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Steve May

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Vintage BBC experimental colour transmission testcard section

4K catches fire with OTT streamers, while broadcasters burn

Breaking Fad Like dentophobes with toothache, the broadcast elite seem grimly determined not to face up to the inevitable. A post International Broadcasting Convention conference about Ultra HD, organised by satellite operator SES, offered scant evidence that any of the big European broadcasters are in a mood to commit to 4K services. …
Steve May, 08 Oct 2015
Pioneer Laserdisc player and projector from 1982

Sign of the telly times: HDR shines, UHD Blu-ray slides at IFA

Breaking Fad This year’s IFA gadget expo proved to be a chaotic platform for next generation TV technology. HDR (High Dynamic Range) gained traction, while 4K UHD Blu-ray took one step forward and two back. There were boys' toys and bluster a-plenty. Pioneer Laserdisc player and projector from 1982 This year's 4K telly tech is not quite …
Steve May, 10 Sep 2015
Monty Python foot UHDTV

Budget UHD TVs arrive – but were the 4Kasts worth listening to?

Breaking Fad When you can buy a 4K telly at the supermarket, along with your bangers and mash, you know Ultra HD has entered the mainstream. Retail giant Asda is now stocking the Polaroid-branded P55D600, a 55-inch Ultra HD screen for just £699. If you want to really push the boat out, you can heft the 65-inch version into your wonky-wheeled …
Steve May, 14 Aug 2015
Old TV with Ceefax

Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS

Breaking Fad The battle for Smart TV dominance continues to ratchet up, with Google and Firefox now both wading into the same connected space. The former has reignited its living room ambitions via Android TV, while open source rival Firefox has partnered with Panasonic. Old TV with Ceefax 40 years on from Ceefax and we're still gazing …
Steve May, 17 Jul 2015
Vintage Denon PMA 7000 Z amplifier from 1975

Denon delivers low-cost DTS:X AV kit. Finally Dolby Atmos gets some competition

Breaking Fad Last week, amid the playboy splendour and shabby chic that is Monte Carlo, two giants of the AV and Hi-Fi world were busy putting a glam new spin on the latest audio tech. Sibling brands Denon and Marantz took the wraps off a slew of cutting edge audio components at an impressive dealer product showcase. Vintage Denon PMA 7000 …
Steve May, 12 Jun 2015
Monty Python TV viewer

Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker

Breaking Fad The evolution of TV once again fell under the spotlight at the annual DTG (Digital TV Group) conference held earlier this week in London. The event provides a high profile platform for engineers, service providers, manufacturers and software developers to compare notes and scout out the ever undulating broadcast landscape. If …
Steve May, 15 May 2015
RGD home entertainment 1949

DTS announces DTS:X – sparks object-based audio war with Dolby

Breaking Fad In a move that could have far-reaching implications for home audio, multi-channel goliath DTS has announced an object-based sound system to rival Dolby Atmos (and the largely ignored Auro-3D). Dubbed DTS:X, the technology is somewhat different in that there’s no prescribed number of audio channels or speaker configuration to …
Steve May, 16 Apr 2015
Viewsonic PLED-W800

Lighty and flighty: Six sizzling portable projectors

Product Roundup Portable projectors are improving their image. What were once dim curiosities – of use principally to travelling hucksters – have evolved into surprisingly powerful display devices. Designed to project HDMI or laptop sources, USB sticks and SD cards, this new breed of beamers can cast images virtually anywhere. Even that old …
Steve May, 20 Mar 2015
LG electronics US export photo from 1962

Our 4King benders are so ace we're going full OLED, says LG

Breaking Fad Will 2015 be the year that upstart OLED TVs finally catch on with the TV buying public? LG, long time advocate of the futuristic panels, believes so. At its recent annual trade preview held at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey, the company declared it was revving up OLED panel production and spread-betting on 4K UHD across the …
Steve May, 19 Mar 2015
Monty Python foot in UHD TV

Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

Breaking Fad The European TV industry’s uneasy shift to Ultra HD came under the spotlight at an industry confab organised by Astra satellite owner SES last week. Monty Python foot in UHD TV One step at a time: UHD TV isn't on every broadcasters To Do list Although after listening to TV manufacturers, researchers, market analysts and …
Steve May, 20 Feb 2015
CES 1980: telly it like it is

2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Breaking Fad The dust may have settled on the latest International CES, but we’ll be suffering aftershocks from the show for years to come. As an event, this year’s trade show was about the next and the new, rather than the here and the now – and there was plenty of consternation to be heard amid the bluster. CES 1980: telly it like it is …
Steve May, 22 Jan 2015

Here's Johnny! Top Ten fantasy Blu-ray boxsets and special editions

Product Roundup Blu-ray has become the bastion of the special edition boxset. And these are the most fantastical of all ... TV Boxsets and special collector’s editions have become Blu-ray’s best weapon in its battle for survival against streaming Video on Demand (VoD). With a 1080p edge, greater sonic clarity and on-the-shelf pride of …
Steve May, 28 Dec 2014
Philips HTL5140

Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Product round-up As much as we love our flatscreens, there’s no getting away from the fact that 99 per cent of them sound atrocious. The good news is there are plenty of ways to liven up living room TV audio, from soundbars with wireless subwoofers to pedestal-style soundbases. We've had a good look and listen to what's out there and the prices …
Steve May, 12 Dec 2014
Philips Goya TV from 1972

The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

Breaking Fad The future of television’s so bright you’ll have to wear shades. At least, that might be the case if plans to evolve television to a High Dynamic Range (HDR) future gather traction. HDR has been exciting the creative community for some time now. Philips Goya TV from 1972 Digital, HDTV, UHD, HDR... the upgrade cycle continues …
Steve May, 11 Dec 2014
Philips 48-inch Ambilight 48PFT5509 TV

Feast your eyes: 10 'fortysomething' smart TVs

Product round-up Sharply designed, technically advanced TVs seem 10 a penny these. Prices remain double-take keen as well. So where does an upgrader begin? Smart connectivity has been standard for a while now, but the usability of internet-delivered services is now immeasurably better than early forays. The seamless simplicity of LG’s webOS …
Steve May, 05 Dec 2014
 Flexson VinylPlay cartridge

VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Breaking Fad Vinyl has been the music format that wouldn’t die for the best part of three decades. Not since Kenneth Williams quipped “Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!” has a death scene seemed so protracted. Now, however, it seems the format is officially in remission. Pioneer PL-510 and PL-117D turntables The song remains …
Steve May, 14 Nov 2014
Harman Kardon vintage advert 1957

Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?

Breaking Fad I confess, I came to the home debut of Dolby Atmos spluttering with enthusiasm. Some of the best movie audio I’ve ever heard has been in Dolby Atmos equipped theatres and early demonstrations of the domestic version seemed tantalisingly authentic. My stereocilia positively craved this revolutionary, object-based sound system. …
Steve May, 16 Oct 2014
Samsung's 1cm-thick LCD TV

4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Breaking Fad The 2014 IFA tech expo could well go down as pivotal in the yet to be written sputtering history of 4K home entertainment. While most (well, me) take it as read that the large panel market will migrate entirely to 2160p resolution over the coming months, big questions remain over just what you’ll be able to do with all those …
Steve May, 17 Sep 2014
Dolby UK demo listening room with Atmos enabled speakers

Dolby Atmos is coming home and it sounds amazing

Breaking Fad Can Dolby Atmos save the beleaguered home cinema business? With sales of AV receivers tanking, makers of multichannel home theatre receivers are banking on the latest in surround sound technology to rekindle interest. Pioneer LaserDisc advertisement Remember the days when two speakers would keep movie buffs happy in the home …
Steve May, 13 Aug 2014
Danielle Zimmerman LG webOS product manager

Remember Palm's WebOS? LG does – check out its smart TVs

Feature There’s nothing particularly clever about most smart TVs. While their Internet connected functionality is undeniably useful, the user experience is clunky at best, with apps and streaming services typically kettled away from everyday operation. But LG’s webOS connected platform is different. Debuting on around 70 per cent of …
Steve May, 04 Aug 2014
Sony SRS-X9

Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

Breaking Fad In case you hadn’t heard, someone has ripped up your pappy’s hi-fi handbook. Seismic shifts in just about every area of music technology have fundamentally changed the way we use home entertainment. Kenwood vintage hi-fi separates from 1976 Kenwood audio from 1976: traditionally separates would be swapped out over time but …
Steve May, 10 Jul 2014
Samsung UE40H6400

GAME ON: Top 10 tellies for a World Cup kicking

Product round-up Rich on spectacle and pulsating with atmosphere, you can’t beat watching huge sporting events on a shiny new TV. But which set should prospective buyers splash the cash on? While events like the World Cup and Wimbledon provide a rock solid excuse to upgrade the gogglebox, the variety of screens and technologies available is …
Steve May, 09 Jun 2014
LG Ultra HD curved OLED TV

Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

Feature For a while it looked like the future of television was fairly clear-cut. Full HD would beget 4K Ultra HD and at some point in the future, presumably when we all owned flying cars and had relatives commuting to Mars, that would evolve into 8K Super Hi-Vision. Apart from trifling things like resolution, colour gamut and frame …
Steve May, 08 Apr 2014
Star Trek: Deep Space 9

Up your wormhole: Star Trek Deep Space 9 turns 20

I’ve always been strangely fascinated by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary - amazing how time flies, even when you’re not an agent of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations - it’s the densest and most mythology-rich of all the Star Trek TV shows. Often ambitious and audacious, it won …
Steve May, 04 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

2012: an epoch-defining year for home entertainment

2012 may have confounded Mayan predictions of global catastrophe, but it certainly proved an epochal year for home entertainment technology. The past 12 months have seen seismic changes to the living room landscape, with analogue TV finally running out of steam, the first sighting of a higher resolution future and a wholesale …
Steve May, 05 Dec 2012