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Robert Silva

Robert's Home Theater Blog


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Copy Those Old VHS Tapes to DVD

Monday June 2, 2014
VHS Video Cassette
One question I get asked often is: "How Do You Copy VHS to DVD?". The answer is - There are three ways a consumer can copy VHS tapes to DVD, but keep in mind that not all VHS tapes can be copied successfully, there are certain restrictions. For all the details, check out my article: Three Ways To Copy VHS Tapes to DVD.

Also, for a more in-depth look at what you need to know about DVD recorders and DVD recording, check out my: DVD Recording FAQs. Photo Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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How Much are Blu-ray Disc Players? - Question of the Week

Sunday June 1, 2014
It is time to replace that old DVD player, but there doesn't seem to be as many available anymore, but there sure are a lot of Blu-ray Disc players on store shelves these days. However, how much do they cost and are they worth it? Find out the answer to this week's question: How Much are Blu-ray Disc Players? Also, be sure to check out my complete Blu-ray FAQs as well as my current suggestions for Best Blu-ray Disc Players.

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Dads, Grads, and Wedding Gift Special - Compact Audio Systems (2014 Edition)

Saturday May 31, 2014
Image of the Samsung DA-E751 Vacuum Tube Audio Dock
If you are looking for a graduation, wedding, or Father's Day gift idea for this June, consider giving a compact audio system. These units are very stylish and provide great sound for small spaces, such as a bedroom, kitchen, dorm room, or office. For some good choices, check out my selections for Compact Audio Systems.

Also, check out my previously chosen gift suggestions for Dads and Grads. My Dad and Grad gift ideas can also be great wedding gifts too!

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TCL Announces S3600 Series Direct Lit LED/LCD TVs

Friday May 30, 2014
Image of TCL's S3600 Series TV with Direct LED backlighting
Dateline: 05/30/2014
TCL, the third largest TV manufacturer in manufacturer in the World, and naming rights owner of the former Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA, continues to make inroads into the U.S. TV market, with a focus on practical features and affordability.

Two of TCL's new models, the 32-inch 32S3600 and 39-inch 39S3600 incorporate Direct LED backlighting, 720p native screen resolution, 60hz refresh rate, wide contrast ratio, and three HDMI inputs (including one HDMI/MHL input), and a USB input.

The two TVs also provide a shared set of composite and component video inputs. The shared input arrangement means that you cannot connect both a composite and component video source into the TV at the same time.

Neither TV offers built-in 3D or Smart TV features, however, its HDMI/MHL input allows for connection of the MHL-version of the Roku Streaming Stick, which provides access to almost 1,000 internet content channels (some are free, but many require an additional paid subscription).

32S3600 Official Product Page (Compare Prices).

39S3600 Official Product Page (Compare Prices).

Also, in conjunction with the S3600 TV line product release, TCL is also offering a "Special Edition" Promotion that will include a 39S3600 TV giveaway spotlighting professional champion surfer, Erica Hosseini. For more details, read the Official TCL Rules and Entry Page on Facebook.

TCL is also currently offering a 48-inch 1080p TV priced at less than $500, and a 50-inch 4K Ultra HD TV in the U.S. market for less than $999. Image of S3600 Series TV provided by TCL.

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LG 55EA9800 55-Inch OLED TV - Product of the Week

Friday May 30, 2014
Image of the LG 55EA9800 55-Inch OLED TV
Dateline: 05/30/2014
The LG 55EA9800 is a 55-inch 1080p Curved Screen TV that incorporates OLED display technology. Initially priced at $14,999 when first released in the Summer of 2013, some retailers are now selling it for as low as $4,999.99. Granted, LG is coming out with new replacement models later this year, but if you have been itching to get your hands on an OLED TV, and have been scared off because of the price, this might be your chance.

OK, at $4,999, the 55EA9800 is still expensive when you consider that several larger 65-inch 4K Ultra HD LED/LCD TVs are about the same price, but if you are "first adopter", adding an OLED TV to your TV buying history might be just what you are looking for. With deeper black levels than most Plasma TVs, and its pencil-thin, curved screen, the 55EA9800 looks just as good off as it does on.

In addition to its innovative styling and stunning images, the 55EA9800 can also access, via ethernet port or built-in Wifi, a host of streaming content from the internet, such as Netflix, as well as access and organize content stored or accessible from other DLNA compatible devices on your home network. In addition, this TV also features WiDi, which allows wireless streaming from compatible WiDi-equipped Laptops or Ultrabooks, as well as MHL compatibility for physical connection of compatible smarphones and tablets.

The 55EA9800 is also fully 3D comaptible with integration of LG Cinema 3D technology, that supports comfortble to wear and less expensive Passive Polarized Glasses. For added 3D support, the 55EA9800 includes real time 3D conversion for 2D sources and 3D to 2D conversion (if desired). Also, for two player game play, the 55EA9800 also provides split screen point-of-view (additional glasses purchase required).
Official Product Page - Compare Prices for the LG 55EA9800.

Also, if you want OLED, but aren't interested in a curved screen, some retailers are selling the LG 55EA8800 "Gallery Style" Flat OLED TV for $5,499.99.
Official Product Page - Compare Prices for the LG 55EA8800.

