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Preview: HDTV and Home Theater Podcast

HDTV and Home Theater Podcast

All the HDTV and Home Theater news and info you need, without all the reading.

Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:00:14 +0000

Copyright: Copyright © 2015, HT Guys. All rights reserved.

Podcast #768: HDTV Buying Guide 2016

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:00:14 +0000

(image) It’s beginning to look a lot like whatever holiday you may be celebrating this holiday season. Or that you may not be celebrating - not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we grew up celebrating Christmas, so we know what we’re hoping to see under the tree with our names on it. If you happen to be lucky enough to have budget for a new HDTV this Christmas season, but still aren’t sure which one to buy, we’ve got you covered. Like last year, we’re dropping the budget categories, and the screen size categories and jumping right to our top picks. We each pick three TVs and one ultimate HDTV present for you to consider.(image)

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Podcast #767: What we're thankful for '16

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 09:00:42 +0000

(image) Each year at this time of year we do a show where we discuss what we are thankful for. There are the obvious things to be thankful for like our families, especially our wives who put up with our home theater obsessions. And of course we are thankful for you, the listener/reader of our show. So as is tradition over the last many Thanksgivings, on today's show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.(image)

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Podcast #766: Black Friday Preview 2016

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:00:44 +0000

(image) If you’re going to set up camp and secure a great spot in line for Black Friday sales, you probably want to make sure you’re at the right store. There may be one killer deal at one store, but ten almost killer deals at another. We’ve done all the research so you'll know where to camp out Thursday night. Looking back on years past, in 2008 a 50-inch 720p plasma was going for $900. In 2009 you could get a 50-inch 1080p plasma with a Blu-ray player for $1000. Fast forward to last year when the lowest price for a tier one brand HDTV was a 49" Toshiba 1080p LED for only $149.99. That might be worth camping for.(image)

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Podcast #765: Ray Super Remote

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 09:28:00 +0000

(image) Just like a conductor’s baton a good remote control is mandatory to conduct and direct the use of your home theater. We’ve reviewed so many over the years. Ara has settled on the Simple Control application running on an iPad Mini while Braden uses the Logitech Harmony Remotes around his home. But today we are taking a look at the Ray Super Remote (Buy Now $249) which creators bill as the “the ultimate touchscreen universal remote control”.(image)

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Podcast #764: Kodi

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 08:14:00 +0000

(image) There has been an explosion of devices recently, or perhaps going back a couple years, that are based on the Kodi Media Center software or include Kodi as a standard app you can run along with other the other apps available on the device. A simple search at Amazon for ‘Kodi’ yields pages and pages of options for devices. Intrigued by this streaming platform that seems to have taken off like wildfire, we decided to pick up one of these little boxes and see what all the fuss is about.(image)

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Podcast #763: Room Acoustics with David Kroll

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 08:51:00 +0000

(image) On today's show we have an Interview with David Kroll KEF's World Wide Ci Product Manager and we discuss room acoustics. What are some simple things you can do to improve your sound and what are things to avoid.(image)

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Podcast #762: Vudu Movies on Us

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:56:00 +0000

(image) You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t think Netflix totally changed the game in home entertainment. First, with the unlimited DVD rentals for a small monthly fee. They essentially ended the video store business. Then, with the shift into unlimited streaming movies, anywhere, anytime, again for a small monthly fee. It has changed the way most of us watch movies, and in some cases, television series. They’ve been so succesful, others, like Amazon, have tried to copy their model. But you can’t be king forever. Someone will eventually come along with a different game changer and dethrone you.(image)

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Podcast #761: Tivo Mantis... Cord Cutter's Dream Box?

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 08:26:00 +0000

(image) We have read countless emails from listeners who have cut the cord over the years and many of them have turned to Tivo to become the center of that process. With an antenna and a Tivo box you can cut your TV subscription services to almost nothing. Tivo boxes support Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, Plex, and Amazon Prime so you really don’t have to give up everything. Yes there are cable channels that you may miss, but many of those have an app where you can watch some of the programming for free. Worst case you may need to buy a few season passes of a couple of TV shows that are not available through an app. Regardless, you should be able to watch everything you want and dramatically cut your yearly bill.(image)

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Podcast #760: ATSC 3.0

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 07:08:46 +0000

(image) In the United States and a few other parts of the globe, the standard that defines how digital television transmissions work over terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasts is called ATSC, named after the Advanced Television Systems Committee. ATSC 1.0 is in use now as the current standard, adopted by the FCC in 1996. But the committee is actively working on the next generation of broadcast standards and has released both 2.0 and 3.0 versions - neither of which are actually in use yet. Some feel that ATSC 3.0 may leapfrog 2.0 and make it obsolete before it even gets any serious mileage on it.(image)

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Podcast #759: Plex Interview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:24:00 +0000

(image) Today we interview Elan Feingold CTO of Plex and Jason Williams Director of Product and Growth of Plex. For those of you who do not know what Plex is, Plex is a media server and client suite of applications that organizes your multimedia content from personal libraries and streams it to their player both on a local network and across the Internet.(image)

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Podcast #758: CEDIA 2016

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:00:21 +0000

(image) Each year CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) holds an event where the industry gathers to show off their wares. It is akin to a mini-CES, but also for many of us represents a best of CES of sorts. When we’ve been to attend the show, we tend to enjoy it more than CES. It takes the parts of CES that we are interested in and compresses it down to a more manageable show. We didn’t go this year but that won’t stop us from talking about some of the products we think are interesting. This year the show was from September 13-17 in Dallas, TX.(image)

