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  • Netflix Reveals New 'Stranger Things' Season Two Trailer

    Posted Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 04:06 PM PDT by
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    A full trailer for the show's second season has been released.

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  • Hands On with LG's 2017 Audio and OLED 4K Display Lineup

    Posted Fri Jul 21, 2017 at 08:30 PM PDT by
    lg atmos sound bar

    A Dolby Atmos sound bar, floating speakers, 4K Ultra HD TVs, and more were all spotlighted.

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  • Netflix Unveils New Trailer for Marvel's 'The Defenders'

    Posted Fri Jul 21, 2017 at 07:45 PM PDT by
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    The superhero team-up series will hit Netflix in August.

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  • CE Week 2017 Highlights: Focal Dolby Atmos Speakers, Samsung Gear, Headphones, and More!

    Posted Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 03:00 PM PDT by
    Focal Sib Evo Atmos speakers

    From Dolby Atmos speaker systems and high-end headphones to Ultra HD TVs and virtual reality gadgets, the show floor was packed with impressive demos, allowing me to go hands-on with some exciting new gear.

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  • Streaming News Roundup: 'The Tick,' 'Narcos,' and More

    Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 at 07:00 AM PDT by
    the tick

    New trailers for Amazon's The Tick and Netflix's Narcos are among the latest streaming updates.

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  • Don't Miss 'War for the Planet of the Apes' in Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 06:28 PM PDT by Michael S. Palmer
    War for the Planet of the Apes

    While we'll leave the full review to Phil Brown over on the Bonus View (read his thoughts HERE), I set out to see War for the Planet of the Apes this weekend at one of the 100 Dolby Cinema locations now open worldwide and thought I'd share my thoughts with you all here. 

    If you don't know what I mean by Dolby Cinema or Dolby Cinema at AMC, please check out THIS ARTICLE where we first demonstrated the premium cinema auditorium. And, for more information on Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies, please click HERE and HERE, respectively.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE AWESOME FRANCHISES


    I'm a pretty big fan of this new Apes trilogy despite (or perhaps because of) my limited affinity for the original Apes movies. I'm not saying they're bad, mind you; it's just a franchise I haven't experienced outside of a few casual Saturday afternoons back in the days where you had to watch commercials OR flip channels to find something else to watch. 

    Still, the new trilogy is special to me because these films are equal parts blockbuster entertainment and character-focused dramas. Also, as far as prequels go, they're uniformly surprising and dramatic where many feel inert and unnecessary. Especially in an era where blockbusters and franchise movies are often overlong and/or dramatically depend on you watching later chapters, the Apes trilogy works equally well as stand-alone chapters or one complete story.

    In short, I'm in awe that these new Apes movies exist AND stand up next to modern cable television for having dynamic and complex characters... who just so happen to be CGI-rendered apes. 

    Where Rise began in our world, showcasing Caesar's childhood and the outbreak of a biological virus that was meant to cure Alzheimer's, Dawn took audiences ten years into the post-apocalypse for the first armed conflict between mankind and ape-kind. Both stories highlighted well-intentioned characters making mistakes while trying to do good things and a whole bunch of tragic outcomes.

    War picks up only two years after Dawn, with Caesar trying to protect the apes from The Colonel and his army of soldiers who are hell-bent on hunting down and killing every last ape. Caesar still hopes for peace, sending back human survivors after battles, but The Colonel's definition of mercy is as brutal as his desire to destroy anyone, human or ape, who opposes his tactics.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    There's more to the story, of course, but I managed to go into War unaware of the bigger plot-points and, because of this, was genuinely surprised by the story choices the filmmakers made. Effectively, if you're expecting another chapter akin to Dawn, this one goes in a different sub-genre direction. 

    What I will say is that the movie is grounded in some heartbreaking emotions that layer thematics on top of character arcs. War is very much about whether or not Caesar will lose his soul to avenge and defend his ape family, which is dramatically explored through every choice and consequence Caesar makes and experiences. The filmmakers have also added more of a female presence, which I applaud, and smartly continued to build, through callbacks and payoffs, towards a world that resembles the original franchise.

