Sound & Vision Febuary/March 2021

Sound & Vision is at the forefront of the ever-changing, always dynamic world of electronic entertainment. Authoritative and accessible, written with insight and humor, Sound & Vision is the preeminent source for consumers of home theater, audio, video, and multimedia products.

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stream theater

On The Web Log on to and sign up for our free monthly enewsletter. You’ll get exclusive tips, news, trends, and reviews from your favorite S&V writers. Customer Service And Subscriptions Call (800) 666-3746 (international calls: 386-447-6383) or write to: Sound & Vision, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235 Please include your full name, address, and phone number on any inquiries. HOME VIDEO STREAMING received a boost in 2020 for obvious reasons, while movie theater attendance took a dive for equally obvious reasons. But even with a massive paradigm shift in the way people experience movies and other forms of entertainment clearly taking place in real time, it still came as a shock when WarnerMedia announced in early December that its full slate of theatrical releases for 2021 would drop day and date…

top picks of 2020

In a year of upheaval, it’s good to know some things remain the same. The Sound & Vision Top Picks of the Year award feature that regularly runs in the February/March issue is back again (see page 22) and packed with plenty of the exceptional gear we had the pleasure to test in 2020. I’m happy to say our Top Picks for each category topped out in the $5,000 range, with many winners priced well below that. One more thing on the subject of HBO Max: Check out our feature on HBO Max’s Ridley Scott-driven sci-fi series Raised by Wolves on page 32. Raised by Wolves may have been specifically made for streaming as opposed to theatrical release, but the exceptional care that went into its production—something well-documented in our feature…


Review Reasonably Priced Gear! I received the December 2020/January 2021 issue a few days ago, and the products tested ranged from $2,500 all the way up to $20,000. This is all very expensive stuff and something that most people cannot afford, especially these days. Why not also review products that are good but affordable to most? There is no need to spend nearly five big ones for a streaming device when there is other good stuff at much more affordable prices. Finally, why not review turntables and other two-channel gear? Francesco Tenti / Huntington, NY Al Griffin Replies: We try to maintain an even mix of affordable and more premium-priced gear in Sound & Vision, but the price range of products reviewed in a particular issue can sometimes skew one way or the…

fractured fairy tales

Okay, children! Time for a bedtime story! Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. While walking through the forest, she came upon a quaint little village. In that village there were three ways to watch movies. The first way to watch movies was on a tiny smartphone. Goldilocks happily picked up the phone and started watching a movie. wide But after a while she grew frustrated and threw the phone on the ground! The picture was just too small, and the sound just wasn’t very good. She walked further into the village and came upon a movie theater. She dug deep into her purse and bought an expensive ticket. Wow! The screen was enormous, and the sound was loud! But then she noticed other people in the theater.…

qello hooray

The supermarket was quite the innovation when it emerged near the outset of the previous century by offering many a consumer’s favorite products in one place for relatively easy one-stop shopping. Some of our modern-day streaming services resemble that business model by purporting to present a wide variety of viewing and listening options. Qello Concerts by Stingray is but one of those companies who prefer to go big in their desire to be the toppermost digital supermarketplace for streaming concert and music documentary content. In fact, Qello (for short) claims to house “the world’s largest collection of full-length concerts and music documentaries streamed on-demand to just about any digital device.” While I couldn’t exactly count every entry they have, I can confirm they house one of the biggest libraries I’ve seen…

buy once, cry once

PART 2 In my previous column (Buy Once, Cry Once), I considered areas in your A/V budget where you should consider splurging when building a system. The categories I listed—projection screens, amplifiers, speakers—are ones that can provide years of enjoyment, but don’t see regular or major upgrades. I also covered categories like subwoofers that have a real impact on a system’s overall performance, and ones like pre-wiring that can strongly affect a system’s future serviceability. If you’re fortunate enough to have the budget for a high-end home entertainment system, then absolutely pursue the best gear available. Premium gear does offer premium performance—plus pride of ownership—and it’s hard to put a price on the joy a top-notch system can deliver. Also, if you’ve been scrimping and saving for a specific upgrade—that new Atmos…