Opinion

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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.

Vincent Teoh  |  Jul 18, 2015  |  0 comments

Most high-end TVs offer a dizzying array of picture-affecting controls in their user menu. So, in addition to traditional controls to adjust brightness, contrast and sharpness, users are also confronted with a multitude of other options for tweaking the image, ranging from white balance to colour management and automatic brightness adjustment. And then there's what I consider to be one of the most evil picture processing elements found on modern TVs: noise reduction.

Vincent Teoh  |  Jun 04, 2015  |  0 comments

It happens less these days as the market is awash with LED LCDs, but nothing beats the warm feeling I get during calibration when I know the TV at the end of my measurement probe is a plasma.

Anton van Beek  |  May 24, 2015  |  0 comments

For many film fans who grew up in the era of the ‘Video Nasty’, the British Board of Film Classification’s decision last year to pass Jörg Buttgereit’s controversial cult classic Nekromantik uncut for home viewing in the UK can be viewed as something of a fresh watershed for the softening of censorship restrictions on these shores. However, 2014 also saw the BBFC having what may well be its biggest impact on mainstream movies in decades, one prompted by film distributors’ desires to reach ever-wider audiences for their content.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 04, 2015  |  0 comments

Death by firmware update is getting to be a very real occupational hazard. Not just for me, but the AV receiver industry as a whole. You see, I recently reviewed the awesome Denon AVR-X5200W and during the four-week period on test it changed quite dramatically. Twice. Thanks to three major firmware updates and one feature add-on, the product that left the Stevenson Ranch might as well have had a different model number to the one that arrived.

Vincent Teoh  |  Mar 27, 2015  |  0 comments

As a professional calibrator, one of the most common reasons people ask me to tune their TVs is to obtain more realistic skin tones. Nothing jolts you out of an enjoyable viewing experience more than horrible-looking flesh tones, because these are part of a small group of colours called 'memory colours' – hues with which we are so familiar in real life that we instantly know if they don’t look right.

Mark Craven  |  Feb 19, 2015  |  0 comments

In an answer to a reader's letter in a recent issue I said I didn't want to be a 'Netflix knocker'. And truly I don't. But the American streaming giant is certainly making it pretty hard work. Here's why.

Anton van Beek  |  Feb 13, 2015  |  0 comments

The tail end of 2014 saw the publication of the latest HCC Movie Awards (which can also be found right here) and, as always, the nominations were a mix of the painfully obvious and the fiercely contested. So, while the likes of Best Picture Quality, Best Audio Quality and even Best Disc fell into place pretty quickly, others proved much more troublesome – the most obvious example being Best Remaster.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jan 30, 2015  |  0 comments

Television viewing ratings are tumbling, according to a recent report by Nielsen. The company produces the TV ratings for the US market but says the trend is global. We are simply watching television less than we used to.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 04, 2014  |  0 comments

Since the widespread adoption of digital visual effects during the 1990s, several filmmaking arts have essentially fallen by the wayside. The most notable for me is the demise of the matte painting – a technique used to combine a piece of live-action footage of a limited scale with a more expansive, or ornate, painted background or foreground. This was a method used to create epic vistas that otherwise couldn't be achieved without bankrupting the studio.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 30, 2014  |  0 comments

Flicking through one of the Sunday broadsheets earlier this year I came across a piece by the paper's TV critic, taking a pop at HBO's fantasy show Game of Thrones. With my own opinion being so far opposed to that of the writer, I was actually rather intrigued by the prospect of reading what I assumed would be a thoughtful and intelligent critique of the hit show. How wrong I was.

Mark Craven  |  Sep 25, 2014  |  0 comments

While we wait patiently for the Blu-ray Disc Association to put the finishing touches to a next-generation disc standard that will bring 4K content to our living rooms (due in Summer 2015), it's often said by wizened CE journos that there's a shortage of 4K content. And this could be an issue for TV manufacturers. After all, having finally worked out how to cram a few million more pixels into an LCD screen, they're now hoping to flog them to wary punters tired of backing the wrong technological horse in the AV Stakes.

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