“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Recently Published AV News

Spotify iPad App Announced with Retina Support

Spotify iPad App Announced with Retina Support

Spotify announced (finally!) their native iPad app this week. It's been a long tie in coming as the existing app didn't make much use (or any, really) of the enhanced space and real-estate available on the iPad. The new app also optimizes the app for use with the iPad 3's retina display. Here's a breakdown of the main features, which include Retina graphics for iPad, better browsing, a new ‘Now Playing’ full-screen view with HD cover art, enhanced (and unified) Search features, grouped inbox, gapless playback, crossfade, and - most importantly - Apple AirPlay integration.

Spotify announced (finally!) their native iPad app this week. It's been a long tie in coming as the existing app didn't make much use (or any, really) of the enhanced space and real-estate available.

— May 05, 2012 12:00 in AV News

Electronics House Announces Annual Hottie Awards!

Electronics House Announces Annual Hottie Awards!

Each year Electronic House announces its Hottie Awards to commemorate... oh, sorry, that's HOTY Awards. Apparently it stands for Home of the Year. Innocent mistake. In any case, the HOTY Awards are segmented into different categories to honor integrators and custom installation companies that go above and beyond in bringing superbly designed and executed home A/V and automation projects to life. These projects range in both price and complexity and fall into the several categories, each having an award for Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Each year Electronic House announces its Hottie Awards to commemorate... oh, sorry, that's HOTY Awards. Apparently it stands for Home of the Year. Innocent mistake. In any case, here they are.

— May 03, 2012 15:31 in AV News

HBO Blocks non-HDCP HDMI Outputs on DirecTV Boxes

HBO Blocks non-HDCP HDMI Outputs on DirecTV Boxes

There had been rumors of clamp-downs on non-HDCP broadcasting of digital content for years, but so far it's been more myth and "we can do this if we want to" than "we're actually doing it". Not anymore. Last week reports came in that some DirecTV subscribers were getting on-screen messages informing them that their non-HDCP outputs were being disabled and they'd have to switch to component video (see the photo, courtesy of theverge.com). What's odd, is that the message only had to do with HBO channels. Why is this even an issue in an age of HDMI-on-everything-including-your-refrigerator? Because early adopters to HDTV - you know, those people who paid thousands of dollars to help fund the low-cost TV production we now enjoy - received sets that pre-dated HDCP. Often, these sets had DVI inputs. It was only after the initial push of digital and HD sets that HDMI with its HDCP copyright protection hit the scene.

Last week reports came in that some DirecTV subscribers were getting on-screen messages informing them that their non-HDCP outputs were being disabled and they'd have to switch to component video.

— April 30, 2012 15:00 in AV News

Denon, Marantz, Boston Acoustics Prepping Huge Product Rollout

Denon, Marantz, Boston Acoustics Prepping Huge Product Rollout

We can't wait for CEDIA. While no one has been exactly sitting on their laurels, Denon and Marantz haven't been leading the pack in terms of product releases. Apparently, all of that is going to change this year. This week, the company released a statement that it will be introducing an "unprecedented" lineup of more than 70 new products within the next six months. Now all of that will not just be high-end receivers and amplifiers, of course. The company hinted at new "lifestyle-oriented" offerings which will include headphones and other innovative dock speaker solutions. Let's hope that 20 of the 70 new products aren't those Chinese knock-off in-ear headphones everyone seems to be falling all over each other to produce.

We can't wait for CEDIA. While no one has been exactly sitting on their laurels, Denon and Marantz haven't been leading the pack in terms of product releases. Apparently, all of that's going to change

— April 27, 2012 08:26 in AV News

Best Buy Closes 50 Stores, Set to Open 100 Mobile Stores

Best Buy Closes 50 Stores, Set to Open 100 Mobile Stores

On Saturday, Best Buy slipped out that it's shutting down 50 of its retail stores. In an attempt to avoid the fate of Circuit City (which officially closed in 2009), the retail giant is trimming the fat and cutting 400 corporate jobs and nearly $1 billion dollars in costs. What was odd was that the company indicated it would try and find jobs for those being laid off (which would seemingly counter the effort to actually "cut" jobs). In any case what was even more surprising was the matching announcement that the company would open up 100 new Best Buy Mobile stores in 2013. The new stores will be smaller than their big box counterparts and based on the most profitable side of the business. mobile phones and accessories.