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Podcast #757: Home Theater Seating

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 07:10:57 +0000

(image) We’ve had media/projector rooms in our homes for a few years now. We’ve talked about our electronics, our content, and even some of the decorations that go into those rooms. But we haven’t really discussed seating. That’s because for many of us the seating is simply your tradition couch or recliner.(image)

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Podcast #756: Home Theater News and Talk

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:01:00 +0000

(image) Today is a bit different. We cover current news and events in Home Theater and Home Electronics, but with a twist. Two special guest hosts join one of our regular HT Guys to fill in for a missing HT Guy. Hope you enjoy.(image)

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Podcast #755: IFA 2016

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 08:38:00 +0000

(image) Each year in Germany consumer electronics manufacturers come together to display their wares at IFA. The IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (International radio exhibition Berlin, aka 'Berlin Radio Show') is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany. Kind of like a mini-CES, manufacturers announce new products and services. We haven’t covered the show for a few years, but this year we thought it would be pertinent to run down some of the announcements as they pertain (mostly) to Home Theater.(image)

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Podcast #754: Plex Server on the Nvidia Shield

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:10:00 +0000

(image) Since close to the beginning of our podcast, a video server has been high on the HT Guys list of gear that everyone should have in their setups. Back then there was a product that did exactly what we wanted but it cost upwards of $50,000! The Kaleidescape was THE video server we all wanted. It had a great user interface with best looking experience.(image)

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Podcast #753: New TV Shows for Fall 2016

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 08:07:00 +0000

(image) Christmas. the Super Bowl, Fashion Week in New York, Taco Tuesday … Few things in life are as highly anticipated as television premier season every Fall. There isn’t much we look forward to more. All of your favorite shows coming back for another season, and a ton of new shows to potentially add to the DVR queue. Who knows, one of them could be the next Grey’s Anatomy or Ally McBeal, some of our favorite shows of all time.(image)

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Podcast #752: Connect with FireConnect

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 08:25:24 +0000

(image) Since almost the beginning we have been looking for ways to ditch wires. They are a pain to run across rooms, create unsightly bulges in carpet or even require drywall cutting. There are a few technologies that have been out for some time now. We have AirPlay by apple, Chromecast by Google, Bluetooth, and few other lesser known technologies. They all work pretty well and have support from various receiver manufacturers.(image)

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Podcast #751: The History of Format Wars

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 08:57:00 +0000

(image) There are seven top smart home trends for 2016, but they're more fun when you combine them. Maybe. And would it be possible for Apple to start a home audio revolution, just by making one small change to the iPhone? It might be possible, but we'd need to take a look major format wars through the years and analyze Sony's sneaky involvement in each. The two may be unrelated, but we can tackle them both in the same episode.(image)

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Podcast #750: QLED Explained

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:41:00 +0000

(image) A few weeks ago we mentioned that Samsung would be investing in QLED technology and we thought that QLED was just a clever branding name for Quantum Dot technology. It was quickly pointed out that QLED is indeed a separate technology and one that may give OLED a run for it's money.(image)

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Podcast #749: 2016 TWICE VIP Award Nominations

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 08:26:00 +0000

(image) The VIPs are TWICE’s (This Week In Consumer Electronics, a weekly trade magazine for professionals in the consumer electronics field) annual products awards, and only retailers and distributors can vote to honor the products that have made the biggest difference in their business. The awards are based on product features, product design and value to consumers. After voting is completed, ballots will be compiled and reviewed by TWICE editors. Winners will be announced in the Aug. 22 print issue of TWICE.(image)

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Podcast #748: Value Electronics HDTV Shootout 2016

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 08:03:00 +0000

(image) Each year Value Electronics, a Scarsdale NY Electronics Retailer, gathers HDTV experts from across the nation and pits some of the best HDTVs against each other in order to determine which TV is the “King of TV”. This was the thirteenth year the competition took place.(image)

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Podcast #747: Samsung HW-K450 Soundbar Review

Fri, 08 Jul 2016 08:31:00 +0000

(image) Braden recently upgraded some of the gear in his loft because his boys were demanding a 4k television. There’s something to be said about raising a new generation of home theater enthusiasts, especially when they can help you gang up on the finance committee. They were approved for the purchase of a Vizio E70u-d3, but since we’ve already reviewed the Vizio P702ui-B3, we’ll skip the TV review and talk about what the boys decided to buy to upgrade sound in their loft, the Samsung HW-K450 Soundbar.(image)

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Podcast #746: The THX Story

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 08:52:00 +0000

(image) On today’s show we discuss THX, the history and what it means to you and your home theater, with David Kroll Global CI Product manager for KEF.(image)

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Podcast #745: ViewSonic PJD5255 DLP Projector Review

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 08:33:00 +0000

(image) We typically have some sort of backyard or outdoor theater discussion every summer when the weather is nice and we’d all like to take our movie watching to the great outdoors. We’ll probably do a more in-depth feature on the topic later in the summer, but as luck would have it, we found ourselves as the proud owners of a new ViewSonic PJD5255 DLP Projector ($339), a perfect backyard theater projector. But it’s good for much more than just outside, so you can even use it during the cold or rainy season.(image)

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Podcast #744: Hi-Res Symposium 2016

