Video and Audio Center Blog



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Samsung Announces New 2018 Home Entertainment Lineup—and we've got 'em all!


New QLED TVs, Available at Video & Audio Center,  feature Direct Full Array, Bixby and Ambient Mode 
for even better picture quality, intuitive control and seamless design.

Earlier this month, Samsung unveiled its 2018 home entertainment lineup at the company’s First Look Event in New York. Samsung highlighted details about its flagship QLED TV models and its expanded lineup of UHD, Premium UHD and Ultra-Large Screen TVs. With groundbreaking design elements, enhanced picture quality, and intuitive smart capabilities, Samsung’s 2018 QLED line empowers consumers to enjoy content without distractions – even when viewers are not actively watching.

Samsung Q9 QLED TV pictured above.

“Our 2018 lineup of televisions are truly our most innovative and sophisticated yet, designed for today’s consumer who is mindful of the aesthetics of their space,” said Jong-hee Han, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are excited for consumers to experience our new TV lineup and features that offer more freedom to decide where and how the TV can be best enjoyed within the home.”

Samsung’s 2018 line features new innovations that enrich the lives of consumers by reimagining how TV integrates into the living room, how consumers enjoy their content, and how they interact with their devices.

Highlights of the 2018 lineup include:

Ambient Mode
Ambient mode provides useful information throughout the day – even when consumers aren’t actively watching movies and TV. It can play music as well as display news headlines, traffic reports, and weather updates. For wall-mounted TVs, Ambient Mode can mimic the pattern on the wall behind the TV to create an astonishing visual effect in which the TV blends seamlessly into the wall.

Samsung QLED TV in Ambient Mode pictured above.

One Invisible Connection*
The new One Invisible Connection is one slim cable that combines both consumer’s power and AV data to the TV. Available up to 15 meters, it frees consumers from having to place their TV near data or power outlets.

Look closely or you'll miss the Invisible Connection!

Smart TV, Featuring Bixby
The QLED line’s smart capabilities offer revolutionary ways to set up the TV and find content. Effortless Login uses the new SmartThings app** to drastically reduce the time it takes to set up a new TV. The new Universal Guide enables consumers to navigate across supporting streaming services and live TV through one intuitive menu. And with Samsung’s intelligence platform, Bixby,*** consumers can use voice commands to bring up their favorite shows and control compatible devices.

Direct Full Array
The Q8F and Q9F QLED TVs deliver stunning images with pristine contrast through Direct Full Array (DFA) technology. Direct Full Array uses a panel with zones of smartly controlled backlighting that adjust automatically to deliver deep blacks and pure whites.

Audio Lineup
Samsung offers four new audio products that offer clear and immersive sound tailored to the different ways that individual consumers set up and use their home theater systems.

Samsung's new HW-N950 Dolby Atmos soundbar pictured above.
 
  • HW-N950: With front-firing, up-firing and new side-firing speakers, the HW-N950 Dolby Atmos soundbar creates an extraordinary cinematic experience that delivers 7.1.4 surround sound.
  • HW-N650: Designed for gamers, the HW-N650 soundbar features Acoustic Beam Technology that puts consumers at the center of the action.
  • HW-NW700: The HW-NW700 soundbar features a wall-mounted design that perfectly complements QLED TVs so that they both blend beautifully into any home environment.

Samsung 2018 TV Line Details****
In response to rising consumer demand, Samsung is reinforcing its commitment to ultra-large screen televisions. The 2018 Samsung TV line features 9 series across the QLED TV, Premium UHD, UHD and Ultra-Large Screen display range, available in a variety of class sizes. Models in the 2018 lineup feature both flat and curved display options.

  • QLED TV: Models in the 2018 QLED TV lineup include – Q9F (65”, 75”, 88”), Q8F (55”, 65”, 75”), Q7C (55”, 65”), Q7F (55”, 65”, 75”) and Q6F (49”, 55”, 65”, 75”, 82”). The QLED TVs feature enhanced color and contrast, HDR10+ compatibility, Ambient Mode, Smart TV enhancements with Bixby Voice, One Remote Control and the One Invisible Connection.

  • Premium UHD: Models in the 2018 Premium UHD TV lineup include NU8500 and NU8000. The Premium UHD TVs include features such as dynamic crystal color, HDR10+ compatibility, clean cable solutions, and Smart TV enhancements with Bixby Voice and One Remote Control. 

  • UHD: Models in the 2018 UHD TV lineup include NU7100 (75”, 65”, 55”, 50”, 43”, 40) and NU7300 (65”, 55). These UHD TVs include features such as 4K UHD and HDR picture capabilities, clean cable solutions, slim design and Smart TV capabilities.