On Saturday, Best Buy slipped out that it's shutting down 50 retail stores. In an attempt to avoid the fate of Circuit City (which officially closed in 2009), the retail giant is trimming the fat.

— April 26, 2012 06:15 in AV News

CEDIA EXPO 2012 Highlights and Changes

CEDIA EXPO 2012 Highlights and Changes

The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) has announced new additions and changes to this year’s CEDIA EXPO. The new offerings will provide electronic systems contractors (ESCs) with access to the information they need to remain relevant in the rapidly diversifying industry, with a strong focus on both business and technical education. CEDIA has added more opportunities for peer-to-peer business discussion with the introduction of two roundtable series. CEDIA has also expanded technical education offerings centered around IP and networking.

The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) has announced new additions and changes to this year’s CEDIA EXPO.

— April 25, 2012 15:52 in AV News

IKEA Brings Back the Cabinet TV

IKEA Brings Back the Cabinet TV

Our "Mad Men" nostalgia for the aesthetics of the 60s is now reaching out to living-room entertainment systems. The floor-model, cabinet TV is making a comeback at IKEA as the Swedish furniture company brings its unique design and funny names to consumer electronics. Soon you’ll find budget home theater gear packed cleverly inside IKEA’s living-room furniture – after some assembly of course. Think of it as a Home Theater in a Box (HTiB) system packed inside IKEA living-room pieces. Dubbed Uppleva, the line of gadget-furniture has an LED TV as its centerpiece and includes a wireless 2.1 speaker system, internet connectivity and Blu-ray compatibility but the real value offered by IKEA – no unsightly wires. It’s budget home theater with the ultimate in spousal approval factor.

The floor-model, cabinet TV is making a comeback at IKEA as the Swedish furniture company brings its unique design and funny names to consumer electronics.

— April 25, 2012 06:20 in AV News

Spotify for Android Preview

Spotify for Android Preview

Spotify has been out for Android, but this week a preview shows that the app is getting a complete overhaul. The new version of the app includes full support for Android 4.0, a new top-to-bottom redesign and an all-new slide-out navigation. You can also now check out your friends' profile pages and playlists on the go. The new app features artist imagery that is now in high resolution and a new related artist view. The app should also be a little faster to navigate and find music.

Spotify has been out for Android, but this week a preview shows that the app is getting a complete overhaul. The new version of the app includes full support for Android 4.0.

— April 22, 2012 17:40 in AV News

DISH Adds Pandora, Facebook to Hopper Whole-Home DVR

DISH Adds Pandora, Facebook to Hopper Whole-Home DVR

We're big fans of DISH and we're also big fans of Pandora. So what could be better than finding out that DISH has added the streaming music service to its DISH Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR system (which we're currently reviewing). Pandora on the Hopper allows customers to easily search for their favorite artists or songs and create personalized radio stations that play only the music they love. DISH customers with a Hopper can login to their existing Pandora account, or create a new Pandora account, to stream their personalized radio stations through their television. Of course, streaming Pandora on the Hopper requires an Internet connection.

We're big fans of DISH and we're also big fans of Pandora. So what could be better than finding out that DISH has added the streaming music service to its DISH Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR system.

— April 19, 2012 18:30 in AV News

Apple's LCD TV Not Out Yet and Already Making Waves

Apple's LCD TV Not Out Yet and Already Making Waves

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard the rumors of a pending Apple-branded television. Not that underachieving AppleTV black box, but a full-fledged flat panel TV that will somehow (and it's not hard to imagine how) revolutionize and simplify the home theater and television-watching experience. But check this out - KAE, a marketing and research company, started asking consumers if they'd be interested in an Apple-branded TV. In fact, they asked them if they'd buy one. 25 percent of U.S. respondents said they'd buy it today. A full 30 percent of UK consumers said the same thing. But that's not the end of it. When you factor in people who already own at least one Apple product, the number jumps 12 percent.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard the rumors of a pending Apple-branded television. Not that underachieving AppleTV black box, but a full-fledged flat panel television.

