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Recent Home Theater Editorials

WARNING: 3D Video Hazardous to Your Health

WARNING: 3D Video Hazardous to Your Health

Nintendo unveils 3DS and quickly follows-up with a statement about dangers to children under 7 playing with the company’s new portable gamer. Samsung releases a line of 3D HDTVs then issues a warning about its potential health risk to certain viewers. What they haven’t told you is that these warnings come after years of industry spin and cover ups. The truth is that prolonged viewing of 3D video may be even more harmful than the consumer electronics industry wants you to know.

3DS and 3D HDTV health risk. The truth is that prolonged viewing of 3D video may be even more harmful than the consumer electronics industry wants you to know.

— June 25, 2010 12:35 in Editorials

The Axiom Audio Blind Listening Test Overview

The Axiom Audio Blind Listening Test Overview

This year's annual visit to Axiom Audio brought about their announcement of their new V3 series of loudspeakers and running me through the ringer in their blind listening tests. Axiom conducts blind tests to reduce listener bias and ensure their product upgrades result in audibly provable results before making product changes. If you ever have a chance to personally visit Axiom Audio, I highly encourage you to bring along some music and request a blind listening session. Even if you decide which speaker sounds best to you within a few minutes, milk the experience and revel in the sonic delight.

This year's visit to Axiom brought about their announcement of their new V3 series of loudspeakers and running me through their blind listening test. It was an enjoyable and enlightening experience.

— June 24, 2010 14:05 in Editorials

Mac Mini Wants a Spot in Your Home Theater

Mac Mini Wants a Spot in Your Home Theater

Apple’s new toy has an HDMI port and Wireless N so it can stream HD video like nobody’s business. The Mac Mini behaves as though it wants a place alongside your home theater System. Its silent running, diminutive brushed aluminum form-factor makes it a stylish addition to any AV rig. But it’s not without problems – a $699 price tag isn’t the only hurdle you’ll negotiate to get yourself into the brand new Mac Mini.

Apple’s new toy has an HDMI port and Wireless N so it can stream HD video like nobody’s business. The Mac Mini behaves as though it wants a place alongside your home theater System. Its silent

— June 16, 2010 18:53 in Editorials

AV Rant #181: Dog Pillow

AV Rant #181: Dog Pillow

This week on AV Rant, Tom loses it. Also on tap this week, Onkyo partners with Walmart, the LifeLock dude needs to change his keys, Steven gets a better answer, and moths might just make your next display much better. Hate HDMI? Hello MHL (which, Tom discovered after the podcast, is not the same thing as Mobile HD). Netflix streams HD to PCs. Pandora - a study. We are REALLY sorry and video didn't work this week as you would have seen Tom cry. Yes, cry.

This week on AV Rant, Tom loses it. Also on tap this week, Onkyo partners with Walmart, the LifeLock dude needs to change his keys, Steven gets a better answer, and moths might improve displays.

— May 24, 2010 03:35 in Editorials

Measuring Pandora Radio

Measuring Pandora Radio

If you haven't heard of Pandora, you should. Pandora is a customizable radio service that is mostly free with commercials or $36 a year for commercial free plus additional features. Have you ever wondered which is better - voting up or down a song? Tom did and he designed an experiment to test it. The next step is up to you.

If you haven't heard of Pandora, you should. Have you ever wondered which is better - voting up or down a song? Tom did and he designed an experiment to test it. The next step is up to you.

— May 19, 2010 05:50 in Editorials

Why MP3's Won't Kill High Fidelity

Why MP3's Won't Kill High Fidelity

You might (or might not) be shocked at the number of times people forward me the latest diatribe about the death of high end audio. It seems every six months or so there is one coming out. We've even written a few here. The thought process is thus - kids these days are getting more and more into MP3s. Most programs default to around a 128kbps bitrate. As has been discussed in many places (with a great example on AV Rant) compression of that sort is clearly audible (or in comparison can clearly degrade the overall quality of the audio fidelity). Kids are getting used to this decrease audio quality and have even been shown to prefer it. Therefore, high end audio is going the way of the dodo. Here's why they are wrong.

It seems every six months or so there is a diatribe about the death of high end audio. We've even written a few here. Kids are getting used to MP3s and therefore high end audio is dying. I disagree.

— May 18, 2010 08:00 in Editorials

Goldmund's Million Dollar Wall of Sound

Goldmund's Million Dollar Wall of Sound

Every once in a while we stumble upon a gem that, while not new, reminds us of why we're here - you know, pursuing the truth in audio & video. What we stumbled upon was an old YouTube video of Goldmund, a Swiss company who built a reported million dollar studio. Our favorite quote: "Most of you are familiar with 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. With Goldman we are able to do up to 128 channels..." 128? Oh really?

Goldmund, a Swiss company who built a reported million dollar studio. Our favorite quote: "Most of you are familiar with 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. With Goldman we are able to do up to 128 channels."

