Since the first high-definition televisions came out in 1998, consumers have heard the same tired sales pitch: "It's like having a movie theater in your living room!" Actually, no. An HD image does have nearly the same resolution as one projected in a theater. But when viewed on a large screen in a tight living room, the image's quality degrades markedly. 4K, a resolution standard just beginning to reach consumer markets, promises to make possible the dream of any serious film fan—vast, perfectly crisp movies at home.
Last year, we declared the Jambox by Jawbone the "best, tiniest wireless speaker" with good reason. The six-inch brick produces an unreal amount of high-quality sound for its size, went anywhere, and paired simply with any Bluetooth-ready device. It's great! So Imagine our glee at the first sight of the Big Jambox, which, as its extremely literal name states, is a bigger version of the Jambox.
Dolby Laboratories announced a new audio system this week, called Dolby Atmos, that the company calls "an entirely new viewing experience for theatergoers." It's kind of a next-generation surround sound, blanketing the theater with sound--instead of coming from typical left and right channels, sound will come from as many directions as there are speakers, including above and below.
Originally intended to block sound, modified noise-canceling circuitry now helps people to hear
By Tim GideonPosted 04.16.2012 at 3:55 pm 6 Comments
Of the estimated 36 million Americans who report some level of hearing loss, as many as 20 million have mild to moderate conditions, in which they struggle to pick out voices in cacophonous settings. Although the condition is common, treatment is limited. Custom-fitted hearing aids, which can be adjusted according to an individual's needs, cost as much as $3,000. Users can instead opt for cheaper, over-the-counter amplifiers, but those simply increase the volume of all ambient sounds and do little to help in conversation.
By Max Fischer, Corinne Iozzio, and Susannah F. LockePosted 04.16.2012 at 9:50 am 0 Comments
This month's roundup of The Goods includes hiking boots with sliding plates in the heels, a lightbulb with a speaker in it (or a speaker with a lightbulb in it? We're still not sure), a blast-chilling fridge that cools a beer in five minutes, and much more.
According to the RIAA's yearly sales report, which was released this week, this year for the first time Americans are buying as much digital as physical music. Great!
But here's the thing: people are buying digital (meaning, without a physical aspect, unlike a CD, which is also digital) music in all the wrong ways. The vast majority of this music is being bought as iTunes-style downloads. But, my friends, subscriptions are the best, most futuristic option for buying music right now--and they're dirt cheap.
By Bryan GardinerPosted 03.15.2012 at 5:15 pm 9 Comments
An audiophile can spend thousands of dollars on one speaker—a multi-driver tower that can produce a broad range of frequencies clearly at high decibel levels. But even the best speaker, or an entire home theater full of them, will typically sound its best in only one spot: the sweet spot. THX has designed a speaker, the Steerable Line Array, that produces up to eight sweet spots. No matter where a person sits, he'll hear near-perfect audio.
Eventually, practically every conceivable pair of disparate technologies gets combined into a single package—cameras and cellphones, game consoles and e-readers, chocolate and peanut butter. The combination of speakers and lightbulbs seems like it would be one of the last ideas we'd see, but, well, the future is now. GiiNii's on-the-nose-named AudioBulb brings these strange bedfellows together for the first time.
Podcasts are undergoing a minor renaissance lately--every comedian has one, and every news publication has at least one--and, luckily for us, the explosion in quantity has also meant a ton of really amazing, high-quality stuff. In the last few years, writers, scientists, journalists, and all kinds of other interesting folks have taken to the microphone in new record numbers. Podcasts now have sold-out live tapings in front of rapturous audiences. They play at festivals like South by Southwest and Bonnaroo. They're downloaded millions upon millions of times. And there are hundreds of science podcasts out there, each with their own loyal audiences. But some are, of course, better than others. Here are the best of the best.