    If you enjoyed Rise and Dawn, War is highly recommended; for everyone else, I would definitely recommend giving this trilogy a try so you can experience its third chapter on a premium, immersive, big screen where it's meant to be seen and heard.

    Speaking of which...

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    DOLBY VISION


    As I was watching War for the Planet of the Apes, I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. It looked quite good, don't get me wrong. Everything was clear and sharp, and the contrast was very good. Still, when you compare it to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or The Jungle Book, those movies are so much more aggressively stylized (and colorful) than this gritty blockbuster with its cold and wintry color palette.

    In fact, I was considering not writing this article...

    Until afterward, when I popped into a conventional digital cinema auditorium, and my jaw dropped. It looked like UTTER GARBAGE by comparison. Graying black levels. Jacked contrast with severe shadow detail crushing. Drab and muted colors, especially the yellow subtitles for when the apes use sign language. And it wasn't as visibly sharp.

    Hands down, watching War in Dolby Vision is like getting laser eye surgery after needing glasses for years. You can see all the fur follicles and tree branches and rusted metal fencing. You can see characters and locations in the shadows, even when they're intentionally out of focus. You can see the flickering orange fury of campfires and explosions. Colors are more vibrant and vivid and true. And black levels are actually black. In short, it's a night & day difference, folks. One you might not realize you're missing until it's too late.

    Bottom line, and what I take away from this screening, is this: Dolby Vision won't always be show-stopping from an in-your-face color and visual spectacle department, in very much the same way that not all Blu-rays are demo material even when the transfers reproduce the original source materials perfectly. BUT when you go into a Dolby Cinema, or see a movie in Dolby Vision, you're going to get a dramatically more accurate, detailed, and colorful version of whatever film you're seeing. It's like buying an OLED display -- everything looks better even if you're not always obviously-wowed.

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: by the way, there are other great premium cinema formats too -- IMAX Laser is extraordinary, for example -- and my intention here is ONLY to compare Dolby Cinema to standard digital cinemas, primarily because they are the only two formats in which I've seen War thus far. In short, if you prefer something else, that's great and feel free to tell us about it in the comments. Cheers!]

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    DOLBY ATMOS

    War arrives with another outstanding Dolby Atmos mix that, at times, is a touch more subtle than the theatrical mix released with Dawn, but serves its world-building well before becoming outright demo material during the film's climax.

    With more of a wintery setting than the previous films, War knows when exactly when to ramp up, ping-ponging sound around the hemisphere, and when to be quiet. In that sense, the film often portrays moments of action and mayhem in a somber, dreamlike quality before returning to more traditional bombast.

    This Dolby Atmos mix also excels at expanding the film's locations, where cave chambers echo with falling water and wind whips through snowy mountaintops and fire crackles in an empty hotel lobby. All of these choices uses Atmos' pinpoint precision to extend the movie OFF the screen, thrusting us into its universe.

    Still, the mix can seem a little less overt compared to Dawn's theatrical mix, which featured many scenes in rainy forests with plenty of overhead sound placement. Until the climax that is, when War's Dolby Atmos mix becomes absolutely bonkers in a Fury Road kinda way. Precision Chaos is the good way to describe it; where, despite the madness on screen and surrounding us aurally, you can hear every sonic choice amidst the overall bombast. It's a lot of fun.

    Overall, War boasts a very good Dolby Atmos mix and here's hoping Fox includes it on (at least) the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray because it's going to make a lot of sound enthusiasts happy.

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    FINAL THOUGHTS


    Regardless of where it ranks in the series and against other modern franchise pictures, War for the Planet of the Apes is extraordinary blockbuster filmmaking that seamlessly blends emotion and character and thematics with a heaping dosage of thrilling action. Dolby Cinema, with its one-two punch of Dolby Vision projection and Dolby Atmos, enhances the whole experience with far more clarity and contrast and color. To be clear, the HDR grading and color palette isn't as in-your-face WOW as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or The Jungle Book, but the standard SDR grading and performance capabilities of conventional digital cinemas literally pale in comparison. 