— April 19, 2012 00:32 in AV News

DTS Gone Wild - Announces UltraViolet Surround Sound

DTS Gone Wild - Announces UltraViolet Surround Sound

DTS just made a whole string of announcements this week. While many of them won't have much impact on our readers (like the fact that DTS and FM broadcasters have collaborated to bring the first surround radio experience to China) some caught our attention. In particular, DTS has partnered with catLabs to bring surround sound to the UltraViolet format. UltraViolet is a system that lets consumers stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices by managing subscriptions or digital rights in the cloud. The idea is that with UltraViolet you can "buy once, play anywhere" and your proof-of-purchases are stored in a single online location so you can play back content on any platform and with any device. DTS is a member of the DECE (Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem), the consortium of major Hollywood studios, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers behind UltraViolet. As one of the audio solutions for UltraViolet, DTS offers an efficient surround sound solution for streaming and downloading content.

DTS just made a whole string of announcements this week. While many of them won't have much impact on our readers, some, like integrating DTS surround sound into UltraViolet, caught our attention.

— April 16, 2012 19:09 in AV News

IKEA UPPLEVA TV with Integrated Electronics, Remote, 2.1 Audio

IKEA UPPLEVA TV with Integrated Electronics, Remote, 2.1 Audio

If you thought that bringing home a TV and attaching the base was too difficult, then IKEA has a solution for you. Now, with the UPPLEVA, you can order an entire entertainment center with the TV built in. Now, finally, you can assemble your TV in 32 different steps with no instructions except a series of pictoral diagrams that look like they were made by exiled Singapore children using .06 rapidograph pens dipped in oil. If you didn't understand that last reference, don't worry, we're just prepping you for the confusion that will be the IKEA television-slash-furniture system.

If you thought that bringing home a TV and attaching the base was too difficult, IKEA has a solution for you. Now, with the UPPLEVA, you can order an entire entertainment center with the TV built-in.

— April 13, 2012 06:20 in AV News

Sony Cutting 10,000 Jobs to Save TV Division

Sony Cutting 10,000 Jobs to Save TV Division

A report came out of Tokyo yesterday stating that Sony intends to cut 10,000 jobs in an effort to turn around its TV business. Now, there are a couple things to note in order for this news to really have much context. First, Sony has been losing money in its television segment for 8 years (that's how long the division has technically been "in the red"). Secondly, 10,000 jobs represents a full 6 percent of Sony's workforce - worldwide. It's not uncommon for new CEOs to clean house - after all that's why they were hired, but incoming CEO and President Kazuo Hirai is really shaking things up. He outlined this new business strategy at a press conference where he tied the announcement to a commitment to bringing back Sony to profitability in the television market they once dominated (remember the reign of Trinitron TVs?).

A report came out of Tokyo yesterday stating that Sony intends to cut 10,000 jobs in an effort to turn around its TV business. Will it work? Will they stop the bleeding? Will Apple's TV trump them?

— April 12, 2012 06:33 in AV News

Spotify Launches Play Button

Spotify Launches Play Button

Spotify introduced a new 'Play Button' today that gives users the ability to play any song, album or playlist in Spotify through a website. The Play Button makes all of this possible instantly and, more importantly, legally. How? We have no earthly idea. The new Spotify Play Button works without distracting banners and pop ups - and Spotify claims there will be no "legal takedowns". They claim the button will provide every Spotify user with access to millions of songs - all available in top quality audio. To bring this to light, Spotify teamed up with Tumblr, The Huffington Post, ELLE , Entertainment Weekly, PEOPLE, Time Out Group (New York City, Paris, London), Rolling Stone, Mashable, FanBridge, ShareMyPlaylists.com, FanRx, Popdust, The Independent, the Guardian, NME, Wonderwall, The Fader, Pitchfork, Noisey.com, Chegg and SPIN.com. That's quite a list.

Spotify introduced a new 'Play Button' today that gives users the ability to play any song, album or playlist in Spotify through a website. The Play Button makes all of this possible instantly.

— April 11, 2012 09:45 in AV News