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   PastimesHome Theater Systems - Designs, Products, Tips and Info

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To: Frank Walker who wrote (238)10/17/2019 12:14:21 AM
From: J.F. Sebastian
   of 373
OK, now I understand. Yes, most of the current STBs can use services for live TV such as PS Vue and YouTube TV, which also have cloud DVR/PVR functionality.

They do offer 4K content on some channels if your connection supports it, just as you say. I don't yet own a 4K TV myself, so when I was using PS Vue I couldn't take advantage of any of that content.

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From: J.F. Sebastian10/26/2019 12:33:48 AM
   of 373
Apple is heading into the weekend with a huge $5 movie sale
across nearly every genre. Of course, all of these titles will
become a permanent part of your collection. You’d typically
pay $10 per film, although as much as $20 in some instances.
Each deal is a match of or new all-time low price. Hit the jump
for all of our top picks.

More at: Apple’s latest $5 weekend movie sale covers every genre at new all-time lows

Courtesy of Moonray on the main Apple, Inc. thread.

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From: J.F. Sebastian10/29/2019 7:15:45 PM
   of 373
PlayStation Vue is shutting down

The streaming service will go dark on Jan. 30, 2020.

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From: J.F. Sebastian12/13/2019 10:34:18 AM
   of 373
Apple launches huge movie bundle sale: Star Wars, Dark Knight, Harry Potter, more from $5

We’re under a week away from the release of the latest Star Wars film, and Apple is commemorating the event with a huge movie sale today. That includes nearly every Star Wars film, plus markdowns on various bundles including Batman, DC Universe, Superman, and more. All of which will become a permanent part of your library, delivering excellent value along the way. You’ll find all of our top picks down below.

Star Wars deals abound in this weekend’s sale

Apple is offering the original six-movie Star Wars collection for $49.99. That’s down from the usual $90 price tag and the best offer we’ve tracked at Apple to date. You’ll get the first two trilogies here, working out to just over $8 per film.

If you’re looking for more recently-released titles, those are on sale too at 50% off. That brings the price down to $10, which is a new all-time low in many instances.
Many more bundles and movie classics on sale

While the Star Wars deals are certainly notable above, Apple is also rolling out discounts on various other bundles and iconic films. This is a great time to load up your library with fresh content before the holidays.
Bundle deals include:

6-film Hobbit/Lord of the Rings: $40 (Reg. $90)
Harry Potter 8-film Collection: $50 (Reg. $80)
Super-Man/Batman 11-film Set: $40 (Reg. $50)
Dark Knight Trilogy: $20 (Reg. $30)
Ocean’s Trilogy: $15 (Reg. $20)
Austin Powers Collection: $15 (Reg. $30)
Rush Hour Trilogy: $15 (Reg. $30)
Hangover Trilogy: $15 (Reg. $30)

Other notable deals:

Happy Gilmore: $5 (Reg. $15)
Billy Madison: $5 (Reg. $15)
Orange County: $5 (Reg. $10)
Gridiron Gang: $5 (Reg. $10)
Empire State: $5 (Reg. $10)
The Italian Job: $5 (Reg. $15)
Tropic Thunder: $5 (Reg. $15)
I, Tonya: $5 (Reg. $10)

Don’t miss this week’s earlier Apple movie sale with additional deals on Disney films, the latest $1 rental, and more.


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From: Don Green1/18/2020 4:21:37 PM
1 Recommendation   of 373

From 8K TVs to machine learning, here's what you

There's no denying that 2020 is a futuristic-sounding year. Something about "twenty-twenty" just conjures images of flying cars and teleportation and robot overlords.

Okay, we might not be there yet, but there's still some really cool home theater and TV tech on the way—much of it having crystallized during CES 2020 in Las Vegas last week. We're talking humongous 8K TVs, machine learning to optimize picture and sound, modular soundbars, and even more Alexa and Google Home integration. Here's what you need to know about going into 2020.

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From: J.F. Sebastian2/14/2020 10:08:24 AM
   of 373
Apple $5 Valentine’s Day movie sale now live plus bundles from $10

Apple is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a big $5 movie sale this weekend, dropping a number of popular titles by 50% or more to all-time low prices. Each title will become a permanent part of your library. Head below for all of our top picks.

$5 Top picks include:

Tommy Boy
21 Jump Street
Zoolander Ted
Wedding Crashers Uncorked
Rough Night
The Spy Who Dumped Me
I Love You, Man
I Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Steel Magnolias
Sex and the City
Mystic Pizza


Will Ferrell 4-film Collection: $50 (Reg. $60)
21/22 Jump Street: $20 (Reg. $25)
4K HDR Comedy Collection: $30 (Reg. $40)
5 Romance Films: $20 (Reg. $40)
Miss Congeniality Collection: $10 (Reg. $20)
Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy: $20 (Reg. $30)

Don’t forget to check out Tuesday’s Disney movie sale at Apple, featuring new all-time lows from $10.


