For most people, sound bars are the best way to get better sound quality in the living room. They're simple and inexpensive, and don't have all the frustrating wires that come with a true surround-sound system. Sound bars don't sound as good as true separate speakers -- especially with music -- but if you're mostly looking for better sound with movies and TV shows, they're vastly better than your TV's built-in speakers.
Sonos perfected multiroom digital music for the home. It wasn't the first company to take on the task, but Sonos' system is so easy to use and undeniably superior that it's easy to recommend, even at a premium price.
Now Sonos wants to conquer the living room with the Playbar ($700). In many ways, the company's first sound bar is a success. Its understated looks fit Sonos' design ethos and it's ingeniously designed so it can lie relatively flush when wall-mounted or placed on a TV cabinet. The Playbar is also one of the only sound … Read more
I had a good feeling about the SVS Ultra Bookshelf speaker even before I heard it. First, the high-gloss black finish was perfect, and the heft of this 19-pound beauty left no doubt about the speaker's build quality. It seemed solid.
I've confessed many times on this blog my fondness for big speakers, but if you don't have the space for a set of tower speakers, so-called bookshelf speakers are the way to go. I said so-called because the last place you'd ever want to put a set of bookshelf speakers is in a bookshelf cabinet. … Read more
Choosing a sound bar largely comes down to sound quality and design, with features being far less important than when evaluating other products. That's what makes the Toshiba SBX4250 ($270 street) a bit of a hard sell: it sounds and looks just about average, but has a great feature set. There's built-in Bluetooth, for wireless audio streaming from most smartphones and tablets, plus it has a ton of inputs, with two HDMI, two optical, an analog, and a minijack. And although the sound bar itself is visually lackluster, the included remote is nicely designed.
The question is whether … Read more
A quick note of appreciation before I get started today: My Internet is down this morning (thanks, Comcast), but I'm able to continue working thanks to Tether.com, which lets me share my iPhone's 3G connection with my laptop -- no jailbreaking required. As a backup tool for situations like this and a pinch-hitter when there's no available Wi-Fi hotspot, it's a bargain at $29.95 annually.
Back to business. It's one of the great ironies of high-definition TVs that they look beautiful but sound terrible. Unfortunately, they're necessarily designed with thin, rear- or … Read more
There are those who would dearly love to kiss Jay Leno.
And there are those who would dearly love to smack him in the kisser.
I have no horse in this face.
But I would like to show you Leno kissing a man. This man is Jesse Heiman, who won a difficult lottery in order to be the one who kissed Bar Refaeli in an ad that ran during the Super Bowl.
In this deeply scripted scenario, Leno believes he is about to re-create the GoDaddy ad and kiss Refaeli.
She performs a switch and makes him kiss Heiman, whose (… Read more
If sound bars are the ultimate "good enough" home audio solution, the Vizio SB4021M-A1 ($270 street price) feels like the typical good-enough sound bar. It's solid in just about every respect, with a sleek design, a good remote, and above-average sound quality. At the same time, it lacks a single standout quality that would put it head and shoulders above its competitors. It may be easier to enthusiastically recommend a less well-rounded sound bar that either looks or sounds fantastic, but there's something to be said for a balanced product.
The big hesitation about the SB4021M-A1 … Read more
Apparently advertising really works. Well, at least if it contains a nerdy geek making out with a blonde model.
Web hosting company Go Daddy announced yesterday that it had its biggest Super Bowl sales day ever after its infamous ad aired on Sunday. The site got more new customers and overall sales than after any of its other Super Bowl campaigns.
"Attracting new customers is what advertising is all about," Go Daddy CEO Blake Irving said in a statement. "We set all-time Super Bowl Sunday records for mobile sales, Website Builders, website hosting and new customers." … Read more
America has a relationship with sex that can best be described as uncomfortable.
Over the years, the wily manipulators at Go Daddy have tried to soothe -- or, for some, exacerbate -- this discomfort with various sexual exploits at Super Bowl time.
This year is no exception.
For the company has decided to offer an ad in which Bar Refaeli kisses a nerd who is not quite as pulchritudinous as herself.
Which nerd could be?
The point of this is clearly strategic. Go Daddy as a brand is both sexy and nerdy. Of course it is.
And of course certain … Read more
LAS VEGAS--If you go with a sound bar instead a speaker system, you generally have to give up true surround sound. Unless, of course, your sound bar is a transformer.
The Philips Fidelio Soundbar HTL9100 is billed as the "world's first sound bar with detachable speakers," as the far ends of the sound bar can be removed and used as rear speakers. The detachable, battery-powered speakers operate wirelessly and Philips claims 10 hours of battery life. The speakers then recharge automatically when they're reattached.
The HTL9100 also features two HDMI inputs, in addition to an optical … Read more