood" grain black medium-density fiberboard box, measuring 6.6 inches by 8.7 inches by 11 inches, with rounded corners. There's a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer lurking behind a removable black cloth grille. The internally braced cabinet feels solid; there's nothing exotic about the design, but the box feels more expensive than you usually get in a $… Read more
It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when audio and video products were introduced that were so revolutionary that their impact was felt literally decades after their introduction.
Take the JBL L100 Century. It was the first speaker I fell in love with. Its brilliant orange "waffle" foam grille and white 12-inch woofer looked so cool in the early 1970s when the competition's speakers were all drab brown boxes with boring cloth grilles. The JBL was the ultimate "rock" speaker of the era, so my Hendrix and Led Zeppelin LPs never … Read more
Cable box or satellite box, DVR or digital media receiver, it's important to set the output resolution so it looks best with your TV.
But what looks best with your TV?
The answer is probably easier to find than you'd imagine.… Read more
Home audio was strictly a single-speaker pursuit from the dawn of recorded sound through the late 1950s, when stereo changed the way we listen to music. Multichannel home theater's popularity peaked in the late 1990s, but starting with iPods and sound-bar speakers, mono was back in style. More recently sales of battery-powered, mono Bluetooth speakers started to take off. While these lo-fi systems may contain stereo pairs of … Read more
Many smart or connected devices come with wired-only connections (Ethernet), like your TV, game console, DVD player, TiVo, or other streaming-media device. Unless your Internet modem or wireless router happens to be at the same location as those devices, connecting them to your wireless network can be a challenge.
Possible solutions include, power-line adapters, dedicated wireless adapters for each device, or installing Ethernet jacks. Unfortunately, those options can get expensive and each has its unique drawbacks. Another option is using a wireless bridge. A wireless bridge connects two wired networks together over Wi-Fi. The wireless bridge acts as a client, … Read more
There still seems to be some confusion about the difference between 1080i and 1080p. Both are 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. Both have 2,073,600 pixels. From one perspective, 1080i is actually greater than Blu-ray. And, you can't even get a full 1080p/60 source other than a PC, camcorder, or some still cameras that shoot video.
True, 1080i and 1080p aren't the same thing, but they are the same resolution. Let the argument commence... … Read more