Samsung’s 2018 home entertainment line will be available at all Video & Audio Showrooms & online beginning this month. For more information and pricing on Samsung’s TV and Audio products, www.videoandaudiocenter.com.


*One Invisible Connection applies to Q7 and higher models except Q8F. One Remote Control applies to NU7400 and higher models.
**SmartThings is available on iOS and Android-powered devices.
***Bixby service ability may vary by country or carrier. Voice Command recognizes English (U.S.), Mandarin Chinese and Korean. Not all accents, dialects and expressions are recognized. The list of features that can be controlled by voice commands via Bixby will continue to expand. Mobile functionality compatible with Samsung Galaxy 8 series or higher with Bixby function. Samsung Account log-in and data network (Wi-Fi or internet connection) required to fully operate Bixby features.
****The product line, details and availability vary depending on the region.

Friday, March 23, 2018

IF SONY MAKES IT...VIDEO & AUDIO CENTER HAS IT — INCLUDING THE VERY LATEST MODELS!

IF SONY MAKES IT...VIDEO & AUDIO CENTER HAS IT!
Video & Audio Center's relationship with Sony has been an extremely long one, and we're extremely excited to feature Sony's new 2018 models in our five Los Angeles-area superstores, as well as online. There have been several new additions to the Sony line-up, as well as the release of the Company's second line of consumer OLED TVs.

Models below are available for sale or pre-sale now either online or at any one of our locations. For more information on the Sony A8F BRAVIA OLED, X900F 4K HDR LED TV and X850F 4K HDR LED TV series, CLICK HERE.



SPOTLIGHT ON SONY'S NEW A8F BRAVIA OLED TVs

The new A8F BRAVIA OLED TVs feature an all-new one slate design curated to look beautiful wherever the TV may rest. The enhanced design makes it easy to mount the TV even closer to the wall, and the redesigned vertical stand disappears when placed on TV stands or entertainment centers. Sony’s OLED TV is like nothing you’ve ever seen before with truly exceptional black, shadow and color. Over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by the X1 Extreme™ processor creating exquisite, unprecedented contrast. The X1 Extreme processor precisely controls the tremendous number of pixels and extends the capability of OLED to deliver an exquisite 4K HDR picture. With Sony’s Acoustic Surface™ technology, the sound comes to you from the entire screen, with voices appearing to come directly from the characters’ mouths and explosions directly from the action on the screen. Together with OLED’s exceptionally wide viewing angle, the A8F series offers an unmatched visual and sound experience regardless of the viewing position.

Leveraging the HDR innovation that powers Dolby’s most advanced cinemas around the world, Dolby Vision transforms entertainment experiences by delivering greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors. The A8F BRAVIA OLED will support Dolby Vision via a firmware update to be delivered later this year.

SPOTLIGHT ON SONY'S NEW X900F LED TVs 

In order to meet customer demand for bigger, premium 4K HDR TV screen sizes, the X900F and X850F series add 85” class TVs. The X900F also features the X1 Extreme processor, providing the ultimate 4K HDR viewing experience by incorporating three technologies that improve picture quality, no matter what the content source: Object-based HDR remaster, Super Bit Mapping™ 4K HDR and Dual database processing. X-tended Dynamic Range™ PRO 6x technology ensures dark scenes are darker and bright scenes brighter with up to six times the brightness range of conventional LED TVs[1], delivering beautiful night shots full of dazzling lights and deeper blacks. For sports and high speed scenes, particularly in larger screen sizes, Sony’s newest technology, X-Motion Clarity™, helps keep fast action smooth and clear with images controlled to minimize blur with no loss in brightness.

The X900F 4K HDR TVs will support Dolby Vision™ via a firmware update to be delivered within this year. To bring sound to the next level, the X900F TV is designed perfectly to match Sony’s new Dolby Atmos® sound bar, the HT-X9000F.

