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.
Onkyo's rightfully known as the king of AV receiver value and its new 2013 line looks worthy of that reputation.
The company announced its new AV receivers this morning, with the step-up TX-NR626 and TX-NR727 models getting two big new features for 2013: built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. All of the models are also packed with HDMI connectivity, with even the entry-level TX-NR525 offering six inputs.
Here's how I'd break down the most-important features:
TX-NR525 ($500): 5.2 channels, six HDMI inputs, Audyssey MultEQ, networking, unpowered second zone TX-NR626 ($600) step-ups: 7.2 channels, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, … Read more
A common complaint I get via e-mail or in comments on other articles involves a picture that breaks up into what look like little blocks.
Often, people incorrectly refer to these as "pixels," or blame their TV settings.
In fact, this artifact is in the source, and unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it.… Read more
All so-called LED TVs are really just LCD TVs that use LEDs for their backlight. This backlight creates the light that allows the LCD to create an image. However, there are multiple ways these LED backlights can be arranged, and that arrangement can have a dramatic effect on picture quality.
So here's your guide to all the different versions, with some funky illustrations, too.… Read more
BARCELONA, Spain--Announced on Saturday at Mobile World Congress, the Samsung HomeSync is a home theater media hub that aims to inject a little Android OS into your TV via your Galaxy handset. Slated for April, the device can stream videos, games, and other media from your Galaxy phone to your big-screen TV through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Think of it as an Apple TV for the Samsung faithful.
Design The Samsung HomeSync is packaged in a minimalistic glossy black box, and it's about the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of one another. When placed on a flat … Read more
David Katzmaier and I have gotten e-mails asking a seemingly odd question: how high can plasma TVs go? These e-mails, from videophiles living in high-altitude places such as Denver and Santa Fe, are concerned plasmas either won't work for them, or will have a loud buzzing.
Turns out, they're sort of right.… Read more
At CES in January, Sony announced several LCD TVs with "Triluminos," a new backlighting method that they promise offered "rich, authentic color, and excellent red and green reproduction." Digging deeper, it turns out Triluminos includes an optical component produced by QD Vision, Inc. called "Color IQ" which uses quantum dots to help create light.
OK, so what are quantum dots?… Read more
This is an update of a deal I posted last summer.
Juggling is meant for circus folk, not home-theater owners. Yet that's exactly what you're doing if you have more than one device and, ergo, more than one remote.
Regular Cheapskate readers know I'm a fan of Logitech's Harmony series of universal remotes. One of the better models, the 700, has a list price of $119.99 (or used to -- it's been discontinued). Ouch.