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 07:34:09 +0000

(image) Representatives from Universal Music Group, The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing and Sony Electronics met recently to underscore the variety of marketing and educational programs that are currently underway to promote the benefits of Hi- Res Audio devices, content and services to a broader audience.(image)

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Podcast #743: 2015-2016 TV Season Winners and Losers

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 05:00:16 +0000

This week Ara and his daughter Stephanie discuss the winners and losers of the 2015- 2016 TV Season.(image)

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Podcast #742: Father's Day Wish List

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 08:00:18 +0000

(image) We start of with a discussion of Gadget Review's Best Soundbars of 2016. That takes us into a discussion on Apple and more rumors of them "cracking the code" with the Apple TV. Then it's on to our wishlist for Father's Day. If our kids are listening, we're making it really easy for you this year.(image)

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Podcast #741: SVS Soundpath and Google I/O 2016

Fri, 27 May 2016 07:52:12 +0000

(image) Google has dabbled in the Home Theater and Home Automation arenas for quite a while - going all the way back to the Logitech Revue and Google TV in 2010, and there were a few devices before that failed experiment as well (review in Episode 452). Even with the success of the Chromecast, it still feels like Google is just toying with us, but that all may change soon. Some of the announcements out of this year’s Google I/O conference are pretty exciting, and very promising. Plus, they have something called Project Ara - how can we not talk about that?(image)

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Podcast #740: Tivo Bolt Review

Fri, 20 May 2016 08:26:00 +0000

(image) Cord cutting is all the rage, but for many of us, it simply isn’t an option. There’s way too many members of the household that can’t do without TV, you’re too far from the transmitters to get over-the-air TV, or the shows you really want to watch aren’t available from streaming, or you really like watching live events you can’t get over-the-air. Whatever that case, cutting the cord is a non-starter. Slimming the cord, however, could totally work. And the Tivo Bolt might be the perfect device to do it.(image)

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Podcast #739: Yamaha RX-A850 Review

Fri, 13 May 2016 07:45:07 +0000

(image) Last October Ara bought a Pioneer Elite VSX-90 7.2 Channel A/V Receiver for his family room. He was looking for something that would allow him to switch 4K content through to his Vizio P-Series 4K UHDTV. The receiver was able to do that and provide good quality sound but he was never happy with the reliability of the receiver. It wouldn’t turn on at times requiring a physical reset and it took as many as 8 seconds for it to switch inputs. One day a few weeks ago Ara had enough and decided to swap it out with a new receiver.(image)

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Podcast #738: Interview with Gary Yacoubian of SVS

Fri, 06 May 2016 08:23:00 +0000

(image) On today’s show we have an interview with the President of SVS Gary Yacoubian. We talk about their forthcoming line of Prime Elevation Speakers. We also discuss their line of high quality accessories that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Finally we finish off with a discussion who the audiophile of today is.(image)

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Podcast #737: Highlights from NAB 2016

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:26:25 +0000

(image) Faithful listener and long time contributor to the show Ed Stouffer graciously agreed to be our “man on the street” - or “man on the convention show floor” if you prefer, at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. The show just wrapped up, running from April 16-21. For those who aren’t familiar, NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters and the NAB Show is their annual gathering to see, learn about and talk about all the latest innovations in audio and video production, broadcasting and distribution.(image)

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Podcast #736: DirecTV 4K Review

Fri, 22 Apr 2016 09:45:55 +0000

(image) DirecTV has added 4K capabilities to some of it’s Genie HD DVR models and we are fortunate enough to have a listener who has upgraded to the new service. Ralph Smithers, good friend of the show, was kind enough to share his experience with the upgrade process and quality of the 4K content available.(image)

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Podcast #735: THX tune-up to the Rescue

Fri, 15 Apr 2016 08:49:00 +0000

We had a friend recently who was complaining about their HDTV experience at home. They weren’t seeing the quality they were hoping to see after upgrading their TV, and were contemplating returning it. In talking through it with them, we were able to convince them that perhaps the TV settings just needed to be dialed in to look great in their viewing room. They didn’t want to spend money on a professional calibration, so we went to the trusty THX tune-up app to see what we could do.(image)

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Podcast #734: Bragi Dash Review and HDR Explained

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 08:10:15 +0000

(image) For more than a year now we have been talking about 4K TVs and how they are supposed to be the next big thing. But in actuality the increased resolution is only mildly better than equally spec’d 1080p HDTVs. We have pointed to case study after case study that says you need very large (100” or more) screen to see a difference between 1080p and 4K when sitting at normal viewing distances. This alone is not a good reason to upgrade.(image)

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Podcast #733: Home Automation: OpenHAB and OpenRemote

Fri, 01 Apr 2016 07:07:08 +0000

(image) There is this dream we have to be able to automate everything in our homes, but do it ourselves, without hiring an installer, and do it for cheap without breaking the bank. So far we have used a lot of Insteon devices, and tied them into other systems to expand the overall reach of what we could build. Luckily, we aren’t the only ones with this dream and a few open source projects have popped up to help us DIY-ers achieve our dreams.(image)

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Podcast #732: Audioengine HD6 Powered Speaker Review

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 08:27:00 +0000

(image) We have been reviewing Audioengine speakers since just about the beginning of the company’s existence. We started with the A5 and have more or less used every product that Audioengine has released. Whether it's been the original A5s from almost 10 years ago to their high performance D1 DAC. Everyone product we have reviewed has delivered on Audioengine’s commitment to build innovative and high quality audio products.(image)

