Best Gear of May 2020

Who know Ground Hog Day could last so long? Though not gone, the fear-inducing COVID-19 virus is loosening its grip on society, allowing Americans to finally start getting back to (or at least anticipate) something resembling normal life. For many of us, the return to normalcy means revisiting home entertainment aspirations with renewed vigor. To help with that quest, we present the latest round of Sound & Vision Top Picks — an eclectic ensemble that runs the gamut from a forward-looking AV receiver to an ingenious accessory that makes mounting a TV over your fireplace practical.

LG OLED65GXPUA OLED Ultra HDTV: $3,500


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

OLED TV just keeps getting better. LG’s mid-line 65GXPUA presents an outstanding 4K picture and is loaded with valuable features sure to engage movie buffs and gamers. Topping the list is an auto low-latency mode (ALLM) for enhanced gaming and Dynamic Tone Mapping that heightens high dynamic range (HDR) realism by converting common HDR10 sources from a static presentation to one with metadata that changes frame by frame. Making a good thing even better, the TV is equipped with the new Filmmaker picture mode and an HDR Effect setting that convincingly simulates HDR on all those movies made before high dynamic range became a must-have TV feature. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes the TV supports the HLG and Dolby Vision formats. Not one to mince words, reviewer Tom Norton was captivated by the set’s ability to convey vibrant (though not overdone) color and rich detail. Guardians of the Galaxy No.2, one of his go-to test discs, “never looked better than it did on the 65GX.”

AT A GLANCE

Plus

Rich, accurate color
Wide viewing angle
Outstanding HDR performance

Minus

Remote control difficult to use
Table-mount legs an optional accessory

Full Review Here

MantelMount MM860 Motorized TV Mount: $1,999


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

People love mounting TVs over fireplaces but rarely stop to think about the downside: It almost always puts the screen too high for comfortable viewing. MantelMount addresses this dilemma with a way-cool solution guaranteed to impress house guests: a motorized mounting system that gracefully pulls the TV away from the wall and lowers it to eye level so you don’t have to crane your neck. Controlled by a simple remote or an app on your phone, the MM860 has a 30-inch range of motion — enough to achieve an optimal level no matter how high the mantel; you can even create a preset for your preferred TV height. Resident custom installer John Sciacca found the 860’s operation to be smooth and quiet — a “perfect solution to improve your TV viewing.” The system is also idiot-proof with a sensor that automatically retracts the screen if that special someone decides to watch TV while the fire is roaring.

AT A GLANCE

Plus

Solves a common TV installation issue
Solid build quality
Out-of-the-box automation

Minus

Limited horizontal swivel range
Awkward power/cable routing
Professional installation highly recommended

Full Review Here

Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Wireless Home Theater System: $1,600


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

If you’re thinking about upping your home theater game with a new set of speakers, Enclave’s CineHome PRO system is definitely worth a look. The stylish six-speaker setup delivers a true surround sound experience that goes far beyond what you can get from a soundbar and does so at a reasonable price. But here’s the kicker: It’s a wireless system, meaning you won’t have to mess with speaker wires (though you will have to run power to each speaker). The system comes with an intuitive app that makes setup a breeze and employs the proven WiSA protocol to ensure reliable wireless performance; it’s also the first wireless speaker set certified to meet audio standards established by THX. Reviewer Rob Sabin was impressed with the system’s ability to create a coherent sound bubble and play loud without breaking a sweat: “[The musical] La La Land was a delight on the Enclave, with a convincing surround, well-delineated voices from the ensemble, natural timbre for the instruments, and the super-effective dynamics.”

AT A GLANCE

Plus

Easy, app-driven automatic setup
Good audio quality via hi-res wireless WiSA platform
Simple and intuitive control app

Minus

Lack of A/V switching may be an issue for some systems
No remote control or learning feature
No decoding or full-resolution transmission of DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD bitstreams

Full Review Here