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From: John Koligman4/28/2020 5:11:15 PM
1 Recommendation   of 373
The Vinyl? It’s Pricey. The Sound? Otherworldly.
The Electric Recording Co. in London cuts albums the way they were made in the 1950s and ’60s — literally.

Pete Hutchison, the founder of the Electric Recording Co. label, inspecting a master disc on the record-cutting lathe.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

By Ben Sisario

April 28, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET

LONDON — Tucked in a trendy co-working complex in West London, just past the food court and the payment processing start-up, is perhaps the most technologically backward-looking record company in the world.

The Electric Recording Co., which has been releasing music since 2012, specializes in meticulous recreations of classical and jazz albums from the 1950s and ’60s. Its catalog includes reissues of landmark recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as lesser-known artists favored by collectors, like the violinist Johanna Martzy.

But what really sets Electric Recording apart is its method — a philosophy of production more akin to the making of small-batch gourmet chocolate than most shrink-wrapped vinyl.

Its albums, assembled by hand and released in editions of 300 or fewer — at a cost of $400 to $600 for each LP — are made with restored vintage equipment down to glowing vacuum-tube amplifiers, and mono tape systems that have not been used in more than half a century. The goal is to ensure a faithful restoration of what the label’s founder, Pete Hutchison, sees as a lost golden age of record-making. Even its record jackets, printed one by one on letterpress machines, show a fanatical devotion to age-old craft.

“It started as wanting to recreate the original but not make it a sort of pastiche,” Hutchison said in a recent interview. “And in order not to create a pastiche, we had to do everything as they had done it.”

Electric Recording’s attention to detail, and Hutchison’s delicate engineering style in mastering old records, have given the label a revered status among collectors — yet also drawn subtle ridicule among rivals who view its approach as needlessly expensive and too precious by half.

An original Lyrec T818 tape machine that the label has painstakingly renovated, in its London studio.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Braided silver wire made specifically for the company.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
The silver wire gives the audio signal greater purity.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Hutchison, 53, whose sharp features and foot-long beard make him look like a wayward wizard from “The Lord of the Rings,” dismissed such critiques as examples of the audiophile world’s catty tribalism. Even the word “audiophile,” he feels, is more often an empty marketing gimmick than a reliable sign of quality.

“Audiophiles listen with their ears, not with their hearts,” Hutchison said. He added: “That’s not our game, really.”

So what’s his game?

“The game is trying to do something that is anti-generic, if you like,” he said. “What we’re doing with these old records is essentially taking the technology from the time and remaking it as it was done then, rather than compromising it.”

To a large degree, the vinyl resurgence of the last decade has been fueled by reissues. But no reissue label has gone to the same extremes as Electric Recording.

In 2009, Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — a Lyrec tape deck and lathe, with Ortofon amplifiers, both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years. He has invested thousands more on improvements like replacing their copper wiring with mined silver, which Hutchison said gives the audio signal a greater level of purity.

The machines allow Hutchison to exclude any trace of technology that has crept into the recording process since a time when the Beatles were in moptops. That means not only anything digital or computerized, but also transistors, a mainstay of audio circuitry for decades; instead, the machines’ amplifiers are powered by vacuum tubes (or valves, as British engineers call them).

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hutchison said, the company’s records have been selling as fast as ever, although there have been some production hiccups.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

“We’re all about valves here,” Hutchison said on a tour of the label’s studio.

Mastering a vinyl record involves “cutting” grooves into a lacquer disc, a dark art in which tiny adjustments can have a big effect. Unusually among engineers, Hutchison tends to master records at low volumes — sometimes even quieter than the originals — to bring out more of the natural feel of the instruments.

He demonstrated his technique during a recent mastering session for “Mal/2,” a 1957 album by the jazz pianist Mal Waldron that features an appearance by Coltrane. He tested several mastering levels for the song “ One by One” — which has lots of staccato trumpet notes, played by Idrees Sulieman — before settling on one that preserved the excitement of the original tape but avoided what Hutchison called a “honk” when the horns reached a climax.

“What you want to hear is the clarity, the harmonics, the textures,” he said. “What you don’t want is to put it on and feel like you’ve got to turn it down.”

These judgments are often subjective. But to test Hutchison’s approach, I visited the New Jersey home of Michael Fremer, a contributing editor at Stereophile and a longtime champion of vinyl. We listened to a handful of Electric Recording releases, comparing them to pressings of the same material by other companies, on Fremer’s state-of-the-art test system (the speakers alone cost $100,000).

Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

I am often skeptical of claims of vinyl’s superiority, but when listening to one of Electric Recording’s albums of Bach’s solo violin pieces played by Martzy, I was stunned by their clearness and beauty. Compared to the other pressings, Electric Recording’s version had vivid, visceral details, yielding a persuasive illusion of a human being standing before me drawing a bow across a violin.