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Podcast #731: DTS Play-Fi

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 10:07:40 +0000

(image) We had a chance to check out the WiSA standard in our review of the Axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System on Podcast 728 a couple weeks ago. On top of that, Ara is a big AirPlay fan for whole house audio and Braden is invested in Sonos. Since we can’t have just one, or even four, standards, it looks like another competing technology, this one from DTS, is hoping to fulfill our dreams of wireless audio around the home. The technology, called DTS Play-Fi, looks pretty promising and has some solid companies in its corner.(image)

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Podcast #730: Interview with Will Price, CEO of Simple Control

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 13:22:36 +0000

(image) Ara has been using Simple Control as his home remote for many years. It is the one piece of gear that he can’t live without. His setup includes three rooms, lights, thermostats, and iTunes control all in one great looking app. We produced a video demonstrating the capabilities, though a little dated they show the capabilities pretty well.(image)

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Podcast #729: KEF T-Series 5.1 Speaker System

Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:00:00 +0000

(image) We all tend to agree with the idea that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, especially when it comes to speakers in your home theater. You can either get small, good looking speakers that match your aesthetic decor, or you can get good sound. You can’t have both. KEF, and their T Series speakers, would like to respectfully disagree. Braden recently ran into a listener who ordered some T series speakers when he realized we had never posted a review of them.


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Podcast #728: Axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 09:00:10 +0000

(image) This podcast is going on eleven years and one thing that we have heard from the beginning is that there are too many wires required to setup a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system. Wireless has always been the dream but it's never been good enough. That is until today!(image)

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Podcast #727: So You Need to Replace a Plasma…

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 09:00:24 +0000

(image) Whether you’re a plasma owner lamenting the day when you’ll need to replace or upgrade it, or you always wanted to be a plasma owner but missed your chance before they went extinct, there are options out there you may not be too bummed out about. We’ll admit, the Pioneer Kuro demo we saw at CES several years ago is still the single most jaw dropping television demo we’ve ever seen. But it may not have actually been the best TV we’ve ever seen.(image)

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Podcast #726: ELAC B5 Debut Bookshelf Speakers

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:40:38 +0000

(image) Last year Ara went to The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show) in Newport Beach where he saw some extremely expensive AV equipment. There were rooms full of gear costing more than $100,000 and speakers from companies, some of which you have heard of, and many more from companies that only audiophiles would know. There was so much to be impressed with but alas, they were only a pipe dream for Ara as he still had a mortgage to pay and a daughter to put through college. By the way, this year’s “Show” is June 3 - 5 at the Hotel Irvine in Irvine CA.(image)

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Podcast #725: Nvidia Shield 4k Review

Fri, 05 Feb 2016 08:20:38 +0000

(image) The market for streaming boxes is pretty crowded. You’ve got the Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast just to name a few. The market for 4k streaming boxes is even getting pretty crowded lately. So is there still room for one more? Nvidia would like to think so. And we love everybody, so we were willing to give yet another set top streamer a chance. This one is called the Nvidia Shield 4k.(image)

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Podcast #724: Plex Media Server Review

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 09:08:14 +0000

(image) If you have been with us for a while you know how fond we are of media management. The first time we saw the Kaleidescape system back when we first started the podcast we became obsessed with having all our videos available to stream to our televisions. Over the years we tried many different solutions from XBMC and Boxee to iTunes and the AppleTV. Ara settled on the iTunes solution because he was so heavily entrenched in the Apple eco system that it made the most sense. Over the years we have received plenty of emails asking us to check out Plex and Ara did, but because he was so committed to the AppleTV it was nothing more than a rudimentary look.(image)

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Podcast #723: TCL Roku LCD TV Review

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 09:46:00 +0000

(image) Smart TVs are all the rage these days. It seems like everyone has their own Smart TV platform that is supposed to be better, faster, cooler, more awe inspiring than the other guys’. But what is an upstart TV manufacturer like TCL, without the resources to go off and build it’s own smart TV platform supposed to do? Partner of course. They chose to partner with Roku to give you a jaw-dropping Smart TV out of the box without having to invest in building or maintaining their own. Sort of brilliant if you ask us.(image)

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Podcast #722: Marantz SR6010 Review

Fri, 15 Jan 2016 14:02:03 +0000

(image) It was a couple of years ago that we heard our first demo of immersive surround sound. It was at CES that the then SRS Laboratories made sounds dangle in mid air. Then we heard about Dolby Atmos which did the same thing first in the cinema and now in the home. Speaker manufacturers quickly jumped on board and created upfiring speakers that bounce sounds off the ceiling to create a dome of sound and receiver manufacturers developed products that made the speakers work.(image)

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Podcast #721: CES 2016

Fri, 08 Jan 2016 09:08:00 +0000

(image) It’s that time of year again, the time when hordes of people descend on Las Vegas, Nevada to get a glimpse of all the new technology manufacturers are showing off. Last year over 170,000 people attended. This year, there will be two less. With one HT Guy in Seattle, we weren’t able to attend in person. But luckily many of our peers were, so we get to sift through their highlights without having to walk for miles through countless booths and crowds to see everything.(image)

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Podcast #720: Home Theater Predictions for 2016

