Monday, August 22, 2016


There was a time when all TVs looked the same (square box) and worked the same. But even worse, the resolution of the picture was the same and it was lousy. Then TVs began to change physically in design but even more so in resolution -- making not just for a more attractive shape but a vastly improved picture. This led to the creation of the home theater which really took off once DVDs became available for watching Hollywood movies (plus TV shows and other things). Today the home theater has become synonymous with a more comfortable way to enjoy films without having to go to the movies. But to really enjoy watching at home, your home theater needs to be 4K.
The 4K TV
The heart of the home theater is the television and the bigger the better. But what's even more important is that the resolution be 4K. A 4K TV has the distinct advantage of possessing 4X the resolution that a standard HD TV has. This also translates into more vivid color with better contrast and much better blacks than otherwise would be the case. All of this makes the viewing experience more immersive and enveloping.  And thanks to the 4K TVs ability to upscale content to near-4K quality, that DVD/Blu-ray library that took years to accumulate won't be left to gather dust.

4K Content
As is obvious, the best things to watch on a 4K TV is content that is in native 4K resolution. There are three ways to enjoy 4K content:

1) 4K TV broadcasts
Cable companies and satellite receivers are making 4K broadcasts available, although there is not an endless stream of them available. Still, the number of events and sport  events which are getting 4K views is gaining ground.

2) 4K Streaming
A number of online venues are offering content in 4K resolution. Providing the TV set (or video source) has the ability to stream 4K, and the Internet connection the speed to "grab" and maintain it, there are plenty of venues for watching high resolution. Examples can be found on Netflix and Sony’s Ultra 4K Movies & TV and YouTube, among others.

3) 4K Blu-ray Discs
For prerecorded content, there's now 4K Blu-Ray discs. These discs are used in exactly in the same manner as the HD Blu-Ray discs that came before. The difference is that the 4K discs present their images with a greater clarity and more detail because of the higher resolution. And of course the 4K TV likes and knows how to handle the 4K video that it's receiving.

For playing 4K discs, a 4K Video player is needed. These players have the necessary technology to take the 4K disc and transmit its signal to the 4K TV. A 4K video player also comes equipped with 4K streaming capabilities as well.

The Audio
Sound also needs to be robust and exciting if it’s to drive the home theater. There’s two solutions for doing this, and the first is the more traditional. An A/V Receiver is connected to speakers that stand in the room and envelops the listeners in surround sound. The other solution is to use a sound bar — these can be placed in front of the TV, if on a stand or mounted to the wall beneath the TV (should the TV be mounted to the wall also). Either solution — sound bar or AV Receiver — will allow for the high resolution audio that is now standard with 4K presentations to be heard.

Having a 4K home theater requires patience and a bit of planning. What results every time you sit down and watch will be well worth it.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Video and Audio Center is long known for being the first to introduce the latest and most far reaching technologies — but for those attending the world-wide premier of Sony’s first MASTER LED — the Flagship Z9D Series 4K HDR Ultra HD TV — the excitement began to build long before the TV was turned on. What would Sony do next? How would this new 4K UHD TV surpass expectations? Those attending the debut at The Village at Westfield Topanga Superstore are about to find out. That’s because Sony chose Video & Audio Center to host the exclusive debut of the Z9D Series 4K HDR Ultra HD TVs. That’s not all though. Unlike other presentations, the 65” MASTER LED 4K UHD TV is not only being put on display to be viewed up close and personal, but it’s available to be taken home right there, right now by anyone coming to the store.

Tom Campbell, Chief Technologist, handles the presentation in his usual inimical fashion: he introduces Mike Fasulo, President and COO of Sony Electronics. Fasulo greets all those attending and invites the crowd to better understand just how much time, effort and considerable resources Sony puts into creating a TV whose only purpose is to replicate the real world for the living room. Also present are Joseph Akhtarzad and Mayer Akhtarzad, co-owners of Video & Audio Center. They regale the crowd with stories of how V&AC has always been at the forefront of technologies for entertainment and enjoyment — noting the many luminaries and celebrities who have visited V&AC throughout the years to see for themselves the latest technologies which couldn’t be seen anywhere else.

