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Recent Home Theater Editorials

Smoke and Mirrors and Upgraditus

Smoke and Mirrors and Upgraditus

Upgraditus. In the AV community, it is a real phenomenon. What is it? Well, simply defined, it is the feeling that something in your AV system needs to be changed or added. Unfortunately, manufacturers know all about upgraditus. They're counting on it. But just because a speaker manufacturer is changing the model number and the shape of the speaker, doesn't mean they are making a better one. When upgraditus strikes, and it will, make an informed decision. Take your time. Don't be blinded by the hype, and most importantly... DON'T PANIC!

Upgraditus. What is it? Well, simply defined, it is the feeling that something in your AV system needs to be changed or added. Unfortunately, manufacturers know all about it. Don't be fooled by them.

— June 07, 2011 00:50 in Editorials

Video: Michael Bay and James Cameron Talk 3D

Video: Michael Bay and James Cameron Talk 3D

When Michael Bay and James Cameron sit down together to talk about 3D as it pertains to filmmaking, it's something any film aficionado should take notice of. James Cameron is a filmmaker that feels "all films can benefit from 3D in some way" - a phrase we would not agree with at all, but still, the man that brought Avatar to life deserves our attention. With respect to Michael Bay, the discussion centered around the new 3D Transformers movie, which set up 3D with a nice foreground, midground, background layout - a technique of filmmaking that works extremely well with 3D. They even rigged 3D helmet rigs on top of men using parachutes who followed "winged men" who dove down through the cities.

When Michael Bay and James Cameron sit down together to talk about 3D as it pertains to filmmaking, it's something any film aficionado should take notice of and enjoy.

— May 30, 2011 05:25 in Editorials

Bose: Why Audiophiles Should Stop the Hate

Bose: Why Audiophiles Should Stop the Hate

Let’s give it up for Amar Bose – founder of Bose Corporation, easily the most controversial company in hi-fi. Serious audiophiles might smirk at the mention of the name Bose in the same breath as high-end audio. But it’s an association built on a clever combination of honest technical research, patents and successful marketing. Amar Bose made headlines recently when he donated a majority stake in his company to his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A closer look at the company many love to hate reveals a good corporate citizen at its helm that has influenced acoustic science in several positive ways.

Bose has been the punch-line of jokes about over-priced speakers with paper cones, patented so-called revolutionary technology

— May 17, 2011 05:35 in Editorials

Survive the PlayStation Network Hack!

Survive the PlayStation Network Hack!

Nothing gets in the way of shooting zombies online with cross-continent friends in Black Ops like a total PSN outage due to hackers. The possibility of your credit card number being in the hands of the aforementioned hackers doesn’t sit too well either. In this article we’ll run down the events that lead to the recent PlayStation storm, the risks and what you should do if you’re a PlayStation Network user that has provided Sony sensitive personal information. The same rules apply if you've ever used a credit card online because as we've seen these days - nobody is immune.

By now you've heard that the Sony PlayStation Network has been down all week. Sony finally identified that PSN was the target of an "external intrusion" and some of your personal data was compromised.

— April 28, 2011 01:15 in Editorials

Taxi Driver Blu-ray Movie Review

Taxi Driver Blu-ray Movie Review

The Martin Scorsese thriller Taxi Driver makes its Blu-ray debut, marking the 35th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release. But this is no ordinary high-def transfer to Blu-ray - Taxi Driver was chosen by Sony as one of only three films to go through a painstaking 4K restoration process. The process involved Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Chapman injecting color saturation that had been removed in the film’s original theatrical release. Now, you can own the vividly restored version of Taxi Driver that has been making rounds in limited release at theaters, and see it with all the paranoia-fueled blood and tension that was supposed to be in the original.

Taxi Driver is a piece of film history. Now, the Martin Scorsese thriller makes its Blu-ray debut, fully restored, and marking the 35th anniversary of the film's 1970's theatrical release

— April 05, 2011 01:15 in Editorials

Race to the Cloud

Race to the Cloud

If you have a twitter account or visited the Internet at all in the last few days you've heard that Amazon has released a new cloud-based service. This service, dubbed Cloud Drive, gives users 5 gigs of free cloud based storage for them to use to store anything they like. While you can store anything on your Cloud Drive, the real issue for now is music. Amazon's Cloud Player will allow you to listen to any of your music from any computer or device with a browser (provided you are in the US). The big labels, of course, aren't happy with the cloud. Frankly, when they look up at a summer sky, all the see are dollars they aren't pocketing. But does their argument have merit?

If you have a twitter account or visited the Internet at all in the last few days you've heard that Amazon has released a new cloud-based service called Cloud Drive. What it means for you.

— April 01, 2011 02:45 in Editorials

Treme: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Treme: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Treme is a new drama series on HBO, sprung from the mind of David Simon, creator of the The Wire. Set in New Orleans not long after hurricane Katrina, Treme brings us average people as they rebuild following the worst man-made disaster in American history. But don’t expect a somber look at life in the Big Easy. Instead you’ll find Treme populated with colorful characters of indomitable resilience as they pick up the broken pieces of their lives in this musical city. Treme switches effortlessly between subplots and unique perspectives, woven together with a thick thread of New Orleans’ unique culture, food and most of all music. You’ll not only forgive this series for breaking into a song – the music is what keeps you coming back. Finally, television that rewards your musical sound system!

Treme is a new drama series on HBO, sprung from the mind of David Simon, creator of the The Wire. Set in New Orleans not long after hurricane Katrina, Treme brings us average people as they rebuild

— March 23, 2011 15:35 in Editorials

The Tourist Blu-ray Review

The Tourist Blu-ray Review

The Tourist is a lighthearted caper film complete with Interpol vans, overtones of romance and international espionage. Starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, it features beautiful people in beautiful, exotic locales being chased by the kind of generic baddies that were rejected from a James Bond movie. There – you’ve just decided if you’ll like this film or not and you’re almost certainly right. Despite its wide berth of mixed reviews, The Tourist is neither a great movie nor an abomination of modern filmmaking. I found The Tourist surprisingly entertaining if equally forgettable.

