The newly announced Samsung HW-F750 is dubbed the "world's first sound bar with a vacuum tube amp," which is technically true: like last year's models, it has a tube preamplifier paired with a digital amplifier. In any event, the difference is largely academic, as I didn't find that the DA-E750's tubes added a distinctively analog sound, although it was a good-sounding tabletop system.… Read more
CES 2013 is still weeks away, but LG is getting a jump on the show by announcing its full line of home theater products on Christmas Day.
Its home audio offerings are anchored by four new sound bar models, with all but the entry-level NB2030A featuring built-in Bluetooth and a wireless subwoofer. The top two models come in a new, larger size, designed to match 47-inch TVs, which reflects the rising popularity of larger screen HDTVs.
The strangest model may be the NB3730A, which includes built-in Wi-Fi and a basic streaming-media suite including including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu Plus, Vudu, … Read more
Pedestal-style sound bars are the latest evolution in the simplification of home audio. Instead of placing a long sound bar in front of your TV, pedestal sound bars are designed to sit under your TV, for a cleaner look with considerably less clutter. It's by far the easiest way to improve on the sound of your TV with the least intrusion on your living room decor.
The trade-off is that these systems generally don't sound quite as good as traditional sound bars, largely because they lack a separate subwoofer to handle the low end. It's yet another … Read more
Sound bar buyers' performance expectations are pretty low; all the 'bar has to do is sound better than the lousy speakers that are built into their TVs. So if that's all you need, a sound bar will get the job done -- but there are better-sounding alternatives, starting with a pair of self-powered Audioengine A2 ($199) speakers. The A2s are terrific, but the Paradigm Millenia CT ($700) is a 2.1-channel subwoofer/satellite system, and it sounds better than the Audioengines. A lot better, and it's really pretty amazing.
Spread 64 inches apart, the Millenia sats produced a … Read more
Have you ever seen billions of dollars in gold bars? A video -- made in the name of science -- gives a glimpse into the massive gold reserves at the Bank of England.
University of Nottingham professor Martyn Poliakoff loves the elements. The eccentric science wizard works with others on a popular Web site and YouTube channel known as The Periodic Table of Videos; one latest video focuses on one of the most valuable elements in existence -- gold. … Read more
The level of sophistication in both professional as well as in home kitchens keeps increasing at a seemingly exponential rate. Part of this acceleration is perhaps due to increased specialization and availability of kitchen gadgets and accessories. Certainly interest in new recipes and procedures seems to be at an all-time high. No matter what one can dream up, equipment as well as online instructions are never very far away. And of course, that goes for booze, too.
The craft cocktail movement of recent years has brought with it the need for specialized tools -- or at least constantly accessible familiar … Read more
Windows 8 mockups from two years ago show more or less the same interface found in the OS today.
The mockups from 2010 were revealed in a keynote demonstration given by Jensen Harris, a director of program management for Microsoft's Windows User Experience Team. Dubbed "The Story of Windows 8," the demo was given during a UX Week conference held by design firm Adaptive Path.
As displayed by blog site iStartedSomething.com, images of the mockups show that Microsoft certainly tweaked some of the look and feel of Windows 8. But the overall design of the OS … Read more
People love sound bars for a lot of good reasons: they eliminate most of the wiring and setup hassles associated with traditional 5.1-channel home theaters, they don't take up a lot of space, they are less expensive than subwoofer/satellite packages, and since most sound bars are self-powered, you don't need to buy an AV receiver. A skinny sound bar positioned under a sleek display is certainly a more appealing solution than a 5.1 or even stereo pair of speakers. There's just one problem: sound bars can't fill a room with sound nearly as well as separate speakers can.… Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions about hiding the menu bar in OS X, a "formatter failed" error when erasing hard drives, alternative configuration possibilities for Apple's Fusion Drive technology, and whether or not a Mini DisplayPort cable can be used for Thunderbolt connections. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Hiding the menu bar in OS X MacFixIt reader Shawn asks:How do … Read more