Fri, 01 Jan 2016 09:01:53 +0000

(image) Time for the HT Guys to look into our crystal ball and try and predict the HDTV and Home Theater landscape for 2016. Our crystal ball is never as clears as a good HDTV but we give it a shot nonetheless.(image)

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Podcast #719: Prediction Review for 2015

Fri, 25 Dec 2015 09:15:58 +0000

(image) It's hard to believe that another year has gone by! With that it's time to see how we did with our 2015 predictions. Did the world of HDTV and Home Theater shape up like we thought (or hoped) it would?(image)

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Podcast #718: Ultimate Home Theater in a Box for 2015

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 11:00:12 +0000

(image) Each year we design a Home Theater setup that is considerably better than a typical home theater in a box. We have seen complete setups for less than $500 from manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic that quite frankly do not sound good. While our system costs more than a name brand HTIB your satisfaction will be dramatically more. Plus we include EVERYTHING you need to actually setup a home theater. Minimum components for our system are a HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Receiver, and 7.1 speakers.(image)

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Podcast #717: HDTV Buying Guide 2015

Fri, 11 Dec 2015 09:47:00 +0000

(image) Tis the season for us to go wishlist shopping and help you spend your money - one of our favorite times of the year. If you happen to be lucky enough to have budget for a new HDTV this Christmas, but still aren't sure which one to buy, we've got you covered. Unlike years past, we’re going to skip the budget categories, and the screen size categories and jump right to our top picks. We each pick three TVs and one 'money is no object' / 'dare to dream' TV for you to consider.(image)

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Podcast #716: Receiver Buying Guide 2015

Sat, 05 Dec 2015 02:11:00 +0000

(image) It is that time of year where we get to spend your money again! This week we concentrate on receivers. Our goal with these guides is not necessarily about getting the latest product. It's about getting a good product at a great price so you may see some of last year’s gear on the list. All these receivers are readily available online or at a big box store. Just like last year’s Buying Guide, we’re going to skip the budget categories jump right to our top picks. We each pick three receivers and one ‘money is no object’ / ‘dare to dream’ receiver for you to consider.(image)

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Podcast #715: What we are Thankful For 2015

Thu, 26 Nov 2015 15:22:57 +0000

(image) Each year at this time of year we do a show where we discuss what we are thankful for. There are the obvious things to be thankful for like our families, especially our wives who put up with our home theater obsessions. And of course we are thankful for you, the listener/reader of our show. So as is tradition over the last many Thanksgivings, on today's show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.


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Podcast #714: Black Friday Preview 2015

Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:28:00 +0000

(image) Black Friday is an ever-evolving event and every year we can’t get enough. This year, some stores are opening way earlier, others are skipping Black Friday altogether. If you’re planning to wait in line, we wish you the best of luck. Just like prior years, the deals are as good as ever. Looking back, the deals we thought were unreal are totally inflated now.(image)

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Podcast #713: AppleTV Gen 4 Review

Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:39:00 +0000

(image) It's fair to say there are three big names in streaming set top boxes, Roku, Apple, and Amazon. Yes we know there are others but these are the biggest right now. We reviewed the Amazon Fire TV a few shows ago (Podcast #710) and we will review the Roku 4 in the near future but today it's the AppleTV 4. It comes in two incarnations, the 32 GB will run you $149 and the 64GB will run you $199. We took the 64 GB version for a spin. The one big feature that is missing is that the AppleTV does not support 4K. Is that a deal breaker?(image)

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Podcast #712: Pioneer Elite VSX-90 Receiver Review

Fri, 06 Nov 2015 09:09:00 +0000

(image) The HT Guys upgrade equipment faster than most just so we can stay on top of the latest technology. So when the 4K Fire TV product was released and our current receiver could not send a 4K signal to the TV we figured what better reason to upgrade. We chose the Pioneer Elite VSX-90 7.2 Channel Receiver with Atmos mainly because it is a capable receiver and it didn’t break the bank.(image)

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Podcast #711: Instant Home Theater in Two Hours or Less

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 08:09:00 +0000

(image) Amazon Prime changed the game. You can have pretty much anything you need, including an entire home theater, delivered to your home in two days or less. And you never have to get off the couch. A recent conversation with a friend who needed a TV and an HDMI cable and had them delivered in an hour using the new Prime Now app got us thinking. What if you wanted an entire home theater delivered to your home within an hour or two? Is that even possible?(image)

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Podcast #710: Amazon Fire TV (4K) Review

Fri, 23 Oct 2015 10:38:10 +0000

(image) We are big fans of streaming set top boxes. Whether it be Roku, Apple, or Amazon there is a streamer out there that makes watching movies as convenient as pressing a button on your remote. So when all three updated their offerings we knew we were going to be spending some time in front of the TV evaluating them. First up is the Amazon Fire TV in 4K.(image)

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Podcast #709: CEDIA Expo 2015

Fri, 16 Oct 2015 08:54:00 +0000

(image) Each year CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) holds an event where the industry gathers to show off their wares. Kinda like a mini-CES, but also like a best of CES, we’ve been to a few of these and actually enjoy the show more than CES. It takes the parts of CES that we are interested in and compresses it down to a more manageable show. We didn’t go this year but that won’t stop us from talking about some of the products we think are interesting. This year the show was from October 14-17 in Dallas, TX.(image)

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Podcast #708: Chromecast Audio