“It’s magical what they’re doing, recreating these old records,” Fremer said as he swapped out more Electric Recording discs.

Hutchison is a surprising candidate to carry the torch for sepia-toned classical fidelity. In the 1990s, he was a player in the British techno scene with his label Peacefrog; the label’s success in the early 2000s with the minimalist folk of José González helped finance the obsession that became Electric Recording.

Hutchison’s conversion happened after he inherited the classical records owned by his father, who died in 1998. A longtime collector of rock and jazz, Hutchison was entranced by the sound of the decades-old originals, and found newer reissues unsatisfying. He learned that Peacefrog’s distributor, EMI, owned the rights to many of his new favorites. Was it possible to recreate things exactly has they had been done the first time around?

After restoring the machines, Electric Recording put its first three albums on sale in late 2012 — Martzy’s solo Bach sets, originally issued in the mid-1950s.

Hutchison decided that true fidelity applied to packaging as well as recording. Letterpress printing drove up his manufacturing costs, and some of the label’s projects have seemed to push the boundaries of absurdity.

In making “ Mozart à Paris,” for example, a near-perfect simulacrum of a deluxe 1956 box set, Hutchison spent months scouring London’s haberdashers to find the right strand of silk for a decorative cord. The seven-disc set is Electric Recording’s most expensive title, at about $3,400 — and one of the few in its catalog that has not sold out.

“Mozart à Paris,” a near-perfect simulacrum of a deluxe 1956 box set, required extreme attention to the packaging details.Credit...Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Hutchison defends such efforts as part of the label’s devotion to authenticity. But it comes at a cost. Its manufacturing methods, and the quality-control attention paid to each record, bring no economies of scale. So Electric Recording would gain no reduction in expenses if it made more, thus negating the question Hutchison is most frequently asked: Why not press more records and sell them more cheaply?

“We probably make the most expensive records in the world,” Hutchison said, “and make the least profit.”

Electric Recording’s prices have drawn head-scratching through the cliquey world of high-end vinyl producers. Chad Kassem, whose company Acoustic Sounds, in Salina, Kan., is one of the world’s biggest vinyl empires, said he admired Hutchison’s work.

“I tip my hat to any company that goes the extra mile to make things as best as possible,” Kassem said.

But he said he was proud of Acoustic Sounds’s work, which like Electric Recording cuts its masters from original tapes and goes to great lengths to capture original design details — and sells most of its records for about $35. I asked Kassem what is the difference between a $35 reissue and a $500 one.

He paused for a moment, then said: “Four hundred sixty-five dollars.”

Yet the market has embraced Electric Recording. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hutchison said, its records have been selling as fast as ever, although the company has had some production hiccups. The only manufacturer of a fabric that Hutchison chose for a Mozart set in the works, by the pianist Lili Kraus, has been locked down in Italy.

The next frontier for Electric Recording is rock. Hutchison recently got permission to reissue “ Forever Changes,” the classic 1967 psychedelic album by the California band Love, and said that the original tape had a more unvarnished sound than most fans had heard. He expects that to be released in July, and “Mal/2” is due in August.

But Hutchison seemed most proud of the label’s work on classical records that seemed to come from a distant era. He pulled out a 10-inch mini-album of Bach by the French pianist Yvonne Lefébure, originally released in 1955. Electric Recording painstakingly recreated its dowel spine, its cotton sleeve, its leather cover embossed in gold leaf.

“It’s a nice artifact,” Hutchison said, looking at it lovingly. “It’s a great record as well.”

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To: John Koligman who wrote (245)4/28/2020 7:04:36 PM
From: SI Ron (Crazy Soup Man)
   of 373
A friend of mine, very wealthy repair shop owner in my city told me in the early 2000's he was going back to vinyl, he said it was more musical and sounded better, he would fly to other cities to buy records to add to his collection, his personal home stereo at the time was 30 grand. 10 grand just for the B&W speakers. I still prefer CD, but iTunes is much more convenient.

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To: SI Ron (Crazy Soup Man) who wrote (246)4/29/2020 1:28:54 PM
From: John Koligman
1 Recommendation   of 373
I noticed that the reviewer said he listened to these records at the home of a guy that had a set of speakers that cost $100,000! Some folks just have way too much cash lying around <gg>.

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From: J.F. Sebastian5/31/2020 5:01:08 AM
1 Recommendation   of 373
Netflix secret codes in 2020 (updated list)

There are a number of very specific Netflix categories and subcategories that you can access if you know the right codes. All you have to do is enter the URL in the address bar of your browser, and replace the X with the code of the category you want.

So that you do not have to complicate your life looking for the codes manually, in this list we have compiled all the codes that are known today. Of course, keep in mind that as Netflix content varies according to the country you are in, some categories could appear totally empty.

Much more at:

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