Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:24:36 +0000Copyright: Copyright © 2015, HT Guys. All rights reserved.
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:19:44 +0000(image) From time to time we talk about new ideas we’ve come across on some of the crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Some we happen upon ourselves, some we get alerted to by listener emails, tweets, etc. But these sites are literal treasure troves of inventions and predictions of what our homes, our home theaters and our lives may look like in a few years. Instead of just waiting for one of these ideas to come across our desks, we decided to do some digging to find out what the inventors of today are working on to provide a better future for the rest of us. In some cases a future that’s starting to resemble Science Fiction or the Jetsons.
Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000(image) We recently received an email from Jim in Carlsbad CA asking why there weren’t many reviews of in wall subwoofers. This got us thinking about it. It seems reasonable because how many reviewers are going to commit to ripping a hole in their drywall to test out something that they are going to have to give back when they are done? So how do you make an educated decision?
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:00:08 +0000(image) We have friends, and you probably do as well, who are constantly asking about options for cutting the cord or otherwise reducing their high monthly cable or satellite bill. We have experience with a couple of the options, but not all of them. In an effort to better serve those friends of ours that need our help, we decided to compile a “compare and contrast” on the three main options available today: SlingTV, Sony Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now.
Fri, 03 Mar 2017 09:01:33 +0000(image) We have been talking about 4K TVs for about three years. We were pretty early to the 4K scene and as being early adopters we missed out on TVs with HDR and support for the wider color gamut. Such is the problem with being an early adopter. But we knew it was only a matter of time before one of us would buy another TV and this time it would support HDR and Wide Color. As it turns out Ara was the one who recently purchased an LG 65UH6150 (Buy Now $1079) and is quite pleased with what LG has sold him.
Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:00:25 +0000(image) A wide and varied range of topics for this week. First we'll discuss what came out of the ATSC Summit at the annual Hollywood Post Alliance Retreat. Then we talk about the potential for a resurgence of domestic US Television manufacturing. Reality or pipe dream? Then a great deal on a bias lighting kit from Amazon.
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 09:51:00 +0000(image) This year SVS introduced the world to their 16-Ultra subwoofer line at CES. It was so well received that it was awarded a CES Innovation Award. On today’s show we speak with SVS President Gary Yacoubian where we discuss this achievement.
Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:00:16 +0000(image) Much has been made about a recent complaint filed by the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General alleging that while you’ve been watching TV on your Internet connected Vizio HDTV, unbeknownst to you, it has been watching you back. As Ara and Braden are both owners of Internet connected Vizio televisions, they are both victims of this snooping. But what did Vizio actually do? Is it a terrible invasion, or not really that big of a deal? Are other manufacturers doing the same thing? Let’s dive in and find out.
Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:03:00 +0000(image) Many of you (us included) have gone out and purchased a 4K TV sets but still have Blu-ray players connected to them. Sure these TVs do a good job at upconverting your 1080p content but we want more. We want native content at full bandwidth! There have been UHD players on the market for about a year that run about $300. Still many decided to wait. Some hoping for lower prices and others waiting for Oppo Digital to release their UHD player. If you were like us and waiting on the Oppo, your wait is over! The Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD/Blu-ray player is available and it's only $549.
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 09:27:00 +0000(image) We’ve been on a quest for DIY whole house music for nearly a decade. Going all the way back to the Squeezebox from Slim Devices. We even tried a digital media player with a built in FM broadcaster we could pick up on our old school radios throughout the home. Over time, Braden settled in on Sonos while Ara landed on an Airport Express solution. There are other options, though, so we decided to check out what Chromecast Audio from Google can do.
Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:54:00 +0000(image) We listen to so much audio sitting at our computers, whether it be a Youtube video, your music library, or watching something on Netflix, we may as well have some nice speakers to listen on. Sure you can buy bookshelf speakers and hook up an amp and then you need to find room on your desk to fit everything. Or you can buy some speakers designed for the desktop with an amp built in. They range from junk to really good. Read that as cheap to expensive.
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:55:25 +0000(image) Time for the HT Guys to look into our crystal ball and try and predict the HDTV and Home Theater landscape for 2017. Our crystal ball is never as clears as a good HDTV but we give it a shot nonetheless.
Fri, 06 Jan 2017 09:00:40 +0000(image) It’s that time of year again, the time when countless hordes of tech hungry people descend on Las Vegas, Nevada to geek out on all the new technology manufacturers are showing off. Last year close to 180,000 people attended. But that number didn't include these two guys. This year, like last year, instead of walking the convention show floor, we surfed the convention show coverage to bring you all the highlights and juicy tidbits we could find.
Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:00:04 +0000
(image) When we first got into the HDTV thing way back when Monoprice was our goto company for high quality cables that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Since then they have grown into a big company that sells so much more than cables and rock bottom prices.
Fri, 23 Dec 2016 10:00:22 +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 2016 predictions.
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:00:24 +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.
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:12:20 +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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fri, 10 Jun 2016 05:00:16 +0000This week Ara and his daughter Stephanie discuss the winners and losers of the 2015- 2016 TV Season.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 08:49:00 +0000We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:48:00 +0000Over 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. [...]
Fri, 26 Jun 2015 08:50:00 +0000In 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. [...]
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:26:00 +0000Both 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. [...]
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 08:10:00 +0000Movie 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? [...]
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 08:42:00 +0000The 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. [...]
Fri, 29 May 2015 07:02:20 +0000We 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. [...]
Fri, 22 May 2015 09:59:50 +0000We 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. [...]
Fri, 15 May 2015 08:19:00 +0000It’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. [...]
Fri, 08 May 2015 08:57:00 +0000There 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. [...]
Fri, 01 May 2015 12:36:01 +0000Most 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. [...]