SPOTLIGHT ON SONY'S NEW X850F LED TVs 

The X850F series features the 4K HDR Processor X1, which together with 4K X-Reality™ PRO up-converts Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) content to near 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) quality, while HDR content is displayed in stunning clarity, color, and contrast. Object-based HDR Remaster technology can detect, analyze and optimize each object in the picture individually to adjust the overall contrast for a more natural and realistic picture on screen. A TRILUMINOS™ Display provides colors as vivid as nature’s own with rich, authentic images that evoke the emotion in every scene. Additionally, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR reveals thousands of shades and gradations of light, for sunsets as bright and clear as real life


SMART TVs...AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT MAKES THEM ALL EVEN SMARTER
Sony’s Android TV enables viewers to enjoy a huge range of apps from Google Play™, including YouTube™, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Pandora and more.[2] To make your TV and home even smarter, the A8F BRAVIA OLED, X900F and X850F TVs have Google Assistant built-in. To activate the Google Assistant just push the microphone button on the remote and use your voice to ask a question or say a command. This allows users to seamlessly playback or search for content, play music or stream photos, access thousands of apps or control many smart home devices through their Sony TV. Furthermore, Sony’s Android TV works with popular voice assistant speakers such as Sony’s own LF-S50G, Google Home or Amazon Alexa.


[1] This is the perceptible contrast level expanded by X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology, which is a unique figure calculated for the contrast which users actually feel and experience (XDR Contrast). This figure is based on our conventional TV without local dimming.
[2] User must connect to a Google account to use, including voice to activate linked apps. Network services, content, and the operating system and software of this product are subject to third party terms and conditions, registration and fees, and may be changed, interrupted or discontinued at any time. Internet connection required.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Samsung's Quantum Dots go Metal in 2018...and the Picture Quality is Absolutely Magnetic!

Samsung’s Quantum dot technology revolutionized TV by providing such pure colors that they mimic what we see in real life. And now, Samsung has discovered a way to make Quantum dots even better: the New Metal Quantum dot. The New Metal Quantum dot is uniform in shape and can express nearly all the colors in the color volume because they produce color in a way that’s incredibly fine and dense, in addition to being incredibly bright. And when the New Metal Quantum dot works alongside the other innovative QLED TV features, it brings a viewing experience like never before into your home.


Plus, because the Samsung Quantum dot is inorganic, you can rest assured that there’s little risk of burn-in during their (very) long lifespan. And of course, they’re still cadmium-free, so they’re better for you, your family, and the environment.

According to Chris Hall and Dan Grabham of Pocket-lint.com, “Quantum dot TV tech works by placing a layer or film of quantum dots in front of a regular LED backlight panel. The layer is made up of tiny particles each of which emits its own individual color depending on its size (anywhere between 2 and 10 nanometers). Basically, the size of the particle dictates the wavelength of light that it emits, hence the different colors. Samsung boasts that quantum dots enable over a billion colors.

In this third-generation of quantum dot TVs, called QLED, the particles have been changed, as they now have a new metal alloy core and new metal alloy shell. This enhancement has enabled greater color accuracy but also enables that color accuracy at higher peak brightness.



This is where things get important for QLED. The ability to produce these colors at higher brightness gives a greater color volume than before and it's here that QLED claims to surpass the abilities of OLED. It's able to preserve colors in peak brightness areas that OLED can't and those peak brightness areas are also higher than OLED can currently achieve.”


According to Samsung, “Cadmium-free, film-based quantum dot systems have been shaking the display landscape over the last three years. QD technology available today already outshines large format OLED and is projected to deliver even better results and efficiencies moving forward. These advancements make producing a color range that is the closest to the color spectrum of the human eye achievable, delivering on the promise of true, lifelike visual experiences."


When looking for the very latest in home entertainment technology, like the new Metal Quantum Dots featured in today's newest models from Samsung, Video & Audio Center has it first! Click HERE to see the complete line of Samsung QLED Quantum Dot 4K HDR Smart TVs. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES: UPDATING YOUR HOME THEATER!



A home theater allows a family to experience a similar experience as found in a movie theater. But unlike going to the movies, everything that makes up the home theater must be put into position by the homeowner—or by a professional home theater custom design/installation company like California’s#1 rated Just One Touch. As a result, complacency can set it, even though there have been leaps in the new emerging technologies available to today’s consumers. So let’s check off what a home theater must have to function, and in what ways it can be updated.
THE DISPLAY
The Television
The television has been the basis for watching at home ever since the days of the cathode tube. Thanks to flat panels, TVs now are lightweight enough to fit onto walls even though they contain electronics far superior to what was available just 5 years ago. HD TVs have become commonplace but are now being upgraded to 4K TVs — with resolution 4X that of a high -definition television. This enables a quality picture that is far superior to what has been available in the past, with the size of the TV display now being 55” or larger on average (remember the days of the 40” flat panel?) 

THE Front Projector
The size of the display has always been an issue, and it’s for this reason that many have brought a front projector into their home theater. A screen mounted to the wall is a necessity, but the projector itself has become more compact while still enabling a high quality picture, like Sony's LSPXP1 Life Space UX Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector.  A 1080p resolution (HD) is now the default for home theater owners, but newer models improve on the all important brightness levels. In addition, 4K projectors are now becoming available at much more affordable prices than their initial appearance for tens of thousands of dollars. 