Suddenly the crowd falls silent as Sony’s Philip Jones, Product Technology Manager, takes over the microphone and begins to explain just how advanced the Z9D Series 4K HDR Ultra HD TV truly is — as everyone watching can now see that this is no ordinary image. “This is a new class of television that gives you advantages that you can’t get on any other LCD television,” says Jones. “Before you had Full Array Local Dimming, it was zone based, but that’s not what this is. Jones points out that before you had a group of LCDs behind or to the side of the television and they were controlled in groups (“zones”). But in the Z9D series, not only have the number of LEDs been increased substantially, but each LED can be dimmed individually. “So you get a tremendous amount of control over the backlighting,” he adds.

This control translates into where each LED is highly focused — it’s like comparing a floodlight to a spotlight. The results are what you see immediately: you now get very dark areas that compare well to that of OLED’s imaging, but here you also get very bright areas where there’s much more brightness. That brightness is translated into color. Color that looks more rich and saturated — for example, gold looks like gold, jewelry shimmers and neon has that neon “look” instead of being washed out. So the viewer is experiencing amazing black levels and more dynamic and richer colors that make the image more lifelike, more immersive and definitely more of a joy to watch.

As the crowd continues to push their way closer to see this amazing picture which takes 4K resolution and HDR technologies to a whole new level for the 65” and 75” models, it’s once again pointed out that this exclusive debut is not confined to merely “looking,” because the 65” Z9D Series 4K HDR Ultra HD TV is in-stock right now. This galvanizes some to reach for their wallets so that they can take home and enjoy the astounding picture that the Sony Flagship Z9D Series 4K HDR Ultra HD TV provides.

Friday, August 05, 2016


Television sets have changed over the years and not just in what you can see by looking at them. The first big change was physical: replacing the cathode tube with a LCD flat panel that not only made the TV thinner and lighter, but also enabled it to convey a higher resolution for a more detailed picture. Since the advent of the HDTV, improvements in how the TV works have featured what couldn’t be seen until turned on — new and more exciting technologies in the electronics that powered the TV’s display being visible ever time it was turned on. The most recent is HDR, a.k.a. High Dynamic Range. These three simple words mean a lot when it comes time to watch.

What is HDR
To understand what HDR is, consider how it’s used in photography. When HDR is active, a picture is taken but in reality 3 pictures are actually shot: one underexposed, one overexposed and one that is “between” the two (or the “normal” shot as it were). The three images are then combined to form a single picture which allows for both the shadow areas and the highlights to be brilliantly displayed. With the TV picture, the normal contrast range can’t be used to increase detail, even if fiddled with to expand its view between light and dark. But HDR works at increasing the distance between light and dark while at the same time increasing the detail that contrast enhancing normally blurs. HDR obviates the old standards that locked in” the picture to date

What is HDR’s Value

The advantages of watching a HDR TV’s picture can be immediately apparent. Thanks to being able to display a wider gamut of color and brightness, the HDR TV’s picture will be more vibrant and dynamic. Colors with be brighter and more rich and subtle (having more shades), while the level of detail will also have increased. This means that you aren’t getting inky dark pools where there are shadows but can “see” into them as you would in real life. The same goes for very bright areas which are no longer being “washed out.”

Content Must Have HDR Built-In

The video signal (i.e., the “content”) coming into the TV must be HDR-compliant if the TV with HDR can show off what it can do. There is the HDR10 standard which follows the baseline specifications for HDR content, and this standard will be found doing its thing in the upcoming Xbox One S game console. HDR-compliant discs are also available for watching through a 4K Blu-ray player (on a 4K HDR TV of course).  There’s also Dolby Vision, which is being supported by some of the movie studios and some streaming services, for example Netflix and Vudu (since the Dolby Vision decoder that’s in the TV can also handle HDR10, no fears there).

How to Get HDR

HDR can’t be gotten through a firmware update or by fiddling with settings — you need to get a TV that has HDR built right into the electronics. Fortunately that’s easy, because there are many TVs where HDR is integrated into them. All you need to do is look at the name (in some cases) or at the TVs specifications in order to see that HDR is part of what you’re getting.

Getting a new TV is always exciting, but being able to get a new TV that has HDR as part of it all means that you’re getting is a dynamic picture that is so much better than what has come before. That’s something you can see every time you sit back and watch.