— May 13, 2010 14:28 in Editorials

And So It Begins... FCC Allows MPAA to Control Your TV

And So It Begins... FCC Allows MPAA to Control Your TV

After years of wrangling with regulators at the FCC to allow retroactive disabling of analog HDTV outputs, the MPAA was finally able to convince the agency to allow them to SOC it to consumers. In violation of commonly accepted consumer rights, the FCC will now let Hollywood use Selectable Output Control (SOC) to retroactively disable any SDTV, HDTV, or other device that depends upon analog connections to view video over a red herring argument about preventing piracy.

After years of wrangling with regulators at the FCC to allow retroactive disabling of analog HDTV outputs, the MPAA was finally able to convince the agency to allow them to SOC it to consumers.

— May 13, 2010 14:25 in Editorials

Avatar Blu-ray Highlights DRM Troubles

Avatar Blu-ray Highlights DRM Troubles

The Unobtanium hording N'avi from James Cameron's Avatar have defeated the Dark Knight in Blu-ray sales. Avatar sold 1.5 million copies, more than doubling the first-day tally of Chris Nolan's second Batman flick on Blu-ray. But the record sales of Avatar opened a veritable Pandora's box as a record number of consumers get a bitter taste of digital media's dark side – Digital Rights Management (DRM).

So many consumers went home disappointed this week, hoping to watch a brand new copy of Avatar in flawless HD, that Best Buy put firmware update notices online and in stores to stave off mass returns.

— May 09, 2010 20:00 in Editorials

Is 3D HDTV Right For You?

Is 3D HDTV Right For You?

Just in case you haven't purchased enough A/V upgrades in the last few years, the home 3D home-video age is now upon us with plenty of new upgrades for your home theater system. Several brands have already hit the market that meets the new FHD3D standards for full 3D HDTV capabilities. But what exactly are you expected to buy and is it even worthwhile?

Just in case you haven't purchased enough A/V upgrades in the last few years, the home 3D home-video age is now upon us with plenty of new upgrades for your home theater system.

— April 26, 2010 07:00 in Editorials

Universal to Sell CDs for $10 - Duh.

Universal to Sell CDs for $10 - Duh.

In a remarkable, but delayed, achievement of common sense, Universal Music Group announced plans to drop prices on all of their new CDs to $10 or less. Universal is one of the largest music companies in the world, so this is big news in an industry that changes directions slower than the Titanic. The plan, which goes into effect this summer and will last through the rest of the year, is designed to reclaim consumers who have ditched the overpriced CD in favor of the digital download over the past several years.

In a remarkable, but delayed, achievement of common sense, Universal Music Group announced plans to drop prices on all of their new CDs to $10 or less in many music retailers across the country.

— March 23, 2010 14:11 in Editorials

The 10 Audioholics Commandments

The 10 Audioholics Commandments

After being in the AV business for over 10 years and with literally hundreds of product reviews under our collective belts, we can't help but come to a few conclusions. Commandments if you will. These are things we believe that everyone interested in AV gear should keep in mind before purchasing.

After being in the AV business for over 10 years and with literally hundreds of product reviews under our collective belts, we can't help but come to a few conclusions. Commandments if you will.

— February 19, 2010 02:45 in Editorials

AV Rant #166: All About MP3s

AV Rant #166: All About MP3s

Ever wonder what you are missing when you compress something into an MP3? Maybe you have a friend that thinks there is no difference. Maybe you always wanted proof positive that there is not only a loss in "lossy" compression but that the loss would be important not only to you, the self-styled Audioholic, but to the general public. Well, this is the podcast for you. Tom and guest co-host Austin of Studio B, Ltd. out of Omaha take you through not only the specifics of what MP3 is, but give you real world examples - tracks to listen to - of exactly what you are missing. Interested? You know you are.

Ever wonder what you are missing when you compress something into an MP3? Tom and guest co-host Austin Omaha take you through not only the specifics of what MP3 is, but give you real world examples.

— February 08, 2010 09:28 in Editorials

TV Technology Innovations at CES 2010

TV Technology Innovations at CES 2010

New innovations emerge every year at CES, but this year seems especially flush with big news from the major television manufacturers. And the big news isn’t about size. Panasonic did show a whopping 152-inch 4K2K plasma, but it wasn’t the company’s biggest news. After years of “my TV is bigger than your TV” battles on the CES floor, this year’s show was a refreshing change. So in an effort to ease digestion of all this complicated food for thought, we’ve rounded up some of the best new TV innovations from CES 2010. We also throw in some predictions on how these innovations will impact the market.

New innovations emerge every year at CES, but this year seems especially flush with big news from the major television manufacturers. And the big news isn’t about size - it's about tech: lot's of it.

Grant Clauser — January 22, 2010 18:05 in Editorials