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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

11 Ultimate Dolby Atmos Demo Scenes

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (28)

I've been fortunate enough to watch nearly every Dolby Atmos encoded Blu-ray movie at this point, somehow tricking lucking my way on to the disc reviewer's list. Believe me, friends, there are few greater feelings than to come home and see a Fed-Ex envelope on your doorstep holding a new Blu-ray that isn't going to be released for several more days! 

Recently someone at Dolby asked me to compile a list of my top...

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My list of top #CEDIA14 Do NOTs

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)

There are plenty of people that will gladly share all of their ideas on what you should DO while you are at CEDIA Expo. But I’m going to help you cull the list by telling you the 10 things you should NOT do at the Expo.

See, this will be my 16th Expo and I’ve managed to learn a few things over the years. So whether you’re a total Expo Noob or a grizzled veteran, there are probably a couple of things you can learn from th...

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Top 10 Best IPAs I've Ever Tasted

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (2)

Today – August 1 – is IPA Day; a day where people around the globe are encouraged to celebrate by drinking large tulip glasses filled with hop-juicy deliciousness. In my house, last night was IPA night as I began celebration by downing three New Belgium Rampants. To be fair, nearly every day is IPA Day in my home, as I constantly have a fridge filled with a variety of IPAs.

To date I’ve reviewed about 200 beers and have ...

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Top 10 Gnarliest Movies Ever - Woody Edition

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I’ve mentioned my Definitive Technology rep, Woody, before. He is the one where we shared a Gay Chamsake at our local sushi bar, and then I think he *may* have proposed to me with a delicate selection of pastel colored sakes on another occasion…...

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Top 10 Theater Design Mistakes - Part Two

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As I wrote in Part One of this piece, I've been a custom installer for the past 15 years, and in that time I see people making the same home theater design mistakes over and over. And over.

And these are real-world systems costing between $10,000 to $50,000 where you can get an amazing home theater experience, but th...

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Top 10 Theater Design Mistakes - Part One

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Since 1998, my full-time day job has been that of custom installer, and a frequent part of that job has been working with people on the design and installation of their new home theater/media rooms. And saying that I’ve been involved in over a hundred theater installs wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I’ve also had the opportunity to go on many jobs where another “installer” did the system and the homeowner was unsatisfied with the results—a lot o...

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It's About the Magic: 10 Life-Changing Movies

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

With all of the talk about technology, and 4K, and will home theater kill the commercial cinema, and the disappointment of some film transfers, and all the other grumbling and griping we tech writers like to indulge in, I thought I would take a different approach with this post.

Sometimes I think that we get so hung up on all the tech and the presentation and the pomp and circumstance of things that we lose sight of the fact that ultimate...

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Top 12 Blogs of 2012

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (36)

It seems to be the end-of-the-year blog thing to recap your top stories of the year, and who am I to buck the trend? Surely at least one of you out there has wondered, “Just what was the most popular story John wrote over the past 12 months?” Or, perhaps you’re a casual Sciacca Writes reader (to which, I ask the must-be-asked question, “Why?!? You should be coming every day, hungry, nay starving for new content!") and you hav...

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Top 10 CEDIA EXPO Memories

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (2)

A week from today, I will be walking off of a plane and stepping into the (hopefully) welcoming bosom of Indianapolis for the annual CEDIA EXPO. (Love ya, Indy, but, can't lie, looking forward to going back to Denver in '13!)

This will be my 14th EXPO and it is my favorite of the conventions for all of the reasons listed in my “Why...

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Top 11 of 2011

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

On this final day of the year, it seemed fitting to post up the links to the most popular stories over the past year. (Fitting because I see so many other sites doing it, so, well, it must be the meta, blog recap thing to do.) So with a couple of clicks through Google analytics and some custom date range adjustment, I was able to quickly compile a list of the most viewed stories for the past 365 days.

The popularity of some stories surpr...

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Top 10 Actresses - Perfect in that moment

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

For our anniversary a couple of years ago, my parents sent us a copy of our wedding video transferred from a no-longer-possible-to-play-in-out-modern-system VHS tape to a still-barely-tech-current DVD. (Sadly, the picture had so many artifacts and scratches that it appeared that someone may have first pulled the length of the decomposing tape from the cassette and then used it to rub against stones and chunks of wood possibly trying to start a fire.) Still, despite the l...

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Music + Movies = Memories

Posted on July 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM Comments comments (13)

Few things in life have the power to trigger memories and instantly transport you to another moment in time like music. A song that is coupled with some event in your life can become so deeply ingrained into the personal, specific you-ness which is YOU, that they will one day likely find a way of extracting the individual musical memory notes from our  DNA to recreate the entire being of WHO we are.

That’s what the best of albu...

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Top 10 List : Best Albums Edition

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 3:34 PM Comments comments (4)

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s well-known quote – well, well-known to anyone who has ever seen an episode of Iron Chef -- "Show me what you eat and I will tell you who you are" might be true. But I think the more modern version of this is, “Show me what’s on your iPod, and I’ll tell you what you’re like.”


Getting a glimpse into someone’s iTunes library is kind of like...

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To all the games I've loved before...

Posted on June 4, 2010 at 12:34 PM Comments comments (6)

Being just miles away from the impending oil spill/wash-up while in Destin, Florida this week, you are constantly hearing about the efforts  lame-ass attempts by BP to stop it. "We are attempting Top Kill." "Top Kill is underway." "Top Kill is working!" "Top Kill has failed..."


All this talk about Top Killing has me thinking of the videogame, Halo, which has a deliciously wicked play on words that gets cooler and funnier as you rack up more and more ki...

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Top 10 List: WORST Films Edition

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (12)

Watching movies is a real passion/hobby/time waster in our house, and when you cycle enough films through your Netflix queue, you're gonna uncover what you thought was a  diamond but that turn out to be a chunk of stool. We watched a REAL dud of a movie the other night, and in honor of that I thought I would revisit the Top 10 movie list once again; this time with a far less controversial WORST movies.  Like the best movies, when it comes to the worst movies yo...

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Top 10 List: Movies

Posted on March 10, 2010 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (18)

Whether inspired or angered by the Oscars, I've been thinking about movies quite a bit lately. My friend, Pierre, and I used to constantly hone and compare our lists of our personal Top 10 films, so I thought I'd post my most recent Top 10 list. Feel free to weigh in and add your own favorite films in the comments section. What did I miss? What do I need to see? Where do you think I was wrong? 

The films are li...

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