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Featured Reviews, News and Announcements

Top 15 Best Looking Blu-ray Films
Oct 23, 2014 - 5:25 PM - by Todd Anderson
Who isn’t game for a Top 10 list...especially when it ranks scorching hot Blu-ray discs that will fry your ocular senses with pinpoint precision! We here at Home Theater Shack decided to take it one step further, picking the brains of our Review Staff to reveal an updated Top 15 Blu-ray list. Today, we’re asking audio to take a back seat, focusing purely on image quality. Like most of our readers, we’ve spent countless hours calibrating our systems and prepping our Home Theater environments to produce the best picture quality possible. And we absolutely revel in finding source material that pops beyond the norm – we’re talking total visual bliss. If you’re looking for recently released demo material to light-up a projector based system – or perhaps a new display – look no further. These films will deliver the goods, guaranteed.




Our Top 15 is compiled from recent reviews. For more information about a title, simply click on...

[Read More]

12 Replies | 460 Views
Putting the Cool Back Into the Cassette, Here Comes "Awesome Mix Vol. 1"
Oct 22, 2014 - 3:55 PM - by Todd Anderson
It’s time for a trip down memory lane with our old friend the cassette tape. Just a smidge over 50 years ago, the cassette was introduced at the 1963 Berlin Radio Show. It was met with interest and intrigue, but settled-in as second fiddle to the rather ungainly 8-track tape and the audiophile celebrated vinyl record. Several decades of advancements in technology helped to improve the cassette’s sound quality, and it eventually catapulted into mainstream demand with the introduction of Sony’s Walkman in the late 1970’s. Several years after Sony’s landmark product release, cassettes were outpacing vinyl sales; it was the “it” medium of music dissemination.



"Awesome Mix Vol. 1" will be released on cassette in November.


Much like vinyl, cassettes eventually fell victim to the thunderous arrival of compact discs (CD)…and the rest is history. The vast majority of us now live in a digital...

[Read More]

5 Replies | 222 Views
About-Face! HBO Announces Streaming Service
Oct 20, 2014 - 2:40 PM - by Todd Anderson
Up until last week, reigning premium cable champion HBO had rejected any notion of creating its own standalone streaming service. Ignoring the technicality of HBO GO's existence (an online service for cable subscribers), HBO hasn't shown any sign of budging. Outsiders, such as cord cutters, OTA viewers, and basic cable subscribers simply have no way of watching HBO's current premium content.




On October 15th, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced that HBO will turn its ship to catch stronger winds. The company revealed plans to offer a stand-alone streaming service in 2015. Several months ago, HBO was humbled by news that Netflix had narrowly posted larger subscription revenues for the first time ($1.146 billion to $1.141 billion), and the company is keenly aware that a growing broadband landscape only favors Netflix going forward.

According to Plepler, the United States has roughly ten million broadband-only homes, a number that is expected to rapidly...

[Read More]

9 Replies | 284 Views
Onkyo TX-NR737 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver Review
Oct 15, 2014 - 11:45 PM - by Peter Loeser
Introduction
There has been a lot of news in 2014 related to AV receivers - major new technologies, unexpected changes in room-correction features, and big brand partnerships. Onkyo seems to be right in the middle of all of it. The company began releasing updated models to it's TX-NR line of networking surround sound receivers as expected earlier this year. Confirmation of Dolby Atmos capability and the introduction of AccuEQ immediately sparked speculation and debate throughout the home theater enthusiast community. While some find the thought of an Atmos capable home theater thrilling, others have major questions about Onkyo's decision to move to a new proprietary room correction utility. Beyond these newsworthy developments, not much has changed and the TX-NR737 meets my expectations for performance from Onkyo.


Design, Build Quality, and Aesthetics
The NR737 is a 7 channel receiver with the usual assortment of HDMI inputs, music streaming...

[Read More]

0 Replies | 599 Views
SVS Unveils a New Speaker Line Called Prime
Oct 13, 2014 - 12:36 PM - by Todd Anderson
Several weeks ago SVS Sound planted a seed of curiosity on their Facebook feed. It was an image of a tattered brown box with “Top Secret” stamped on its side. The accompanying text read: “Our engineers have worked for nearly two years on a completely new SVS project! See (and hear) what they have been working on October 10th.” That date landed SVS’s announcement on Day One of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and, once again, the burgeoning speaker manufacturer didn’t disappoint. Building on the success of their Ultra Speaker series, SVS officially unveiled a second (more affordable) speaker option called Prime, the subject of today’s product preview.



SVS Sound's latest product announcement: Prime Speakers


As the old saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. Luckily for...

[Read More]

4 Replies | 670 Views
LG to Deploy DTS’s HD Decoder in Full AV Lineup
Oct 09, 2014 - 10:14 AM - by Todd Anderson
DTS recently announced a new long-term strategic alliance with LG Electronics that allows DTS’s premium audio technology to be deployed on LG’s full lineup of home electronics entertainment products. This includes LG’s complete line of 4K UHD-TVs, sound bars, AV receivers, and media players.




Specifically, LG products will carry DTS’s HD decoder (DTS-HD), which opens the door for compatibility with all DTS audio formats up to 11.1 channels. It also includes support across DTS Digital Surround, DTS Coreless Lossless, DTS Express, and the ever-popular DTS-HD MA codec.

"This agreement marks a significant expansion in delivering DTS' premium audio to more LG products and more customers worldwide," said Jea Yoo, president, DTS Korea. "We are here to fully support LG's dedication to providing their customers with products that deliver the best sound quality, and look forward to working together in bringing to market next-generation...

[Read More]

0 Replies | 399 Views
XTZ Sound Takes a New Approach to Better Sounding Headphones
Oct 08, 2014 - 2:32 PM - by Todd Anderson
Founded in 2004, the Swedish brand XTZ Sound has built a solid reputation as a speaker and subwoofer manufacturer, but they also offer other products including amplifiers, room analyzing equipment, and earbuds. A hallmark of the company is price for performance, and design elements of their products are unmistakably classy and artistically sharp.



XTZ's Devine features a Dirac DSP app.


Recently, the team at XTZ embarked on a new mission: to build a better headphone. The company says that modern headphone releases feature new physical design attributes but lack major technological improvements; physical size limitations of headphones (says XTZ) have kept innovation relatively stagnant. They believe, however, that their new headphones named "Devine" offers a new tech improvement that radically changes the playing field.

Devine is a slick looking wireless headset...

[Read More]

0 Replies | 465 Views
The miniDSP nanoAVR 8x8 Giveaway Winner Announcement
Oct 08, 2014 - 7:03 AM - by Todd Anderson
Our miniDSP nanoAVR 8x8 Giveaway winner is:

HTS Member |Tch0rT|

...

[Read More]

14 Replies | 480 Views
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