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Video Sound Gets Fresh

New audio technologies are keeping up with the times.

Listening changed. So has audio.
TV / Video Spotlight10

TV / Video

That's Ultra HD To You (But Not Sony)

Monday October 22, 2012

In a move intended to bring clarity to the market, the Consumer Electronics Association has selected "Ultra High-Definition or Ultra HD" as the official name for TVs with "4K" resolution capability. While "UltraHD" a nicer ring to it than "4KTV," it may be a bit of a misnomer -- even higher resolution displays than 4K will eventually be coming down the pike.

UltraHD comparison

That, and a general predisposition toward going its own proprietary way, is why Sony has decided to forego the new nomenclature and continue to call its next-generation TVs "4K." The company says it doesn't want confusion with the even higher resolution displays that will eventually supplant even 4K, which is the name Sony will use for this technology from now on.

UltraHD, with 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels of height, has four times the resolution of today's top-end 1080p HDTVs. The first 4K products began shipping in earnest early this year. Between 4K resolution and the new OLED display technology just coming to market, the TV industry is hoping that high-end, high-performance video is the answer to the industry's financial woes.

Will consumers bite? Hard to say in the age of the knockoff economy, where this morning's breakthrough innovation is this evening's cut-rate offering. Stay tuned for more information and hands-on reviews of this exciting but nascent technology.

4K TV: Savior Or Silliness?

Tuesday September 25, 2012

Just when you thought HDTV couldn't get any better or any cheaper, you find out that it can get a lot better and a lot less cheap. The next big thing in video is 4k, which has quadruple the resolution of today's best 1080p TVs. The first two models on to the US market, from Sony and LG, will be here for the holidays.

LG UD 84LM9600

That's the good news. The bad news is that both of them will cost as much as an automobile. The other good news (if you love this stuff) is that at 84 inches, both of them are as wide as an automobile. The other bad news is that so far there's virtually no 4k content, though that could change fast.

I'm looking forward to spending some time with these monster sets, particularly since opinion is already so divided on 4k. Could true digital cinema quality in your home rejuvenate the declining TV business? Or is it just a marketing ploy that may make sense one day, but doesn't now?

We'll find out soon.

New Rotel Receiver: Sonic Breakthrough For Home Theater?

Tuesday September 25, 2012

There are a lot of great A/V receivers out there, but once you get to a certain level of sophistication and price, your eyes and ears begin to glaze over. The features can be so complex they're only useful to a pro installer or extreme enthusiast, and the sound, plus or minus, doesn't really differ so much, brand to brand.

Rotel RSX 1562

Rotel's latest A/V receiver, the RSX 1562, takes a nervy approach toward simplicity (read: fewer bells and whistles) and a relatively novel amplifier technology that will really turn your head. This receiver produces tremendous sonic detail and punch, especially at lower volumes. It's almost like a new kind of sound, and in a conventional listening space, with conventional speakers, can really be a deal-maker.

This was my first extended experience with these new(ish) Class D amplifiers and I was duly impressed. It's a nascent technology that's already good and is going to get even better. You can read a full hands-on review of the Rotel RSX 1562 here.

Meet The Newest A/V Component: The Wi-Fi Router

Tuesday September 25, 2012

With streamed media being so central to today's video landscape, you've got to look at your Wi-Fi router as another source component, just like your disc player or cable box. Anyone who's endured an interrupted video stream, sat through endless re-buffering or had to abort a movie altogether knows how crucial Wi-Fi is to the audio-video chain.

Linksys E4200

Would a better Wi-Fi router change the streaming experience? And if not, can anything else be done? I wanted to find out, so I took at look at one of the state-of-the-art models and put it through its paces to see how much of a role the Wi-Fi router really plays in your streaming experience. Check out the hands-on review of the Linksys E4200 here.

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