surround sound

Tips and Solutions

An external sound system completes a home theater, and turning one on yields unexpected pleasures. Recently, I stumbled upon a new TV series on HBO and a romantic drama on Blu-ray Disc both designed to indulge the ears.

The series, True Blood, features a waitress who can hear what people are thinking. As she works her way past tables, thoughts cascade toward her from every direction. And the audience hears the cacophony, too, brilliantly steered from multiple speakers at the sides of the TV and near the sofa.

The movie, August Rush, on Blu-ray and also available on DVD, features a humdinger of an opener: a child prodigy deciphers the musical nature of wind rustling the field in which he's standing. As the wind shifts, the sound washes over the audience from various directions. The powerful effect is all but lost on viewers relying on the TV's internal speakers alone. The same is true for the restaurant sounds in True Blood.


Sony STR-DG820 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver

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1 year ago
Hands-on Review

The word "app" is short for "application." It's a piece of software that enables you to do a specific thing, such as check the weather, compose music or play a game. In the recent past, if you needed to create a document, you launched Microsoft Word. If you needed to crop a photo, you launched Photoshop, and so on.

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1 year ago
Hands-on Review

I know you’re probably out there right now looking to purchase me your usual assortment of socks and sweaters as holiday gifts, but I was hoping this year to leave this letter on the kitchen counter and have you read this before you went shopping.

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1 year ago
Hands-on Review

So, you’re ready to turn that spare room in your house into a multimedia hub. You’ve read our B&H InDepth article about HDTVs and projectors, and now you want to make sure that your sound matches your screen. It’s not as easy as you think.

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1 year ago
Hands-on Review

At B&H, we are constantly exposed to innovative new products that help make life and work a little easier, whether you’re shooting photos, videos, making music or just relaxing at home. The most memorable aspects of this equipment often lie in the little details.

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2 years ago
Hands-on Review

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a stereo system in every room of your house? You could continuously listen to music or the news as you accomplished tasks in each space. The Sonos Wireless Hi-Fi System takes this idea to a whole new level, expanding it to functionality never before possible.

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2 years ago
Hands-on Review

When Apple decided to license its AirPlay technology to speaker and receiver manufacturers so their components could play audio wirelessly from iTunes on a Windows or Macintosh computer or from such iOS devices as an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, few realized how many companies would bite.

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2 years ago
Tips and Solutions

The triumph of digital TV broadcasting on June 12, 2009 (D-Day) was a defining moment for one generation above all others -- Baby Boomers. The growth of this generation closely tracks the rise of network television in the second half of the 20th Century. It's a generation I refer to as anadiggies and D-Day as a crossing over from the analog world, where they were born, into the digital world, where they'll expire -- no coupon necessary.

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2 years ago
Buying Guide

It’s an audio receiver and amplifier integrated into a single component that lets you switch from different sources such as a DVR or Blu-ray Disc player and send the audio/video (AV) signals to multiple speakers and a TV or projector. 

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2 years ago
Tips and Solutions

The "5.1" reference that appears at the start of many primetime shows is the networks' advisory to switch on your home theater's speaker system. When you do, you'll enjoy the program the way it was meant to be heard. A show broadcast in Dolby Digital 5.1 can deliver audio to five full-range speakers (front left, center, front right, surround left, and surround right) plus a low frequency effects channel (designated by the ".1") to the subwoofer.

To increase your awareness of what you're missing if you happen to be watching a TV that doesn't include an external sound system, we've listed some of the ways a program's sound director enhances the show by steering audio to discrete speakers in your home theater.

Yamaha HTR-6140BL 5.1-Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver

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4 years ago
Features

 The yawn heard round the world that greeted the introduction of 3D TV at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was mainly due to a perceived dearth of compelling content. “It’s the software, stupid,” was the major refrain. But as it now turns out, the content problem could be well on its way to being solved. And we don't just mean ESPN and Discovery announcing 3D channels.

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4 years ago