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Recent Home Theater Editorials

How Not To Sell A Receiver

How Not To Sell A Receiver

Recently I completed a series of articles comparing entry level, $500, and $1000 receivers. Beforehand I wondered how accurate are the specifications on the manufacturers websites? I'm not talking about the power ratings, we know those are mostly rubbish. I'm talking about the list of features. The number of inputs, the DSP modes, the compatibility, or even the chips used. Can you trust them? Are they accurate? Are they even complete? In my recent experience - No. Here's a short list of some of the things I found when trying to create a useful comparison document for our readers.

Recently I completed a series of articles comparing receivers. Beforehand I wondered how accurate are the specifications on the manufacturers websites? Not very I discovered.

— December 08, 2010 03:55 in Editorials

Merry Xmas from Audioholics Sponsors

Merry Xmas from Audioholics Sponsors

Just in time for Christmas (sort of) a couple of Audioholics sponsors are running contests in our forums. What could you win you ask? How about an Olive O3HD Media Server valued at $999? How about a Zona Wireless Surround Speaker system from Aperion Audio? Not interested? Yeah, we believe that like we believe you'd turn down a date withe Olivia Munn because she's not your type. To enter one of the contests all you have to do is click on one of the links, register for the forums (which you should have done already), and answer a few questions in the forum thread. Make sure to take a look at the contest rules for eligibility. Most of all have fun and good luck

Just in time for Christmas (sort of) a couple of Audioholics sponsors are running contests in our forums. Make sure to take a look at the contest rules for eligibility. Have fun and good luck!

— December 08, 2010 01:15 in Editorials

The Audio Breakup

The Audio Breakup

Witness an Audioholic world where surround sound is important. Important enough to make or break a relationship. In this Audioholic world, if you aren't rocking dual subwoofers, huge speakers, and a dedicated home theater, you aren't worth much. It's a speaker-eat-speaker world where you'd rather have a picture in your wallet of your room's frequency response than of your kids. Where the first question on the SAT is "Who designed the first MTM speaker?" Where children are sent to orphanages for pushing in dust caps. It's a place where the quality of a man is not judged on his job or car but how much air their subs can push. By how much power their home theater's pull. By having all the latest gear. It's a harsh world where poor sound is not tolerated and wedding rings are eschewed for exchanging amplifiers. The following video is a story from that world. While it may seem strange and terrifying to us, to them, it is an Audioholic life.

Witness an Audioholic world where surround sound is important. The following video is a story from that world. While it may seem strange and terrifying to us, to them, it is an Audioholic life.

— December 07, 2010 05:15 in Editorials

The Power of the Placebo Effect in Audio & Beyond

The Power of the Placebo Effect in Audio & Beyond

I never thought I could fall victim to the placebo effect being the skeptic that I am in nature. Last weekend's trip to the mall proved me wrong when I was stopped by an attractive booth babe trying to sell me a magical power bracelet to restore my balance and increase strength. This experience caused me to re-evaluate the influence of the power of suggestion and just how important it is to do controlled double blind testing in such instances. I wonder how long it will be before some exotic cable vendor starts slapping these power bands onto their speaker cables, or a company manufacturing sexual enhancement products adopts them for the bedroom touting it as safe and natural alternative to Viagra. Trust me it's coming.

I never thought I could fall victim to the placebo effect being the skeptic that I am in nature. This article explores the power of the placebo and the importance of using a controlled DBT protocol.

— November 23, 2010 09:00 in Editorials

Is It Time to Drop Cable TV for Netflix, Hulu Plus and Antenna?

Is It Time to Drop Cable TV for Netflix, Hulu Plus and Antenna?

According to an article at the Financial Times (which we won't link to since you have to pay to read it) research firm SNL Kagen reported that cableTV has suffered its largest customer drop in the past 30 years. We're talking big numbers. The drop, which numbered 741,000 over just the third quarter seems to indicate that consumers are jumping ship for Internet, web-based solutions over traditional cable. The article indicates that it's simply a younger, more tech-savvy crowd leading the charge, but we have an alternate opinion, and one we've been putting forth for over a year now in articles and personal evangelism: CableTV is expensive. That's right, paying over $100/month for TV and Internet is fine when the economy is going strong and your job is secure, but when it tanks, overpriced cableTV - let's face it - should be one of the first things to go.

According to an article at the Financial Times, SNL Kagen reported that cableTV has suffered its largest customer drop in the past 30 years - nearly 3/4 of a million subscribers in the last quarter!

Mark Johnson — November 18, 2010 08:40 in Editorials

The Insanity of the Loudspeaker / Subwoofer Shootout

The Insanity of the Loudspeaker / Subwoofer Shootout

A week doesn’t go by on our forums or via emails submitted to us by our readers asking us to do a loudspeaker, receiver, or subwoofer product comparison or shootout. While it may seem like a great idea to do this with products in theory, the reality is it’s a pain in the butt for a variety of reasons discussed in this editorial. Over the years of attempting these product shootouts, we've endured threats of lawsuits, lost advertising revenues of participants or potential participants, bruised egos and disgruntled readers. So why do we conduct product shootouts? I suppose it's curiosity to see just how much variance in performance between brands at similar price points. It is also important to us, that our readers comprehend that name of brand or price alone, are not the best determinants of quality. We would welcome a little less drama in the process and hope this article sheds some light on our dealings in setting up these type of editorial projects.

A week doesn't go by without a request from our readers to conduct a product comparison. While it may seem like a great idea, they are a pain in butt to conduct for reasons discussed in this article.