THE VIDEO SOURCE
Content is everything for the home theater — because you have to have something to watch. Movies and TV shows are available in three formats: there’s cable boxes and satellite receivers which require a monthly subscription; there are discs playing on a disc player which you have to buy what you want to watch (but it also means that you have immediate access to the content whenever you want); there is streaming, which in most cases requires a subscription to a service like Netflix.


Playing the content can be done with a disc player.  These players also allow streaming as well as playing discs — for HD viewing there are Blu-ray Players and for 4K viewing there are 4K Blu-ray Players, like Samsung's UBDM9500 4K UltraHD Blu-Ray player. The quality of the streaming is geared to the player, HD for Blu-ray Players and 4K for 4K Blu-ray Players, and works by connecting to the display. The other option is a streaming device using the home network and the Internet. They do not provide the content themselves, but instead access web services to provide it.

THE AUDIO SOURCE
SPEAKERS
A set of stand-alone speakers can convey the audio coming from the content; a 5.1 system means that you have left/right speakers, a center speaker and a left/right surround. Plus a subwoofer. Adding more speakers enables greater surround capabilities and this can be a sensible upgrade to the home theater’s audio. But in all cases an amplifier is necessary in order to make this work, and the amplifier must have the type of sound system desired (for example. DTS:X or Atmos). Wireless capabilities are possible for the subwoofer and also for the surrounds, in some cases, but in general the speakers must be physically connected with wiring.

THE SOUND BAR
Sound Bars have graduated to high-resolution audio status, compared to the old days where they could only do simple stereo. Sound bars now provide surround sound while maintains their single horizontal bar design. As they contain their own amplifier, the same requirements as to surround sound technologies exist — they must be built into the sound bar from the get-go. Subwoofers are generally included with the sound bar, and these now provide a wireless connection complete with a simple pairing to work together. 


Putting together a home theater does take thought, time and effort and anyone who’s accomplished this task should be applauded. But that’s no excuse for not taking advantage of the latest technologies that will increase the enjoyment when it comes time to watch. 


Friday, March 02, 2018

SAY HELLO AGAIN TO VINYL...NO, REALLY!



Vinyl is making a comeback. Unlike cassettes and then CDs which are being replaced by streaming, a music LP has a certain panache added onto the value of its inherently “warm” sound. Think “bigger is better”, especially when it comes to cover art and the loads of space for proving details about the music inside the slipcase (not to mention the room available for inserts and added materials).
 
Producing sounds from grooves on a flat disc might seem very 20th Century (in fact these discs first came into being around 1912), but their popularity has only increased since the 2000s, with new record pressing machines having been made to fill the demand (just two - one in California and the other in Japan). Records have their roots in Thomas Edison having created the phonograph — a rotating cylinder upon which a needle engraved sounds as they came through what was sort of like an attached megaphone. Here the master recording (once recorded on tape, now digital) is taken to a rotating disc called a lacquer which is placed on a record cutting machine. Electrical signals travel from the master recording to a cutting head which holds a stylus which etches a groove in the lacquered that circles the disc. Once this is done, the lacquer is coated with metal to form a metal master, now with grooves. This is then used to “stamp” onto a vinyl disc (process heavily abbreviated for brevity).

If the process sounds much like how you play a record, it should. The commercial record player used in clubs, homes and elsewhere spins the vinyl LP, with a stylus lying on it to translate it back into sound. Of course there is a lot more effort involved in playing here: the quality of the playback relies on many things, from the physical condition of the LP (that it’s not warped or scratched or dusty), the stability of the record player’s motor and quality of the stylus, to the connections going to an amplifier (in most cases) and then to the speakers playing the monophonic or stereo sound (surround sound was attempted back in the day with dual tracks on the record that had to be decoded and played through a special amplifier but it was heavily derided).


 So for those looking to get back in touch with their record collection of years past, or for those trying it out for the first time, a proper record player is the first and most important step. While the record player’ technology hasn’t radically changed, there have been additions not thought of just a few years ago, such as Sony’s PSHX500 Hi Resolution USB Turntable (built in Phono EQ and a new Tonearm design) which has the ability to digitally capture the music being played and transfer it for playing on compatible Hi-Res Audio players.
 
Who would have thought that today there would be such an interest in playing records? For some it may be nostalgia, but for a new audience the smoothness and warmth of listening to vinyl awaits.