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Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Version 2.0 - A Video Conversation with the Disc Authors

Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Version 2.0

L-R: Stacey Spears, Don Munsil

Stacey Spears and Don Munsil, creators of the HD Benchmark Blu-ray for setting up and testing video displays and audio systems, talk about the newly released version 2 of the disc, including an intuitive 2-dimensional menu system, basic video and audio settings, equal-energy window patterns, the importance of gamma in measuring stereoscopic crosstalk, motion resolution, scaling, color-space compression, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 1:09:40

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Joe Kane on 4K

Joe Kane on 4K

Video guru Joe Kane discusses the emerging display technology known as 4K, UltraHD, or as he prefers for consumer products, 2160p, including the difference between professional and consumer formats, aspect ratios, how big the screen must be to see any benefit, expanded color gamuts, increased bit depths, compression algorithms, HDMI 2.0 versus DisplayPort 1.2, how the new format has the potential to inspire an entirely new television system, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 1:11:30

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The New Fidelity—192 kHz/24-bit Live Recordings

The New Fidelity—192 kHz/24-bit Live Recordings

Recording engineer Bill Schnee talks about his illustrious career working with such artists as Steely Dan, Thelma Houston, and many other top-name musicians; his direct-to-disc recordings for Sheffield Labs; his own label, Bravura Records, for which he records live performances direct to 2-channel; the importance of using a 192 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit resolution when recording digitally; how he built and equipped his own recording studio; answers to chat-room questions; and more.

Run Time: 1:09:10

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Blu-ray vs. Streaming

Blu-ray vs. Streaming

AVS Forum writer Mark Henninger talks about his ongoing series of comparisons of movies delivered on Blu-ray and the online streaming services iTunes and Vudu, including how streaming has improved over the past year, how he conducts comparisons with screen caps and photos, what still frames can tell us, the value of "pixel peeping" and brightness enhancement, the strengths and weaknesses of Vudu versus iTunes, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 1:04:28

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NAB 2013 Wrapup

NAB 2013 Wrapup

Just back from NAB 2013, industry consultants Ron Williams, Geoff Tully, and Michael Heiss reveal what they saw at the show, including lots of 4K news from Sony ($700 "hatbox" 4K server, smaller 4K displays), Red (RedRay 4K player nearing availability, laser projector MIA), Black Magic (4K video camera under $4000), and others; demos of 8K and 22.2-channel sound from NHK; the next generation of ATSC broadcast standards; next-gen HDMI vs. DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and HDBaseT; answers to chat-room questions; and more.

Run Time: 1:07:04

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It's All in Your Headphones with Tyll Hertsens

It's All in Your Headphones with Tyll Hertsens

InnerFidelity.com editor-in-chief Tyll Hertsens discusses wireless headphones, including infrared, analog FM radio-frequency, digital Kleer FM, and Bluetooth; reproducing surround sound in headphones by simulation versus actual discrete drivers; the importance of correctly matching a headphone amp's output impedance to the headphones' input impedance, the best-sounding headphones he's heard lately, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 1:06:44

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Video Calibration with Michael Chen and Ray Coronado

Video Calibration with Michael Chen and Ray Coronado

L-R: Michael Chen, Ray Coronado

Video calibrator and THX instructor Michael Chen and calibrator Ray Coronado talk about Michael's series of instructional videos that explain the entire purpose and process of video calibration. They also discuss the difference between a tristimulus colorimeter and a spectroradiometer, calibrating for different ambient-light environments, calibrating from a test-pattern generator versus a Blu-ray player, how it's impossible to completely calibrate a display for broadcast television, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 1:01:24

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Wireless Audio that Works

Wireless Audio that Works

L-R: Alan Ruberg, Jim Venable

Jim Venable, president of the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association, and Alan Ruberg, chief technologist of WiSA, talk about the next generation of wireless audio, with up to eight channels of 24-bit/96 kHz uncompressed digital-audio information transmitted in a relatively low-traffic radio-frequency region. They discuss important issues such as latency, interference, error correction, and certification as well as answers to chat-room questions and more.

Run Time: 1:07:32

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Sontia Stable Phase Technology Could Be the Next Big Thing in Audio

Sontia Stable Phase Technology Could Be the Next Big Thing in Audio

Chris Vernon, founder and CEO of Sontia Logic Ltd, explains his Stable Phase Technology, which analyzes the performance of an audio system, including all sources of phase and frequency distortion, and corrects this distortion using sophisticated DSP algorithms. The results include a much wider and deeper sweet spot, improved spatial separation and speech clarity, extended bass response, and increased perceived volume. Plus answers to chat-room questions and more...

Run Time: 1:00:45

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Report From the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Conference

Report From the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Conference

Movie and TV industry consultant Ron Williams reports on the technical conference held last week by the Hollywood Post Alliance, where topics included high frame rate movies such as The Hobbit, 4K/UHD (including television production, content delivery, and transport using HDMI and DisplayPort), 8K coverage of the London Olympics, object-oriented sound systems such as Dolby Atmos, answers to chat-room questions, and more..

