Wondering what it means when you see a Blu-ray Disc with a gold seal that says “Dolby TrueHD Advanced 96K Upsampling”? In its never-ending quest to squeeze every last drop of detail out of movie and music soundtracks, Dolby Labs has created a tool that enables studios and authoring/mastering facilities to take sound quality to an even higher level.
Planning to replace your main TV any time in the near future? Households in 14 markets around the world are now replacing TVs every 6.9 years, according to the NPD DisplaySearch Global TV Replacement Study, which is a year and a half sooner than the 8.4 years reported in last year’s study.
Women are embracing technology more than ever before, buying tablets, e-readers, smartphones, cameras, PCs, and other electronics for themselves and their families. And when it comes to the traditional audio/video categories, there’s no question that the gentler sex is an equal partner in major buying decisions. If she doesn’t like the big-screen TV hubby is drooling over, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.
Looking for a little extra holiday spending money? If you purchased an LCD TV between 1999 and 2006 and live in one of the 24 states listed below, you may be entitled to a piece of a $1.1 billion settlement pie.
Barrister-turned-speaker-maker David Hart had the human ear in mind when he designed this unique speaker—but I see a giant molar turned on its side. I’ll let you decide what to make of it and whether it’s worth the asking price of $64,000 per pair in bronze, $300,000 in silver, or upwards of $5 million in gold (shown). Why so expensive? Remarkably, the 28-inch-tall cabinet is cast in solid bronze, silver, or gold, which explains the 110-pound weight (in bronze). Add to that the 200 hours it takes to cast and hand-finish each pair at Hart’s factory on Isle of Wight.
OK, you can stop drooling now. We know you can’t wait to get your hands on the world’s first TV capable of displaying 8 million pixels of luscious detail—four times the resolution of 1080p. (We can’t, either.) Sony’s 84-inch XBR-84X900 4K LCD HDTV is one of the first 4K TVs to reach a handful of stores across the country. The heart of the set is a new chip that analyzes images with resolutions of 1080p or lower and upscales them to 4K. How well the chip performs that task is vitally important since 4K content for home viewing is not likely to be available for some time, even though Sony says 10,000 U.S. movie theaters are already using 4K projectors, and a growing number of theatrical movies are being shot in 4K.
When we home theater enthusiasts dream about automation, we envision pushing a button and sinking into the sofa, beer in hand: The lights dim, a huge screen descends from the ceiling, and a magnificent picture magically appears onscreen as your speakers come to life. But why stop there? With Somfy’s TaHomA system (and the help of a professional installer), you can bring window shades, drapes or blinds, and climate control into the fold and create automated scenes for a single room or the entire house.
This may well be the most regal headphone amp you’ll ever lay eyes on. Make that amps, as in a pair of Class A monoblocks—one per channel—which is how the WA-234 is sold. But its majestic looks and meticulous industrial design (60 sheets of aluminum are used to create those wavy side panels) tell only part of the story.
Chesky Records aims to re-create the experience of listening to live music from the best seat in the house with its new Binaural+ Series of high-resolution 24-bit/192-kilohertz recordings. Specially calibrated microphones implanted in the ear canals of a dummy head are used to capture a “stunningly accurate and realistic” 3D representation of the soundfield. With traditional binaural recordings, which have been around for decades, distinct left and right channels are recorded as they would be heard by a pair of human ears and played back through headphones—left channel to left ear, right channel to right ear—to create the illusion of a 360-degree soundstage.
German designer Helmut Brinkmann is on a never-ending quest for audio perfection, in this case with perhaps the most imperfect of music playback devices—the turntable. As he explains on the Brinkmann Audio Website, “Vinyl record playback is an exceedingly delicate and massively complex undertaking”—one he tackles with mastery in the flagship Balance turntable, which has undergone constant refinement since it was introduced 28 years ago. The goal is to achieve true high fidelity and come as close as possible to attaining the illusion of a live performance.