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  • Dolby Opens 100th Global Dolby Cinema Location

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 05:45 PM PDT by
    Dolby Cinema at AMC logo

    A new Dolby Cinema theater has opened and even more are on the way.

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  • Sharp Releases 2017 4K Ultra HD Smart AQUOS TV Lineup, Prices Start at $450

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 02:05 PM PDT by
    sharp 4k ultra hd tv

    New 4K models with HDR and local dimming are now available.

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  • HD Gear News Roundup: Samsung Sound Bar, Onkyo Amplifier, and More

    Posted Mon Jul 17, 2017 at 09:45 AM PDT by
    samsung soundbar

    We've compiled the latest gear news, including a Samsung sound bar, new amps, and more.

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  • HDD Attends 2017 CE Week 4K Ultra HD TV Shootout

    Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM PDT by
    CE Week Shootout

    Earlier this week, High-Def Digest was invited to attend the 2017 CE Week TV Shootout held in New York City. The annual event places the year's top displays side by side in order to choose the new "King of UHD TV."

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  • LG OLED 4K Ultra HD TV Wins 2017 CE Week TV Shootout

    Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 at 04:45 PM PDT by
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    The new "King of TV" has been crowned.

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  • LP Review: Baby Driver Soundtrack

    Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 at 02:03 PM PDT by
    baby driver soundtrack lp

    INTRO


    Soundtracks are an integral part of any movie. They add an extra layer of entertainment and can even become a central character to the film, such as with Edgar Wright's Baby Driver. Whether it be John Williams' score to Star Wars or the rock and funk classics of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, we can all agree that music really takes the visuals of our favorite movies and adds a big emotional tone to every scene. As long as Edgar Wright has been on the scene, his films have been full of amazing music that cover most genres and decades.

    With Shaun of the Dead, he made me look at Queen's Don't Stop Me Now differently, as everyone was beating zombies with pool cues to the rhythm of the song and the pub lights would flash on and off to the beat of the music. In Hot Fuzz, we were delighted with Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant and Solid Gold Easy Action by T.Rex. Then along came Scott Pilgrim, which gave Beck and Nigel Godrich an outlet to be creative with their impressive indie rock creations such as Garbage Truck.

    Of course, how can you forget The Doors' Alabama Song in The World's End where everyone is pub-crawling the golden mile, drunk off of beer and the past? Needless to say, Edgar Wright knows his music and uses it as an important part in every film, which brings us to Baby Driver, which I believe is Wright's first musical film. 

    THE PACKAGING


    The Baby Driver LP comes with an amazing Gatefold fully illustrated LP cardboard sleeve with artwork by Rory Kurtz. There are two black colored records in the album with illustrated sleeves. The record also includes a digital download of the soundtrack, including Run the Jewels' Chase Me. There are liner notes, track information, and a note from Edgar Wright on the sleeves. 

    THE MUSIC


    (I used the Technics SL-1200MK2 Turntable for listening purposes.)

    There are a whopping 30 tracks included in this soundtrack on vinyl, spanning both records that play perfectly with the film or without it. It all begins with The John Spencer Blues Explosion's Bellbottoms that hits those two rock notes hard and fast, along with a funky guitar medley and a groovy bass line. When listening to this song, you immediately want to hop in the car, roll down the windows, hit the pedal, and row through the gears as it amps you way up.

    Spanning a few decades of music, you can expect to hear Queen's Brighton Rock, Beck's Debra as well as T.Rex's Debora. There's even The Beach Boys singing Let's Go Away For A While, Blur's Intermission, Sam and Dave's When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, and Nowhere to Run by Martha and the Vandellas, which was a big hit on the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack as well. Lastly, there is a funked up version of Tequila by Button Down Brass that makes you want to dance like John Travolta in Mia Wallace's house in Pulp Fiction.

    With each song, Wright has incorporated the beats, instruments, music, and lyrics in the actual film's story, where the characters do or say something to every aspect of the music. It's a musical opus in a very Edgar Wright sort of way. Being on vinyl, there is no compression here, but rather a full sound of the highs and lows of every bass note and guitar chord. There is no digital sound here like you would find on an MP3, but rather an analog sound on 180g vinyl that just takes your breath away.