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Reshape Announces TVPRO Media Streamer/Webcam Combo

Thursday May 29, 2014
Image of the TVPRO Media Streamer/WebCam
Dateline: 05/29/2014
Add-on media streamers, such as Roku and Apple TV, are very popular devices for adding Smart TV features to older, or otherwise non-Smart TVs.

A new add-on device, the TVPRO, puts a new twist on this type of product by combining media streaming and network media player functions and an HD webcam into a single, easy-to-install and use form factor.

The TVPRO clamps onto the top of any LCD or Plasma TV and plugs directly into any of the TV's available HDMI inputs. The only other connection that needs to made is from the TVPRO to power via a provided power adapter.

The features of the TV PRO include:

1. 1080p HD webcam with 90 degree viewing angle.

2. Quad Core Processor.

3. Android 4.2.2 operating system.

4. Dual noise-cancelling microphones.

5. Built-in speakers.

5. Bluetooth enabled for wireless keyboards, headset, and other compatible devices.

6. Network connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet/LAN.

7. Miracast, DLNA and XMBC support.

8. Up to 32MB storage capacity via Micro SD card.

9. Dual-sided remote control with QWERTY keyboard and Google Voice Search capability.

10. Access to abundant streaming content (resolutions up to 1080p), including Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, YouTube, and Reshape Interactive Fitness Platform, as well as support for Skype video calling and additional apps available via the Google Play store.
Image of the TVPRO Media Streamer/WebCam Apps
For more details, including price and availability, check out the Official TVPRO Product and Kickstarter Pages

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DLP - Home Theater Term of the Week

Wednesday May 28, 2014
DLP stands for Digital Light Processing. It is a video projection technology, developed by Texas Instruments, that utilizes a chip, referred to as a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device). Every pixel on a DMD chip is actually a movable reflective mirror...Read more

For additional terms and definitions, check out my Home Theater Glossary

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Denon Announces New IN-Command Home Theater Receivers for 2014 - 2015

Tuesday May 27, 2014
Denon AVR-X2100W 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Dateline: 05/27/2014
As a follow-up to their previously announced S-Series Home Theater Receivers, Denon has revealed three new X-Series IN-Command receivers for the 2014 /15 model year, the AVR-X1100W, AVR-X2100W, and AVR-X3100W.

All three receivers incorporate up to a 7.2 channel speaker/subwoofer configuration, as well as built-in HDMI 2.0, WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay, and Hi-Res audio compatibility (Including DSD, AIFF (DSD/AIFF content access available via USB and Network only), ALAC and Flac).

In terms of audio processing, all three receivers provide extensive decoding and processing for most Dolby and DTS formats, but the AVR-X3100W also provides Audyssey DSX, and DTS Neo:X audio processing.

Additional audio and video features on all of the X-Series include a convenient horizontal speaker connection layout, Audio Return Channel, and both 3D and 4K 60fps pass through. Also, all but the AVR-X1100 also provide both 1080p and 4K upscaling. The AVR-X2100W and 3100W also provide ISF video calibration settings that optimize video performance for both day and night viewing.

The AVR-X2100 and 3100 also provide two HDMI outputs. Also, as mentioned above, in addition to a solid core of audio and video features, all three receivers have Apple AirPlay and Direct USB connection for iPod/iPhone/iPad. Also access to Internet Radio (vTuner and Spotify), as well as DLNA supported audio and photo streaming from network connected devices (such as PCs and NAS drives).

Taking it up a notch further, the AVR-X3100 also provides flexible 2nd Zone capability for both audio and video with both and analog and digital audio, as well as an independent HDMI Zone 2 video output.

All three receivers can also be controlled, via a free downloadable app, from an iOS or Android phone.

The AVR-X1100W (80wpc) is priced at $499 and the AVR-X2100W (95wpc) is priced at $699. Both of these receivers are expected to be available beginning sometime in June 2014.

The AVR-3100W is priced at $999 (power ratings not announced yet) and is expected to be available beginning in July 2014.

More details will be forthcoming (and there is a lot more!) on specific similarities and differences between each of the new Denon IN-Command X Series receivers as they become available. Image of the Denon AVR-X2100W D&M Holdings

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Father's Day Home Theater Gifts (2014 Edition)

Tuesday May 27, 2014
OPPO BDP-103D Blu-ray Disc Player
Father's Day will be here sooner than you think. This year (2014), it falls on Sunday, June 15th. Why not consider giving Dad a great home theater gift? Check out some of my Home Theater Gifts for Dad, including affordable Blu-ray Disc players, LCD and Plasma TVs, home theater systems, network media players, and more...

Related Gift-Giving Reminder: Home Theater Gifts For Grads.

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4K Ultra HD TV Buying Choices

Monday May 26, 2014
LG 79UB9800 4K Ultra HD TV with webOS
Are you interested in making the leap to 4K? Now that the cutting edge 4K Ultra HD TVs are making their way to your local dealers, I have a running list of what is available. As more of these sets arrive they will be added to the list (or not, depending if they make the cut). To find out more, check out The 4K Ultra HD TV List.

However, before you consider your purchase, find out what you need know in my Overview of 4K Ultra HD resolution and my companion article: What You Need To See 4K Resolution on a 4K Ultra HD TV.

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