— November 10, 2010 04:35 in Editorials

Xbox 360 Kinect Racist? Consumer Reports Says No

Xbox 360 Kinect Racist? Consumer Reports Says No

The popular video game review website GameSpot.com caused a stir when it suggested that Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 might be racist. The problems started when dark-skinned GameSpot testers were having problems getting the facial recognition to work. The site claimed that during initial calibration it had to make repeated attempts to identify darker-skinned employees while lighter skinned employees were recognized upon first try. Meanwhile - the authority in product testing, Consumer Reports caught on early and sought to quickly debunk the GameSpot story.

The popular video game review website GameSpot.com caused a stir when it suggested that Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 might be racist. Meanwhile Consumer Reports disagrees with that assessment.

— November 05, 2010 07:15 in Editorials

GoogleTV: World Domination or Just Another Box?

GoogleTV: World Domination or Just Another Box?

There's no question that Google is an amazing and capable company. Like Apple, when they go out on a limb to create something new, people tend to take notice - and have a certain level of anticipation. Such is the case with GoogleTV. The mystery and hype surrounding this Android-based system is off-the-charts. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I played with the system over at DISH's booth at this year's CEDIA Expo. From my brief time spent there I came away with a few question, and a few observations - the answers and evaluations of which will serve to either make this product the next evolution in TV, a wild dream that never fully comes to fruition, or a limited-time solution that is nifty but doesn't hit mainstream adoption.

There's no question that Google is an amazing and capable company. Like Apple, when they go out on a limb to create something new, people tend to take notice- and GoogleTV brings a lot of anticipation

— September 27, 2010 07:25 in Editorials

My 3D Blu-ray & 3D Television Adventures at CEDIA

My 3D Blu-ray & 3D Television Adventures at CEDIA

3D. It's the "thing" that everyone has to deal with or risk losing out on this year. I decided to spent a lot of time investigating the various incarnations of 3D from the major manufacturers who were displaying the technology at their booths. Before I get too far, let me just apologize in advance to manufacturers not represented here; I tried to get to everyone, but invariably I'm sure I missed someone somewhere. Here is a log of my experiences, detailed by manufacturer.

3D. It's the "thing" that everyone has to deal with or risk losing out on this year. I decided to spent a lot of time investigating the various incarnations of 3D from the major manufacturers.

— September 24, 2010 22:10 in Editorials

Flat Panel Mounting Safety Tips

Flat Panel Mounting Safety Tips

Parent would do well to consider this a must-read article to help prevent accidents at home. This applies, primarily, to those who haven't yet installed their flat panel TVs on the wall (and we are big proponents of mounting your flat screen TVs in order to maximize the benefits of the new technology). But an accident can only take a second. Children can be seriously hurt or even killed as a direct result of furniture and televisions falling on them.

Parent would do well to consider this a must-read article to help prevent accidents at home. This applies, primarily, to those who haven't yet mounted and installed their flat panel TVs on the wall.

— September 05, 2010 21:00 in Editorials

A Dialogue on AV Receivers and Features

A Dialogue on AV Receivers and Features

It doesn't take much to start an argument here at Audioholics. We have some pretty opinionated staff, and even the professionals we interact with will throw in from time to time. Earlier this year we had an internal discussion having to do with this question of trading amplifier quality for features. This time, I discussed making this dialogue public, as it worked out to a rather interesting back and forth that brought to light the issues associated with adding new features to AV receivers while simultaneous dialing back other items in order to maintain price points.

It doesn't take much to start an argument here at Audioholics, and we found a good one about AV receivers. What we'd like to know is - what do you value most? Amplifier power? Or Features

— August 26, 2010 17:35 in Editorials

3D: The Most Predictable Flop in Recent History

3D: The Most Predictable Flop in Recent History

I've been a big critic of 3D for some time now. The industry has been pushing it full steam for over a year and it's really been amazing to see such a concerted effort being poured into something that I have felt is only destined to fail as a mainstream format. I'm not alone in my thoughts, but I am certainly unwelcome in an industry that seems to be hanging its hopes on a new way to make money from consumers being consistently drawn into new and decidedly non-traditional ways of consuming media. There are several reasons for my skepticism that 3D will somehow take over the industry anytime soon...

I've been a big critic of 3D for some time. The industry has been pushing it full steam for over a year and it's really been amazing to see such a concerted effort being poured into a temporary fad.

— August 16, 2010 05:35 in Editorials

TV Audio Moves Closer to Wireless Speakers

TV Audio Moves Closer to Wireless Speakers

In the last 3 years we have witnessed explosive growth in the sale of flat panel TV's. It's by far the form factor of choice, capable of delivering high definition video that consumers demand at a price point that is available for the mass market. However, contrary to all of the amazing accolades regarding picture quality, many have raised the issue about the lack of audio quality. Audio is the emotional connection to what we see and many believe that poor audio can ruin the viewing experience. George Lucas once said, “The sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie". So why do TV manufacturers put emphasis on video quality and not audio? The simple answer is that they have no choice.

A new technology called Summit Wireless is being embedded in TVs, speakers, A/V receivers, gaming devices, and Blu-ray players, enabling them to broadcast high-definition surround sound wirelessly.

— August 08, 2010 10:20 in Editorials

Sony Surreptitiously Confirms 3D Eyestrain Problems

Sony Surreptitiously Confirms 3D Eyestrain Problems

Tucked away in the latest Terms of Service for the PlayStation Network, and other associated websites, is a lovely little section that seems to confirm issues raised by Audioholics' Editorial: WARNING: 3D Video Hazardous to Your Health. The consumer electronics giant seems to suggest that, in its current form as with past attempts, consumer grade 3D video may be a source of sundry maladies that cause discomfort of the eyes and digestive tract, but more importantly may result in improper vision development in young children.

Tucked away in the latest Terms of Service for the PlayStation Network is a lovely little section that seems to confirm issues raised by the recent Audioholic's Editorial: 3D Hazardous to Your Health.

— July 15, 2010 01:20 in Editorials