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:06:00 +0000

(image) We have been enjoying whole house audio for years now. Braden has a nice Sonos system in place while Ara has gone with an Airplay solution. We each have multiple zones including the garage and bathrooms where we can listen to our music in a casual setting. The Sonos solution uses Sonos designed speakers or it can use a bridge to add powered speakers or receivers to the system. Apple uses their technology called Airplay which allows you to connect powered speakers connected to an Airport Express or one to the many receivers and third party powered speakers that support Airplay.(image)

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Podcast #707: United Object Smart Beam Laser Projector

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 08:47:06 +0000

(image) One pico projector that’s getting a lot of attention is the United Object Smart Beam Laser pico projector. Not only is it tiny, small enough to fit in any travel bag, it has some unique features that make it quite compelling as the centerpiece to your portable home theater. We had the opportunity to play with one recently and it was a lot of fun.(image)

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Podcast #706: Ultimate DVR

Fri, 25 Sep 2015 08:38:00 +0000

(image) We have been using DVRs now for the past 10 years or so and they have come a long way since when they were first introduced. But with that said there are still a few features that could take the DVR to a whole new level. We have a few ideas for the Ultimate DVR and so do you.(image)

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Podcast #705: Yonomi - The Automation Consolidation App

Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:52:49 +0000

(image) Being able to control anything and everything in your home from your smartphone is pretty cool. Having to open multiple apps to do it is kinda lame. That’s what the developers behind Yonomi are hoping to solve for you. Sure if you have a central server or hub, you can do it all there and control everything with one app, but is there really one server that can control any smart device? We haven’t seen it yet.(image)

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Podcast #704: Binge Watching TV

Fri, 11 Sep 2015 07:16:57 +0000

(image) We have talked about Binge watching on the show many times. It's a relatively new phenomena where you watch multiple episodes of a TV program in rapid succession. In the early days that meant you would buy or rent seasons of the program you were interested in on DVD. Today it can be that or more likely you stream the program from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or the network’s website.(image)

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Podcast #703: New TV Shows for Fall 2015

Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:04:00 +0000

(image) Few things in life are as highly anticipated as television premier season every Fall. The Super Bowl maybe? A wedding or the birth of a child perhaps? But most of them pale in comparison to the awesomeness that is premier season. All of your favorite shows coming back for another year, and a ton of new shows to potentially add to the DVR. One of them might just become your new favorite show.(image)

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Podcast #702: Pinch Hitter

Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:04:00 +0000

(image) Today we go through emails and news and a discuss a post by Scott Wilkinson at AVS Forum that provides 12 Tips to Tune up your HDTV with guest host Stephanie Derderian. Don't worry, Braden will be back next week!(image)

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Podcast #701: DIY Automation Controls

Fri, 21 Aug 2015 08:25:23 +0000

(image) Amazon released a new little product a couple months ago, to very little fanfare. The Dash Button is a tiny device that allows you to instantly order a specific product for Amazon Prime delivery. We thought it was a bit of a novelty and didn’t see much use for it, but as with just about anything in technology these days, give it time and someone will find a way to repurpose it and put it to better use.(image)

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Podcast #700: Mobile HDTV

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 09:09:02 +0000

(image) Motorola Mobility, one time subsidiary of Google, now a part of Lenovo, just released a new app in the Google Play Store called, yep, you guessed it, Mobile HDTV. The app enables select phones and portable devices, with the proper hardware, to watch live, over-the-air HDTV right on your Android device. The concept is pretty simple, and you’d think very compelling, but it turns out most people can’t use it. The question is, why not?(image)

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Podcast #699: Sorting Through Atmos and DTS:X Receivers

Fri, 07 Aug 2015 08:37:00 +0000

(image) There are differing opinions on which additional speakers beyond the standard 5.1 layout deliver the most immersive experience. If you decide Dolby Atmos or DTS:X are the right option for you, you may need to upgrade your receiver. Today we talk with Rob H. of AVRant and get into particulars on a whole slew of receiver options.(image)

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Podcast #698: 2015 HDTV Shootout

Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:59:00 +0000

(image) Each year Value Electronics, an audio/video integrator with a showroom in Scarsdale New York, pits the top TVs from big name manufacturers against each other to determine the King of HDTV. This year there were four contenders, one each from Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and LG.(image)

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Podcast #697: Costco Shootout: Curved vs. Flat

Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:37:15 +0000

(image) Costco has multiple TVs all lined up side by side. Some are worth comparing to each other, some are like comparing a Ferrari to a Kia. Both great for their own purpose and budget, but not at all similar enough to be compared. We happened to stumble into a Costco recently that had two 55 inch 4K LCD TVs side by side, one curved and one flat. And you can imagine we saw the challenge in that.(image)

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Podcast #696: Atmos Processor Options

Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:56:39 +0000

(image) Today we discuss some receiver options for Atmos. We are joined by Dipinjeet Sehdev Internet Marketing & Brand Relations of Kef Speakers. Here are a few receivers/pre-amps that support Atmos.(image)

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Podcast #695: Top Selling HDTVs

Fri, 10 Jul 2015 08:13:00 +0000

(image) We like to occasionally take a look at the top selling products at Amazon as a barometer of what is occurring in the larger Consumer Electronics market. Sometimes what we find shocks us, other times is confirms our suspicions, and sometimes it just flat out doesn’t make any sense at all. Today we take a look at the top 10 selling HDTVs.(image)

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Podcast #694: High Resolution Audio vs CD

Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:48:00 +0000

(image) Over the past few months you have heard us mention high resolution audio on the show. There are audiophiles out there that swear that if you want the best quality audio then you must listen to high resolution audio. Others out there will tell you that CD quality is just as good. Then there are some that say mp3 or AAC files will suffice for the kind of listening most of us do.(image)

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Podcast #693: What the H?