The Tourist is a lighthearted caper film complete with Interpol vans, overtones of romance and international espionage starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

— March 21, 2011 01:45 in Editorials

Verizon Uses DirecTV

Verizon Uses DirecTV

So I was driving my motorcycle downtown today and scoped this out of the corner of my eye. What's that? Could my eyes deceive me? A DirecTV dish positioned right next to the big Verizon Plus Corporate sign? It certainly was... so intrigued was I that I pulled out my camera - riding gloves and all - and risked the shot while perched on the bike. This is one heck of an endorsement from the company that brings you Fios! Now I don't know if it's there because someone else in the building put it there, or because Verizon can't get its own service downtown (I live downtown and it's not available to my home) - but in either case it's good for a laugh... and hopefully it doesn't get anyone in trouble.

So I was driving my motorcycle downtown today and scoped this out of the corner of my eye. What's that? Could my eyes deceive me? A DirecTV dish positioned right next to the big Verizon Plus sign?

— March 18, 2011 13:54 in Editorials

Audioholics' Tom Andry Publishes First Novel - and Gives it Away!

Audioholics' Tom Andry Publishes First Novel - and Gives it Away!

It is rare that we have something to announce other than product news or reviews. However, we are proud to announce that our very own Associate Editor, Tom Andry, has released his first book Bob Moore: No Hero. While we are sort of obligated to read it, we weren't obligated to like it. And we do. We love it. Bob Moore, the titular protagonist, is a fairly stereotypical private eye who lives in a world of super powered humans. They started appearing about 30 years ago and now supers have become commonplace. They have their own country and government and Bob, once married to a super, specializes in investigating them. This doesn't make him very popular with the supers but he stays on top through a combination of a few defensive gadgets and his wits. We sat down to ask Tom a few questions about Bob Moore: No Hero.

It is rare that we have something to announce other than product news. However, we are proud to announce that our own Associate Editor, Tom Andry, has released his first book Bob Moore: No Hero.

— March 01, 2011 03:00 in Editorials

Guitar Hero - The Future New Coke

Guitar Hero - The Future New Coke

It seems like only yesterday we were hearing about the newest phenomena in video gaming, the meteoric rise of music games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Activision - Blizzard, the group behind blockbusters like World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series, announced it will end the Guitar Hero franchise on February 9 and shut down the division that produced it. The decision follows closely behind Viacom Inc’s sale of Harmonix, the developers of Rock Band after one too many money losing fiscal quarters. But does this spell the end of music games or even the Guitar Hero franchise? Not likely!

But don’t believe for a minute that this is the end for the Guitar Hero franchise. The game is only five years old, even by video game standards it’s just a pup. Guitar Hero is the future New Coke.

— February 18, 2011 12:25 in Editorials

Small Room Syndrome

Small Room Syndrome

With speakers, you can always tell if they have design flaws if you put them in large, well dampened room. You'll force them to play at their limits and, if they don't melt, smoke, or cause your amp to shut down, you can at least tell that they have no major design flaws. They may not perform well, but that's completely different. The question is whether there is a fundamental flaw in their design. When a manufacturer says they've "never heard of this problem from any of their customers" before, it simply means that we are pushing their products to their limits. Which, you have to admit, as reviewers we are expected to do. A review is supposed to be critical. And if it isn't, it really isn't worth much is it? But most consumers won't run into the problems we do because they have the proverbial "small rooms." They aren't pushing their gear to the limit.

Most consumers won't run into the problems we do because they have the proverbial "small rooms." They aren't pushing their gear to the limit. But we do. And manufacturers don't often like it.

— February 11, 2011 01:00 in Editorials

Hulu Troubles Signal Networks Contempt for Internet TV

Hulu Troubles Signal Networks Contempt for Internet TV

For a growing number of TV viewers, online services like Hulu are the preferred way to catch your favorite show. But the bad blood growing between Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and the studios that hired him may hint at the troubles the television networks are having getting online. Hulu and the rest of the online content industry might be guilty of being too successful. Last week, Jason Kilar dusted off his soap-box and gave a gutsy Knute Rockne speech on his company blog. In his willingness to speak the unpopular truth of his own industry, Mr. Kilar has shown rare intestinal fortitude and in my opinion, has ushered his name into the hallowed halls of tech-industry folk heroism. I won’t attempt to reiterate it here - you’ll just have to read “The Future of TV” for yourself.

Bad blood growing between Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and the studios that hired him may hint at the troubles the television networks are having getting online.

— February 10, 2011 13:20 in Editorials

Are You Buying a TV for the Super Bowl?

Are You Buying a TV for the Super Bowl?

According to a survey done at Twice.com, at least 4.5 million shoppers plan to take advantage of Super Bowl sales and deals to pick up a new TV in time for the big game. That number is up 25% from 2010 and almost 40% higher than those who were surveyed in 2009. The poll was conducted by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA). This is good news for retailers, who are still feeling the pinch of the post-recession downturn. With many new V models due in teh end of the first quarter (per CES announcements) retailers and manufacturers alike are using the big game as the opportunity to offload, at a discount, models which are due to be replaced shortly. Look for compelling price promotions and package/bundle deals which will be placed on fliers and in eye-catching end-caps at all major retailers.

According to a survey done at Twice.com, at least 4.5 million shoppers plan to take advantage of Super Bowl sales to pick up a new TV in time for the big game. That number is up 25% from 2010.

— January 27, 2011 07:10 in Editorials