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Today’s Show:

Listener Sonos Review – Thanks Steve from Austin!

Just wanted to say, I am swapping out all of my Airplay speakers and switching to Sonos Play 1 speakers, the $199 version.

I have long been one to “poopoo” the expensive Sonos system. “Hey, I’m better off with Airport Expresses, attached speakers, and Airfoil”.  Well, I have to admit, I was wrong.

The $199 speakers sound very good, but the integration with the Sonos controller on iPad and iPhone and Mac, is pretty amazing.  I purchased one, just to test them, with full expectation that I would bring it back after testing it for a week or so. Boy, was I wrong. I’ve started converting my other AE stations and will replace all of them eventually.

The speaker is small, but sounds great, especially for background listening while I work around the house. They come in black or white, which is cool.  One thing that convinced me that Sonos has seriously put some thought into this system, is the ability to shut off all lights on the speaker via your iPhone or iPad. I abhor bright, useless lights, so although this seems a small insignificant feature, it went far to convince me that these people are serious. I mean, I like sleeping in the dark.

I also like the physical size and minimal cords.  There is simply a well integrated power cord. No Airport Express hanging out the outlet with its green light, no cord from the AE to the speaker, and no big, stupid looking power bricks like many speakers have.  Just a simple power cord. In fact, I’m thinking about mounting them on the wall using a simple $49 bracket from Amazon.

The ability to group speakers into sets via software like downstairs and upstairs is useful. Being able to make two single speakers into a paired set is also cool. Playing Pandora or Spotify, or podcasts through the Sonos controller, something I was convinced would be awkward, is actually great. I didn’t realize it, but the Sonos device streams many services directly from the web (think Chromecast) and not your iPhone or iPad.  Start a playlist and it will just play in the background, even without an active app on your iPhone.

I can play Spotify, Pandora, iTunes libraries over the network, from my computer, iPhone, or iPad. I can even play your podcast! Also, thousands of radio stations, formatted in a very easy to use application.

I am a person who doesn’t mind paying a premium for a good product. This is one of them, and I am hooked into Sonos for the long haul.

 

What we’re thankful for ’13

Thanksgiving is a time to, well, to give thanks.  So that’s what we’re going to do; give thanks for everything we have in our lives.  The things we’re most thankful for: our families, our health, our friends, and our wonderful listeners, don’t make good topics for a show about HDTV and Home Theater. So as is tradition over the last few Thanksgivings, on today’s show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.

Aereo - While neither of us actually use the service, nor will we be able to anytime soon from the list of cities they’ve announced, we love the concept. We’re thankful for what the service represents, change and choice for the consumer. And we’re thankful that Aereo hasn’t folded like Superman on laundry day under the mounting pressure. They’ve stood their ground.

Netflix - With Netflix there is literally always something to watch. In days gone by, you could sit for hours channel surfing, only to wind up watching the second half of the
Matrix for the umpteenth time or a rerun of the Golden Girls. Not only does Netflix always have something to watch, we love the fact that they’re moving into original programming, bringing a new dimension to the service and possibly, like Aereo, shaking things up a bit.

Insteon - Insteon happens to be our flavor of choice for DIY home automation, so we’re thankful for it, and for how easy it is. But Insteon represents the ability for common guys like us to automate our homes without having to spend a fortune. It is a fun hobby and provides tremendous reward. Nothing makes a house into your house like custom automation. It doesn’t make it a home, but it makes it pretty darn cool.

The DVR - This little device has probably made our list every time we’ve done a Home Theater Thanksgiving show. No single device has changed  the way we watch TV and gather together as a family quite like the DVR. We’re thankful for the easy and convenience, for the ability to skip commercials, and most of all, for how much more family time we get because we can watch shows on our schedule, not the broadcasters’.

High Speed Internet - Most of the goodies and gadgets we’re thankful for require some sort of Internet access. It wasn’t too long ago, ok maybe it was a long time ago, but it doesn’t feel like too long ago that we had to use dial-up modems to access an Internet of static pages. Now we have always connected, blazing fast Internet that delivers movies, music, TV shows, and even packages (thanks Amazon!) instantly.

4K TV - One thing that never made out list was 3D TV. It isn’t gone, but the big push from all the manufacturers has disappear thanks to, in large part, the new push to 4K UltraHD TV. Anything that got us off the 4D kick deserves our thanks and gratitude. But beyond that, 4K could be great. The demos we’ve seen are awesome. We are thankful for those who move technology in the right direction, and 4K is certainly doing that.

And of course we have our listeners to be thankful for.  You make doing the show fun and, in a lot of cases, easier.  Thank you for your news leads, story ideas, email, voicemail, everything you send that we get to turn right around and use as show content. And thank you so much for keeping us going by supporting our sponsors, shopping at our store and feeding our caffeine addiction! You rock!

 

Download Episode #611


Posted by The HT Guys, November 28, 2013 11:39 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.