Fri, 26 Jun 2015 08:50:00 +0000

(image) In the transition from High Definition Television to Ultra High Definition TV, we’ve seen the acronym dictionary go from bad to worse. On the good side, HDTV was multiple video resolutions and display formats, like 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p, while UHD is essentially just one. Some call it 4K, some call it UHD, some call it 2160p, but it all really boils down to the same thing for the TVs we’ll buy as consumers - 4 times the resolution of 1080p.(image)

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Podcast #692: Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Receiver

Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:26:00 +0000

(image) Both iOS and Android device users have easy ways to wirelessly transmit audio. For Apple users, Airplay sends music to the AppleTV and various Airplay speakers. Android users have Chromecast which has similar functionality. But what if you want to OS agnostic solution? Fortunately for you there is the Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Receiver.(image)

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Podcast #691: 4DX: The Savior of Cinema?

Fri, 12 Jun 2015 08:10:00 +0000

(image) Movie theaters are faltering, at least in our opinion. The large format home theater has reached a price point where it is attainable for many of us. And TVs are so big, you can practically create a large format home theater with just an LCD TV. No need for a projector or a screen or the hassle of running wires to the back of the room. And if anyone can have a huge home theater, what’s the allure of the traditional movie theater?(image)

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Podcast #690: T.H.E. Show

Fri, 05 Jun 2015 08:42:00 +0000

(image) The Home Entertainment Show (The Show) was in Irvine last week and we had an opportunity to stop by and see some really cool products. The Show is like CEDIA and CES but on a much smaller scale and with a focus on high end audio. It is a much more intimate way of seeing some of the most expensive products in the home audio world.(image)

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Podcast #689: What is the Future of TV?

Fri, 29 May 2015 07:02:20 +0000

(image) We came across an article written by Jason Hirschhorn posted at LinkedIn titled '7 Deadly Sins: Where Hollywood is Wrong about the Future of TV.' It is a very well written, thought provoking article with a great deal of supporting data. And charts. Lots of charts. This is our re-tweet/re-linkedin of Jason’s post, with a bit of our own reaction to and discussion of his points.(image)

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Podcast #688: Vinyl Records: A Love/Hate Relationship

Fri, 22 May 2015 09:59:50 +0000

(image) We have spent a lot of time discussing high vs. low quality audio on the show lately. A full feature on the subject is still in the works and should be available sometime in the summer. But along the way we have had a few of you tell us that you still listen to Vinyl on turntables. At the same time we have seen a few companies reintroduce turntables to the market so figured why not take a listen and more specifically introduce some younger ears to how we used to listen to music back in the day.(image)

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Podcast #687: What to watch, What not to watch

Fri, 15 May 2015 08:19:00 +0000

(image) It’s that time of year again. The time when television executives clean the slate to prepare room for the new shows that will debut next fall. Also the time when you get to go through your scheduled or recurring recordings, your season passes, and clean out the ones that have been cancelled. Every year something gets cut too early. Hopefully one of your favorites isn’t on that list.(image)

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Podcast #686: Dolby Vision

Fri, 08 May 2015 08:57:00 +0000

(image) There has been a lot of talk about the HDR content for our new 4K TVs. There have been a lot of questions too. We decided it was best to go to a well respected source for some answers. On this podcast we speak with Roland Vlaicu Vice President of Consumer Imaging at Dolby and we discuss Dolby Vision.(image)

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Podcast #685: How to care for your HDTV

Fri, 01 May 2015 12:36:01 +0000

(image) Most of us want to preserve the life of our home theater investments. Some, who want to upgrade, may not. For those, do the exact opposite of what we talk about. For the rest of us who want to protect our hard-earned investment, to make sure our televisions to last as long as possible, there are a few simple things to remember to make sure you get the most hours you can from it. Most of these apply to any piece of electronics you have in your theater: receivers, DVRs, Blu-ray players, projectors, you name it.(image)

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Podcast #684: ZyXEL 1200 Mbps Powerline Network Adapters

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 08:00:30 +0000

(image) If you have been with us for a while you know that we have been testing powerline adapters since the beginning. Our first product claimed that it could achieve 85Mbps. And in a controlled world it probably could, but in our homes we were lucky that we got 10Mbps. Still at the time, that was enough bandwidth to support Blu-ray players that didn’t come with built in WiFi.(image)

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Podcast #683: Panasonic Home Automation

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:23:00 +0000

(image) Panasonic may not make plasma TVs anymore, forgive us for not being over that, but it still hurts. But they have jumped into the Home Automation game with a system they’re calling the Panasonic Home Network System. We got a chance to check out two of the bundles they have available to get you up and running quickly, the Home Monitoring & Control Kit and the Home Surveillance System.(image)

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Podcast #682: Next Generation Broadcast TV

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 08:41:00 +0000

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have their year meeting in Las Vegas in the Spring every year. When we worked for Sony Pictures we would get excited about going and demonstrating the gear we were developing as well as seeing what other companies were showing off. It was not quite as hectic as CES but it was still a great time. Nowadays we are a little more focused on what we take away from the NAB show. In particular of interest this year is the ATSC 3.0 specification. This year there will be some demos of the technology. [...]

