Kris Deering

Kris Deering  |  Oct 21, 2020  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
16-channel processing and output
Extensive customization options
Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D support
Dirac Live with Bass Control sub integration
Minus
Setup may intimidate casual users
No onscreen display

THE VERDICT
With support for all key immersive audio formats, 16-channel output, and Dirac Live room correction, the Monolith HTP-1 surround sound processor punches well above its price class.

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of Monoprice in the home theater market following the introduction of its Monolith product line. Monolith encompasses a broad range of components, including speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers, all produced in partnership with big names in A/V product design and development, and all offering impressive performance at a strikingly low cost. The company's latest market disruptor is the Monolith HTP-1 surround sound processor, a stunning freshman effort that includes features typically seen only on components that cost significantly more than the $3,999 HTP-1.

Kris Deering  |  Oct 07, 2020  |  6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $20,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
True 4K resolution
Laser light source
Excellent out-of-box color accuracy
Minus
Some limitations with HDR
Steep price for feature set

THE VERDICT
Sony's new projector is capable of delivering dazzling images, though it lacks some cutting-edge features and components expected at this price point.

Three years ago, Sony introduced the VPL-VW885ES, a 4K LCOS projector with a laser light engine. I found the 885ES to be capable of throwing high-quality images when I reviewed it, but in the end wasn't fully enamored with the new projector. Basically, I felt it had obvious shortcomings that were hard to ignore at the premium $25,000 price.

Kris Deering  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments

Harmony Elite
Performance
Ergonomics
Value

Harmony Pro 2400
Performance
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350 (Harmony Elite), $550 (Harmony Pro 2400)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy setup and system integration
Cloud-based control and backup
Controls via IR, TCP/IP, and Bluetooth
Minus
Lacks Apple Siri support
Pro 2400 limited to custom installation channel

THE VERDICT
Harmony remotes offer the convenience and customization options of high-priced control systems, but without the intensive support requirements that come with them.

The biggest complaint I hear from clients when I'm out in the field doing video display calibration work involves problems with remote control systems. You'd think this would be because they have a stack of them to shuffle through, or they had bought some cheap off-the-rack universal remote at Walmart. On the contrary, the complaints are always about some high-end home automation system. As a happy Logitech Harmony remote control user, I've managed to avoid that direction. For the last few years, my remote of choice has been the Harmony Elite, which this review will focus on alongside its new cohort in the custom installation market, the Harmony Pro 2400.

Kris Deering  |  Sep 15, 2020  |  7 comments
At the last CEDIA Expo in September 2019, JVC announced a firmware update for its native 4K D-ILA projectors that delivered true frame adaptive HDR tone mapping to the lineup. For CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020, the company’s key announcement is an improved version of that Frame Adapt HDR feature called Theater Optimizer. The firmware also includes a few other tweaks and new features and will be available as a free firmware update in November 2020 for the following models: DLA-NX5, DLA-NX7, DLA-NX9, DLA-RS1000, DLA-RS2000, and DLA-RS3000.
Kris Deering  |  Sep 09, 2020  |  6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,995 ($8,995 as reviewed)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding interface and ease-of-use
Movie store offers 4K titles not available on disc
No A/V quality compromise compared with discs
Minus
Pricey hardware
Some movies lack immersive audio
No Movies Anywhere support

THE VERDICT
Kaleidescape delivers an out- standing user experience, and its online movie store features Ultra HD movies with uncompromised A/V quality, including some titles that aren’t available on disc.

I've been keenly aware of Kaleidescape since the company's start when I first laid eyes on its beautiful onscreen interface at a high-end A/V store in Seattle. Since then, I've regularly encountered that same interface in the homes of my video calibration clients, in stores, and at trade shows.

Kris Deering  |  Apr 28, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Setup
Value
PRICE $1,484 (material only, as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent Image Uniformity
Dramatic reduction in artifacts over previous generation
Exceptional build quality and ease of installation
Minus
Minor artifacts on images with vertical camera motion

THE VERDICT
With dramatically improved performance over the previous generation StudioTek 130 material, Stewart Filmscreen's new ST130 G4 establishes a new reference standard for a gain screen.

I often feel that the screen is the most overlooked component of a video projection system. That's because the screen material itself lacks "wow" factor, and it typically doesn't get tagged with the sexy marketing buzzwords associated with other home theater gear. But selecting the right screen for a video system is crucial since the screen ultimately will serve to either enhance or reduce your projector's performance.

Kris Deering  |  Dec 11, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,739 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy setup and installation
Sleek, attractive user interface
Scalable—can add other rooms as needed
Minus
Does not retain HDR metadata
No Dolby Vision or HDR10+ Support
Requires wired network for best results

THE VERDICT
An easy to use digital ecosystem with a sleek interface that lets you rip your entire music and movie disc library and access it from any room in the house.

With today's streamers and smart TVs offering myriad apps to watch movies from, one thing has become painfully obvious about discs: they're clunky. While I'm a firm believer in pre-recorded media due to its superior technical merits, I'll admit that shelves overflowing with discs can get overwhelming. Also, let's face it: case spines aren't nearly as sexy as a slick onscreen interface. From early Windows Media solutions to the latest apps like Kodi, I've seen numerous solutions crop up over the last decade to bring pre-recorded media to a modern playback environment.

Kris Deering  |  Nov 26, 2019  |  1 comments
In a departure for JVC, the company didn’t announce new D-ILA projector models at CEDIA Expo in September 2019. Instead, JVC’s key announcement at the show was a firmware update for the native 4K projector line it had unveiled at the previous CEDIA Expo in 2018.
Kris Deering  |  Nov 06, 2019  |  5 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy setup and installation
Excellent image clarity
Extensive calibration options for a projector
Minus
Low light output
Limited contrast performance
Middling HDR performance

THE VERDICT
LG's HU85LA ultra-short-throw projector has high cool factor, but its limited light output and modest contrast will leave movie fans wanting.

If you're a home cinema nut like me, there's always one thing that makes or breaks the experience: screen size. For the last 15 years, I've owned a front projection system that beams images well over 100 inches diagonal, and once you have that at home, it's hard to turn back! Today's flat panel TVs provide truly extraordinary image quality, and although they keep getting bigger and bigger, models with a screen size above 90 inches remain prohibitively expensive.

Kris Deering  |  Aug 02, 2019  |  2 comments
The Spears & Munsil (S&M) UHD HDR Benchmark is a video test disc developed with a wide range of users in mind. It has basic video setup and evaluation patterns aimed at the general consumer, but also patterns and features designed for use by professional calibrators, reviewers, and even manufacturers. Unlike S&M's previous test disc, the HD Benchmark, this version does not include general explanations on how to use the patterns wrapped into its interface but is still easy to navigate and use. (Tips are posted on the spearsandmunsil.com website that will help to get the most from the disc's content.)

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