    Listen to the way Nowhere to Run sounds on vinyl, with every bass note providing a pounding low end, along with The Commodores' Easy track. Each song is perfectly mixed and provides a full sound as if you were listening to it live in person. 

    THE SETLIST


    DISC 1, SIDE A

    1. Bellbottoms – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

    2. Harlem Shuffle – Bob & Earl

    3. Egyptian Reggae – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

    4. Smokey Joe’s La La – Googie Rene

    5. Let’s Go Away For Awhile – The Beach Boys

    6. B-A-B-Y – Carla Thomas

    7. Kashmere – Kashmere Stage Band

    8. Unsquare Dance – Dave Brubeck

     

    DISC 1, SIDE B

    1. Neat Neat Neat – The Damned

    2. Easy (Single Version) – The Commodores

    3. Debora – T. Rex

    4. Debra – Beck

    5. Bongolia – Incredible Bongo Band

    6. Baby Let Me Take You (in My Arms) – The Detroit Emeralds

    7. Early In The Morning – Alexis Korner

     

    DISC 2, SIDE A

    1. The Edge – David McCallum

    2. Nowhere To Run – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

    3. Tequila – The Button Down Brass

    4. When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – Sam & Dave

    5. Every Little Bit Hurts – Brenda Holloway

    6. Intermission – Blur

    7. Hocus Pocus (Original Single Version) – Focus

    8. Radar Love (1973 Single Edit) – Golden Earring

     

    DISC 2, SIDE B

    1. Never, Never Gone Give Ya Up – Barry White

    2. Know How – Young MC

    3. Brighton Rock – Queen

    4. Easy – Sky Ferreira

    5. Baby Driver – Simon & Garfunkel

    6. Was He Slow (Credit Roll Version) – Kid Koala

     

    FINAL THOUGHTS


    This Baby Driver soundtrack -- executive produced by Edgar Wright and distributed by 30th Century Records (an imprint of Columbia Records) -- just hits every perfect note that you'd want to hear in a soundtrack of this caliber. There are 30 tracks, giving you plenty to listen to over and over again, along with some great liner notes and an amazing cover art that pops on the big 12 inch LP case. You won't hear a better soundtrack this year. MUST-OWN!

     

     

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  • Google Play Movies & TV Adds HDR Playback Support

    Posted Wed Jul 12, 2017 at 05:00 PM PDT by
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    Google's digital movie service now includes HDR support.

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  • Amazon Prime Day Deals: Up to 66% off HD Projector, LG OLED 4K Ultra HD TV, and More!

    Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 at 09:40 AM PDT by
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    Prime Day continues with deals on projectors, OLED TVs, and more!

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  • Amazon Prime Day Deals: Onkyo Receiver with Dolby Atmos & DTS:X, 1080p Projector, and More!

    Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 at 03:15 AM PDT by
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    Prime Day continues with discounts on receivers, monitors, speakers, and more!

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  • Amazon Prime Day Deals: Up to 40% off TCL HDTVs, Samsung 4K Ultra HD Monitor, and NVIDIA SHIELD TV

    Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 at 02:45 AM PDT by
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    More Prime Day deals are now live!

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  • Amazon Prime Day Deals: Up to 50% off Amazon Echo, Fire TV Edition 4K TV, Fire Tablets, and More!

    Posted Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 06:10 PM PDT by
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    Prime Day kicks off with several discounts on Amazon gear!

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  • Streaming News Roundup: Hulu Adds HBO, Netflix Announces Series Renewals, and More

    Posted Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 05:00 PM PDT by
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    New Netflix shows and the addition of an HBO plan to Hulu are among the latest streaming announcements.

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  • Amazon Prime Day Deals: Projectors, Speakers, and More!

    Posted Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 09:45 AM PDT by
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    Several upcoming deals have been revealed!

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  • HD Gear News Roundup: Ironman Headphones, Chromecast Ultra Update, and More

    Posted Sun Jul 9, 2017 at 08:00 PM PDT by
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    We've compiled the latest gear news, including Ironman headphones, a Chromecast update, and a standalone VR headset from Samsung.

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