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Podcast #681: Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and Hub

Fri, 03 Apr 2015 11:03:00 +0000

(image) If memory serves, the very first product review we ever did on the HDTV Podcast was a very early Harmony remote. Back in the days before Harmony was acquired by Logitech. Before the touchscreen models came out. But the remote was revolutionary in how simple it made it for anyone to control even a complex home theater with a single remote, and often just a single button.(image)

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Podcast #680: Wireless Surrounds that Work

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:50:00 +0000

(image) We have been on a quest to find a wireless surround solution that not only works but works well! Maybe its because we live in a noisy home or neighborhood but we have not found a solution that has worked well. Either we would get static or in many cases we got nothing. Our last ditch effort took a product that worked with laptops and mp3 players and adapted it to work with our AVR.(image)

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Podcast #679: Speaker Terminology

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 08:30:00 +0000

Ara has recently started a new hobby of building his own speakers at home. In the course of building them, talking about them and creating videos to show how he does it, we realized there quite a few speaker terms and some tech jargon we may throw around that not everyone is familiar with. Some of you may know this inside and out, for others it’ll be a refresher and for some, parts of this may be brand new, but we’ve compiled a glossary of sorts, based on some prior episodes and some new stuff, to make sure we’re all in on the conversation when talking about speakers. [...]

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Podcast #678: Review: Mohu Channels

Fri, 13 Mar 2015 10:13:00 +0000

(image) Last year we saw a cool Kickstarter project called Mohu Channels. According to the project description you would be able to: "Create your own TV Channel Guide as a mash-up of streaming apps, websites & broadcast TV with Mohu Channels. We’re making TV fun again!"


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Podcast #677: Ten Year Anniversary Contest and VidiPath

Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:06:00 +0000

(image) Its hard to believe that we have been at this for ten years! We appreciate each and everyone of you and have come to think of you as family. As a way of showing our appreciation we, along with these great sponsors, have come up with a fantastic giveaway that is truly worthy of the HT Guys listeners.(image)

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Podcast #676: Interview with Gary Yacoubian, President of SVS Speakers

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:47:59 +0000

SVS was founded in 1998 by four audiophile/engineers who noted that customers were paying too much for lackluster subwoofer performance because of a manufacturing to sales process that was stacked against the consumer. The conventional model, where just good enough subs were sold at high markups did a disservice to customers who wanted great audio experiences but didn’t have unlimited funds. [...]

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Podcast #675: Sling TV Review

Fri, 20 Feb 2015 09:41:00 +0000

The idea of cutting the cord, removing your reliance on Cable or Satellite to provide the hundreds of channels you rarely watch, has been a pipe dream for many of us. Sure, for those close enough to a transmitter, an over the air antenna really helps fill the void. Netflix and Hulu are great as well. But if you like to watch a lot of TV, you’re still left wanting. Until now. Sling TV may actually be the answer. [...]

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Podcast #674: Dayton Audio XRA25 Wireless Rear Channel Amplifier

Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:34:22 +0000

Since the beginning of this podcast we have been on the lookout for a product that will wirelessly transmit audio from your receiver to the surround speakers. To date there have been a few that sort of got the job done. To be fair, a lot depends on where your live. In areas that do not have a lot of interference you have a much better chance of success with most products. In areas where home are right on top of each other, or have a lot of wireless devices you may be better off running cable. [...]

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Podcast #673: Dish Upgrade Time

Fri, 06 Feb 2015 08:00:30 +0000

This is the time of the year when HDTV and Home Theater take a quick nap. CES has come and gone, the Super Bowl is done, and there’s a bit of a lull in activity until March Madness kicks in. Sure there may be some mid-season shows that pop up, but we’re always looking for ways to spice things up. So what better way than a full revamp of our Dish Network gear? [...]

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Podcast #672: Interview with Howard and Joe Rogers of RSL Speakers

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:29:00 +0000

We received an email from a listener in early January asking us to take a listen to some speakers manufactured by RSL Speakers. We are still in the process of setting up the review samples but we thought that RSL had such a great history that we asked Howard and Joe Rogers to come on the show and share with us their experiences in the speaker industry. We hope you enjoy! [...]

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Podcast #671: Best of CES 2015 Winners

Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:23:00 +0000

We did our personal roundup of CES and told you about our favorites, but it is nearly impossible for the two of us to see everything, much less take the time to absorb it all even if we caught a glimpse of it. There are a couple items in the official winners list for Best of CES 2015 that we didn’t talk about it our prior roundup. [...]

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Podcast #670: DIY Speaker Project

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 09:16:00 +0000

The HT Guys are very DIY oriented and we love new projects! When some of our listeners emailed us about their DIY speakers we just had build one ourselves. Many of you told us about Parts Express, an online retailer for electronics, and how they have some nice speaker kits. For our first build we didn’t want to get too fancy so we went with one that didn’t require any assembly of the speaker cabinet but did require some soldering. [...]

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Podcast #669: CES 2015

Fri, 09 Jan 2015 09:09:00 +0000

No more virtual Vegas for us, we jumped in the HT Guys bus and made the trek back to Las Vegas this year for another round of CES. The show was as huge as ever; we lamented the passing of plasma TV, noticed that there was a significant lack of 3D demonstrations, and really enjoyed all the 4k and 8k we saw. As always, there is a lot of exiting news and product announcements to share. [...]

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