Audio News for April 7, 2015

Denon Multizone Audio Options – This summer Denon will introduce a Heos-equipped soundbar and their first portable option. The Heos HomeCinema will come with an outboard subwoofer plus the Heos 1 portable, joining Denon’s first six Wi-Fi-based multiroom-audio products launched last year. The Heos sytems use iOS or Android controller apps on smartphones and tablets to direct music to their devices from networked sources, USB sticks and USB hard drives plugged into Heos devices. The apps also stream Cloud-based music services thruout the house. [The Sonos patent-infringement lawsuit against Denon over the Heos system is still pending.]

Roku Updates Two AV Video Streamers – Voice search has been added to the top-end Roku 3 streaming AV player and the Roku 2 has had its performance accelerated. The Roku Feed feature delivers automatic updates of new content with pricing and availibility dates. The Roku 3 now comes with a new remote control featuring voice search, a headphone jack and motion control to play casual games. An updated version of the Android software is available today and later this week the iOS version will be included. By the end of this month a new software update to all Roku devices will add search and discovery features introduced after April 2011. Roku accesses 250,000 movies and TV episodes for streaming over 2000 streaming channels. Offerings include CBS News, HBO Go and Sling TV.

The Possible Complications of Cord-Cutting – Lisa Johnston complains in Twice about the complications involved for a wannabe cord-cutter to get off the expensive TV cable monthly service. She has Netflix, Optimum, Amazon Prime, HBO, a Fire TV stick, a Samsung smart HDTV, a PlayStation3, some iPhones and way too many remotes. She complains that the Fire remote is so tiny it can be easily hidden in a shoe for several days, rendering the device unusable. Streaming won’t always work reliably, and in her case a semi-discreet TV antenna in the building won’t work – she needs a powered antenna installed on the roof. Her wireless network may not be able to handle all this. She hopes that someday she will have the patience and time to put it all together in one glorious, non-buffering TV broadcast with a single remote, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Samsung Prices New UHD TVs – Samsung has revealed pricing and shipping dates for its curved and flat LCD-LED SUHD TVs, LCD-LED UHD TVs, new flat LED UHD TVs, and curved soundbars.  The SUHD displays are not only curved but also deliver superior image quality with higher contrast, brightness and color.  SUHD technology uses nano-crystal technology and other display enhancements to produce a wide color range, deliver the deepest blacks and “unmatched brightness.” Samsung has put their OLED TVs on hold and offers SUHD as a proprietary, more cost-effective alternative. Included are five curved-screen models ranging from 48 to 78 inches size at prices from $3499 to $9999. Nine plain curved-screen models in two series range in price from $949 to $5999, and flat-screen models are from $1399 to $4999. There are now four curved soundbars available to match specific sizes of curved Samsung TVs.

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