Run Time: 1:12:05

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The Importance of Color Light Output

The Importance of Color Light Output

In this very geeky episode, color scientist Karl Lang and 3LCD product manager Tim Anderson explain the difference between measuring white light output and color light output, which should yield the same result but sometimes don't, especially in single-chip DLP projectors, whose color-filter wheels often include white, cyan, magenta, and/or yellow segments to boost the white light output. Unfortunately, these extra segments also sacrifice color accuracy, which is clearly illustrated here.
Run Time: 1:05:08

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OLED TV Calibration, Smart TV's,4k or 8k and More in the Chat Room

OLED TV Calibration, Smart TV's,4k or 8k and More in the Chat Room

After a last-minute guest cancellation, I spend an hour answering questions from the chat room, including whether or not OLED TVs need calibration, the latest in smart TV technology, what the "Hz" specification means in LCD and plasma TVs, whether one should skip 4K and wait for 8K displays, Apple TV versus Roku, whether I prefer Crestron, Control 4, or AMX control systems, whether HDBaseT will ever replace HDMI, whether the new Panasonic ZT60 is significantly better than the previous VT50, whatever happened to 7.1 surround sound, and much more.
Run Time: 1:07:28

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CES 2013 Wrap-up with Chris Heinonen, Grant Clauser, Brent Butterworth

CES 2013 Preview

L-R: Chris Heinonen, Grant Clauser, Brent Butterworth

Now that we're back from CES, AV journalists Chris Heinonen of Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, Grant Clauser of Electronic House, Brent Butterworth of Sound & Vision, and I discuss what we saw and heard there, including the importance (or not) of 4K/Ultra HD, the commercial viability of OLED, the maturation of 3D, the beauty of Panasonic's new plasma TVs, the issue of expanded color gamut, the effectiveness of DTS Headphone:X, the best audio products at the Venetian, the relevance of CES, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Run Time: 1:04:57

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Live from CES 2013

CES 2013 Preview

Artwork by Romero Britto on LG UHD TV

In this special episode recorded on the show floor at CES 2013, I brave the crowds and visit the booths of Toshiba, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Samsung, and Sony to learn about each company's new TV products, including 4K Ultra HD, OLED, plasma, and LED-LCD. I also explain the difference between commercial and consumer 4K and discuss the state of 3D in the home, whose rumored death has been greatly exaggerated.
Run Time: 1:19:52

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CES 2013 Preview

CES 2013 Preview

L-R: Piero Gabucci, Tom Norton, Chris Boylan

As CES 2013 arrives, a panel of audio/video journalists—Piero Gabucci of Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, Tom Norton of Home Theater, Chris Boylan of Big Picture Big Sound, and me—discuss was we expect to see and hear in Las Vegas, including 4K displays, glasses-free 3D, OLED, Samsung's mysterious concept TV, audio sources, audio DACs, class-D amps, a new method of measuring color light output, media streaming, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Run Time: 1:03:08

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2012: A Look Back with Geoff Morrison, Barb Gonzalez, and Robert Silva

2012: A Look Back with Geoff Morrison, Barb Gonzalez, and Robert Silva

In the final episode of the year, a panel of home-theater journalists—Geoff Morrison of cnet.com and soundandvisionmag.com, Barb Gonzalez of hometheater.com and techgoesstrong.com, and Robert Silva of hometheater.about.com—discuss the audio/video highlights of 2012, including 4K, 3D, Google TV, online delivery versus physical discs, high frame rate, notable failures, the demise of rear-projection TVs, answers to chat-room questions, and much more.
Run Time: 55:23

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How to Watch Blu-ray

How to Watch Blu-ray

Ralph Potts, Blu-ray reviewer for AVSForum.com, reveals the gear he has in his reference system and talks about the performance criteria he looks for when reviewing Blu-rays, the evolution of Blu-ray in terms of video and audio quality as well as bonus materials, the problems with edge enhancement and digital noise reduction, those annoying previews, his favorite Blu-rays (live action, animated, new releases, catalog titles, 2D, 3D) just in time for last-minute holiday shopping, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Run Time: 1:01:46

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Happy 125th Anniversary, Yamaha!

Happy 125th Anniversary, Yamaha!

Tom Sumner, senior vice president of Yamaha Corporation of America, celebrates Yamaha's 125th anniversary by talking about the founding of the company by Torokusu Yamaha, whose first product was a reed organ, and how the company continued to build acoustic and, later, electronic musical instruments, pro-audio equipment, and consumer-electronics products. He describes many Yamaha firsts, such as DSP simulations of famous concert venues in AV receivers and sonic projection to create a surround soundfield from a soundbar, and answers many chat-room questions.
Run Time: 1:03:17

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AC Power and Its Effect on AV Performance

AC Power and Its Effect on AV Performance

L-R: Garth Powell, Marshall Currier

Garth Powell, senior product designer/engineer at Furman Sound, and Marshall Currier, national trainer for Panamax, talk about the merging of their two companies, grounding issues, the importance of AC power conditioning and protection, and how power conditioning can improve the performance of audio and video devices, including an ear-opening audio demonstration. This episode gets very geeky, so you might have to listen more than once to absorb all the info they present!
Run Time: 1:07:52

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Home-Theater PCs with Robert Heron

Home-Theater PCs with Robert Heron

In part 2 of my discussion with Robert Heron, I ask him all about home-theater PCs, including basic hardware requirements, TV tuner cards, CableCards, video cards, Blu-ray playback and ripping, DVR functionality, remote control, network-attached storage (NAS), Windows Media Center versus third-party HTPC software, the advantages of a PC versus a dedicated set-top box for online streaming, wired Ethernet versus WiFi, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Run Time: 1:07:18

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