Opinion

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Anton van Beek  |  May 02, 2018  |  0 comments

When it comes to movie soundtracks, it's often assumed that home cinema fans like them as loud and brash as they can be. After all, unlike friends and family members who are content listening to films through the piddly drivers crammed into their flatscreen TVs, we've actually gone to the effort of filling our living room or movie den with honking great speakers. So it only stands to reason that we'll be cranking them to the max. Doesn't it?

Steve May  |  Aug 01, 2017  |  0 comments
1. Only you can work your system

The additional power amp. The Darbee Darblet. The trio of media players, all necessary to cover esoteric file formats. Over the years you’ve assembled a home cinema of such fearsome complexity that successful operation is beyond the talents of mere mortals (or other family members, basically). Of course, it doesn’t help that you insist on still using seven individual remotes, and haven’t bothered to relabel the HDMI inputs on your AVR – but that’s only an issue when you’re not around to cue up a Blu-ray. Which hardly ever happens, as you’re in your cinema room every day…

Mark Craven  |  Sep 28, 2016  |  0 comments

The Ultra HD Blu-ray format, launched during an era when streaming services are eating into physical media sales, has posted impressive retail figures that compare favourably to the first few months of Blu-ray, according to US industry mag Home Media Magazine.

Jon Thompson  |  Sep 19, 2016  |  0 comments

Earlier this year, the topic of dialogue intelligibility raised its head once again, this time around the blockbuster Warner Bros flick Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some people were complaining that they couldn't hear the dialogue, yet Hans Zimmer, the soundtrack composer, blamed cinema loudspeakers, affronted by the suggestion that his pounding score made the chatter in the latest superhero match-up inaudible. 

Mark Craven  |  Aug 02, 2016  |  0 comments

Home cinema used to be oh-so simple. Partner a bigscreen TV with a home theatre in a box (HTIB) and you were sorted for whatever DVD or Blu-ray you wanted to play. You could go the separates route, splitting your speakers, AV amp and disc-player purchases in pursuit of greater quality, but an all-in-one system couldn't be criticised when it came to covering the basics. It was wonderfully democratic.

Mark Craven  |  Jul 05, 2016  |  0 comments

I'm a big believer in giving your AV setup a Spring clean. Untangling cables, repositioning speakers that have been shunted about and putting Blu-ray discs back in their correct cases can help bring a sense of calm to a fraught AV mind. 

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 25, 2016  |  0 comments

There’s something in the air in the world of superhero movies right now. After several years of beating up bad guys, we're getting two comic book blockbusters in quick succession based around the idea of superheroes punching seven shades of hell out of one another instead.

Steve May  |  Apr 18, 2016  |  0 comments

Generally speaking, our modern connected world is a good thing, particularly when it comes to electronic doodads. Back in the day, before the 'net, we would buy a gadget, happy to know that what it did when first unboxed would be what it would do forever (wear and tear not withstanding) – play DVDs, amplify music, time an egg.

Steve May  |  Apr 08, 2016  |  0 comments

Virtual Reality makes me sick. No, it really does. I've donned VR goggles more than once, and more than once I've ended up looking for a brown bag afterward. There's something about the disorientating sense of motion and the sensory deprivation of VR that snafus my equilibrium. I reckon I'm not alone in this. Yet this hasn't prevented VR being hailed as The Next Big Thing.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 29, 2016  |  0 comments

What do zero-budget fright flicks, British gangster films and Nic Cage all have in common? Give up? Well, at the time of writing they can all be found clogging up the DVD/Blu-ray charts of your local supermarket. And they aren’t just filling the lower rungs of the charts either, they’re occupying prime positions between mountaineering dramas and Tom Cruise’s latest action epic.

Mark Craven  |  Mar 22, 2016  |  0 comments

Beyond all the rights deals, compliant hardware, giant servers and subscription fees, there's one thing that makes streaming TV and movie content possible, and it's your internet connection. 

Steve May  |  Sep 01, 2015  |  0 comments

These days you can’t move for pundits proclaiming the death of physical media. Whatever your passion, be it DVDs and Blu-rays, CD and vinyl, or coffee table tomes, the connected mantra is largely the same: bin what you own and don’t buy anything that requires a bag to carry it in. This is shockingly bad advice. But I nearly fell for it.

Anton van Beek  |  Aug 24, 2015  |  0 comments

Fright fans got a whole lot more than they bargained for when they tuned in for the UK terrestrial TV debut of the Evil Dead remake earlier this year. Thanks to a cock-up at the film's UK distributor StudioCanal, the dead-lucky Channel 4 viewers who sat down to watch the film in January saw an alternate cut of the film that hasn’t been screened anywhere else in the world.

Steve May  |  Aug 19, 2015  |  0 comments

Let me tell you about embargoes. Essentially a gagging order, they’re routinely disgorged by companies in an attempt to control the flow of information that they give to journalists, usually so they can stage-manage product launches or coordinate marketing. Occasionally they're useful, allowing magazines like the one you’re reading to get an early heads-up on new products and technologies. More often, though, they're pointless, irritating and dispensed with little real thought about the practical consequences. The first rule of any embargo is that someone (else) will break it.

Anton van Beek  |  Aug 05, 2015  |  0 comments

Blame Marvel Studios. Once upon a time film franchises were simple things. You made a movie and, if it did good business at the box office, you went and made a sequel. Then another and another, ad nauseam, until you reached the tipping point for audience apathy where the cost of making the films was higher than the profits they brought in. Then Marvel Studios came along with its interlinked superhero movies and everything changed.

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