Category Archives: Film

Pioneer Introduces New Powered Speaker Bar Designed by Andrew Jones

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We’ve talked a lot about TV audio — and how bad it can be. Despite those big, beautiful images, most HDTVs don’t really sound all that great. An easy, compact fix can be found via a simple soundbar system.

Soundbars pack better audio into one or two pieces. Of course, this option can’t really replace a full-blown speaker setup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t manufacturers out there trying. The latest comes from Pioneer Electronics and legendary speaker engineer Andrew Jones. The company just announced the SP-SB23W Speaker Bar system, which boasts full-range sound from a small, attractive audio package.

Pioneer has certainly packed a lot of goodies inside this unit’s composite wood curved cabinet. First up are the soundbar’s six individual speakers, which includes four custom 3-inch woofers and two 1-inch soft dome tweeters. Each of the woofers has a vented pole piece for better bass, while the tweeters include a custom waveguide enclosure for better sensitivity and controlled dispersion of high frequencies.

It’s also important to note that Pioneer has included six individual amplifiers to power each one of these drivers. Those certainly pack a nice punch, cranking out up to 28 watts of power each.

To add a little oomph into the room, the Speaker Bar comes with a matching wireless subwoofer, which has a 6.5-inch driver and a built-in 50-watt amplifier. If you want a little less oomph, Pioneer has made it easy to adjust the sub’s output level, via the included remote.

Other features include Dolby Digital recording, an active crossover network, and built-in Bluetooth connectivity for wirelessly streaming music from a smartphone or tablet right to the soundbar. The Sound Bar even has three sound modes, so you can tweak for music, movies and dialogue.

Of course, it also looks very nice. The Sound Bar has a composite wood cabinet, which can resist unwanted resonance and has an RF molded curved enclosure that’s made for reproducing the best audio possible.

“Pioneer created a similar speaker bar in the late 90’s for conventional television sets and now we’re building the best sounding speaker bar for today’s flat panel televisions,” said Chris Walker, director of AV marketing and product planning for Pioneer’s home electronics division. “Unlike most offerings, the new Speaker Bar is made of composite wood, a far superior material that makes a significant difference when it comes to sound quality.”

Pioneer will ship the Speaker Bar this fall with an optical cable and everything needed for wall mounting. The company has listed the product with an MSRP of $399.

How Instagram Named Its New Set of Video Filters

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As Instagram introduced a new video feature to the app on Thursday, founder Kevin Systrom was particularly proud of an update to its filters, the colored effects Instagram is most known for.

After unveiling the video product, Systrom dropped a whole new set of 13 filters made specifically to apply to video posts, apparently with the aid of a visual artist whose work focuses primarily on video and photography.

But while the eternal, oh-so-important question raged on in the press afterward — is six seconds of short-form video (like Twitter’s Vine app) better than 15 seconds? — I had another question, equally as important: Just how does the team come up with the cutesy names for its photo filters?



At last! We’ve got the scoop on what’s behind Systrom’s new set — here’s details on 10 of them. Let’s go through the list.

The Stinson is named after a dog of an Instagram team member. If you aren’t a Californian, that name won’t mean much to you — it comes from Stinson Beach, a nice little area over in Marin County. The Moon filter is also named after a pup from someone on the team.

I could have sworn that the Vesper was named after the Bond heroine of the same name in “Casino Royale.” But no, it’s one of the Instagram team’s favorite cocktails (though if I remember correctly, James Bond does name a cocktail “the Vesper” in the flick).

Many of the new filters are named after streets, towns or areas, which I figure is an attempt to capture the feeling or ambiance of that specific locale. The Clarendon, for example, comes from a street in San Francisco, while Helena is named after the town in Napa, St. Helena. Brooklyn is pretty easy to figure out, and Ashby comes from one of the main drags in Berkeley, Calif.

Others, I’d guess, are evocative of feelings that the team had going to certain places. Ginzacomes from a trip to Tokyo, named after one of the neighborhoods in the area. And Skyline is straight from Kevin Systrom — it’s one of his favorite drives down south (it’s the common name for State Route 35, the two-lane road that runs along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains).

Lastly, there’s the straight-up homage: Dogpatch is an area in San Francisco, but this filter is named specifically after Dogpatch Labs, the small office spaces in tech-heavy areas where small startups are invited to come and work on their companies. Dogpatch Labs was where Systrom originally founded Burbn with Mike Krieger, the duo’s first attempt at a location-sharing startup.

The common theme here? I’d say most are named after things, places or “moments” that evoke emotions, particularly in the founders themselves. Pretty spot on for a service that purports to “capture and share the world’s moments.”


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