The edge of the art of headphone amplifier design

I've heard a lot of, but far from most of the world's best headphone amps, but even in that heady territory the Auralic Taurus MKII shines. I've used a wide range of my very best headphones, in-ears and full-size, and they're all sounding better than I've heard them before.

The $6,475 Mal Valve amp is right up there, but it's been a few months since I heard it, and I never had it at home so my experience was more limited. I had the luxury of living with the Taurus MKII for weeks, … Read more

Budget TV resolution rumble: 720p plasma vs. 4K LED LCD

If resolution is as important as some say it is, then this should be no contest. On one side, we've got a 50-inch Ultra HD 4K LED LCD. On the other side, we've got a 720p plasma. A $500 50-inch plasma.

Head-to-head, with a variety of content and objective measurements, how do they compare?

The results may surprise you.… Read more

LG Display lays claim to world's first Quad HD smartphone LCD

LG Display might have just made that full HD screen on your smartphone look not so sharp.

The South Korean LCD panel maker on Tuesday unveiled what it calls the world's first Quad HD (2,560x1,440-pixel resolution) smartphone display. Measuring 5.5 inches long and 1.21 millimeters thick, the panel sports 538 pixels per inch, LG Display said.

LG Display claims the new panel has four times more pixels than 1,280X720 HD displays, producing Blu-ray-like video with clearer images and sharper contrast than today's panels.

"LG Display, which pioneered the high resolution mobile market … Read more

Brighter is not necessarily better

The old adage in TV retail is that the brightest TV sells. This, in a historical context, makes a lot of sense: the brightest TV caught your eye, seemed "better," and got your hard-earned ducats.

But these days all TVs are bright. And just because one TV is brighter than another, it doesn't mean it's "better."… Read more

Fake refresh rates: Is your TV really 120Hz?

Just because your TV says it has a refresh rate of 120Hz or 240Hz, does that mean it's actually refreshing at 120Hz or 240Hz? Nope, not necessarily. One of the latest marketing techniques, shall we say "gifts for fiction," is using different technology to approximate the effect of a higher refresh rate, without actually driving the TV at the higher rate.

Confused? Yep, that's the point. Hopefully I can deconfusify you.… Read more

How to keep your TV from falling over

Mini-humans are an inquisitive bunch, poking, grabbing, and pulling everything in sight. If that "everything" is a loose glass of water, it's inconvenient. If a cat, it's potentially disagreeable. If it's a 65-inch television, the result can be...

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 43,000 people are injured each year in TV- and furniture-related incidents. And it's not just kids getting hurt, either. So let's figure out how to prevent your TV from falling over.… Read more

CNET's guide to 3D TV: What you (still) need to know

3D TV is a chicken without an egg. Many LED LCD and plasma TVs today offer a 3D feature and ship with 3D glasses, but most people never use the feature and never don the glasses. Or they try it once or twice and then leave the glasses to gather dust.

The missing egg is content. Despite the hype of its "Avatar"-fueled launch and accompanying predictions about a proliferation of made-in-3D movies, sports, and TV shows, 3D is still uncommon today. There's not much actual 3D you can watch on a 3D TV.

With a couple … Read more

ABCs of smartphone screens: 1080p and more (Smartphones Unlocked)

The smartphone industry tosses around a whole bucket of names and numbers to describe the viewing experience on your smartphone screen: ClearBlack, 1080p, Retina, AMOLED, supersensitive. And the list goes on.

Some designations are marketing monikers cooked up to give one company an edge; others are more scientific. That isn't to say that flashy names like Apple's Retina Display are worthless and empty. Sometimes the trademarked name masks a unique process too technical to quickly explain.

To make things simpler, here are some common terms you might see attached to smartphone screens, and some factors that actually go … Read more

LG unveils world's thinnest Full HD LCD smartphone panel

As companies search for ways to make mobile devices ever-sleeker and lighter, LG Display announced Wednesday that it is coming out with what it claims to be the "world's slimmest full HD LCD panel for smartphones."

The panel is 5.2 inches long and only 2.2 mm thick. LG says that it is the narrowest full HD LCD panel to hit the mobile market. Using touch technology, dual flexible printed circuits, and a direct bonding system, LG says that the number of lines on the panel have been reduced by 30 percent and that this also … Read more

Abyss AB-1266 headphones run $5,495, but they're worth it

Elegantly designed, affordable products are marvels of our age, but then there are the extreme, defiantly outrageous ones designed to thrill. Take the new 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper GTS: this $120,000 supercar looks like a venomous snake with wheels and can propel its owner to insanely fast speeds, but the car probably won't be of much practical use as a grocery hauler or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The Abyss AB-1266 is the SRT Viper GTS of headphones. It's a no-holds-barred attempt to build the best-sounding headphone on the planet.

The mostly metal design is … Read more