Opinion

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Anton van Beek  |  Sep 05, 2014  |  0 comments

The past couple of months have seen the AV industry come down with a serious case of Dolby Atmos fever. For a while it felt like every other press release that turned up in my inbox was from an AVR manufacturer, shouting about the fact that its latest models are ready for the advanced audio format.

Richard Stevenson  |  Sep 01, 2014  |  0 comments

I have always been a fan of the phrase ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’. It was coined by the late Dr Richard Carlson in his best-selling book of the same name; a tome of wisdom that highlighted the dangers of getting hung up on the little details. 

Mark Craven  |  Aug 13, 2014  |  0 comments

Earlier this week I was slumped in front of my TV in the evening, browsing the EPG, and found myself watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. As usual, the firey Scots chef was dealing with a hapless sap whose restaurant was losing more money in a week than most of us make in a year. And, as usual, one of the first things Gordon advised was to streamline the menu, knocking it down from its four-page anthology of culinary blandness to a simple selection of tasty goodies. A smart solution, I thought, knowing how annoying it can be to choose between meat and fish, let alone thirty variations of the two. And it's an idea that I humbly suggest could be employed by the AV industry.

Richard Stevenson  |  Aug 08, 2014  |  0 comments

As noted previously, complexity is the Achilles' heel of home cinema. In an era of one-touch instant results, faffing about with the likes of THX Boundary Gain Compensation is not turning anyone on these days. We need switch-on-and-go simplicity; a clean, crisp movie-watching experience. In other words, home cinema needs to be more Zen.

Richard Stevenson  |  Mar 28, 2014  |  0 comments

Lots of people watch movies at home on large screens, but how many go to the lengths of adding an AV amplifier, a full-size loudspeaker package and a subwoofer or two? Very few, because despite TV sound quality going backwards for over a decade, proper home cinema audio is just not on most people’s radar.

Richard Stevenson  |  Nov 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Television is the new movie. Or rather: TV shows are the new media entertainment of choice when it comes to streaming video. Recent figures from survey-meister GfK show that content created for broadcast TV enjoys up to four times as many downloads as cinematic movies. In fact, GfK in the United States suggests that, across the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market, TV series account for 81 per cent of downloaded content against just 19 per cent for films.

Richard Stevenson  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  0 comments

I have been turned. Having being derisive and scathing about soundbars for as long as I can remember, my opinion has been massaged by the performance and spousal acceptance of one of the breed. You see, soundbars have not and never will deliver proper home cinema sound. They are too small, the left and right channels are too close together and those that do try to integrate rear effects never quite succeed. Yet they are damn popular with the proletariat. The UK soundbar market has been doubling in value every year for the last five years and in 2013 is expected to crest the key £100m mark. That is a whole lot of soundbars.

Mark Craven  |  Sep 11, 2013  |  0 comments

In the same week that 3DTV owners were able to engross themselves in the BBC's stereoscopic coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championship, the Corporation announced that it was putting its 3D broadcast plans on hold. In fact, in a matter of a few days, the company's Head of 3D, Kim Shillinglaw, went from being seemingly enthusiastic about funny glasses viewing to bleakly pessimistic. There I was, patiently charging my Active spex for an afternoon spent trying to ignore the fact I was wearing them, when I read that Shillinglaw had announced to the Radio Times that she'd 'never seen a very big appetite for 3D television in the UK,' and that 'watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home.' Earlier that week she's said the BBC was 'delighted to provide live 3D coverage as this year's Championships reach a climax.'

Richard Stevenson  |  Aug 12, 2013  |  0 comments

The avalanche of super-sized TVs hitting the market this Summer has got me thinking about that lynch-pin of serious home cinema, the projector. These thoughts go along the lines of, ‘how long before projectors are redundant in most installs?’

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 29, 2013  |  0 comments

We may still be in the grip of economic gloom but I can see some light at the end of the consumer electronics market’s long dark tunnel, and that light is home cinema. During this recession, the electronics industry has fared even worse than other consumer goods sectors and has had more dips than a fondue party. The general public are simply not buying TVs and audio systems like they used to. In fact, throughout 2012, the UK public purchased half as many TVs as it did in 2006.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 15, 2013  |  0 comments

I have yet another subwoofer-induced headache, and it's not from playing the opening sequence to The Expendables 2. Rather, it's from trying to get my noodle around a mind-bogglingly complex setup. You see, my period of single subwoofer purity has come to an end, with a second Velodyne DD18+ joining my system to capitalise on the new breed of 11.2-channel AV hardware.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 01, 2013  |  0 comments

I have just spent 10 hours watching four movies back to back. It started with serious violent action from The Sweeney and the sci-fi remake Total Recall, then a re-run of Skyfall just to cement my opinion that it is my least favourite Bond film of all time, even though I still enjoyed it. The marathon concluded by having my noodle well and truly baked by Cloud Atlas.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 18, 2013  |  0 comments

Always keen to maximise the potential of his home cinema setup, Richard Stevenson discovers that a 10-year-old idea still has a lot going for it.

Mark Craven  |  May 16, 2013  |  0 comments

I recently visited a branch of Currys/PC World to make my seemingly monthly purchase of printer ink, and once I'd finished handing over a small fortune for a couple of teardrops of black liquid, I had a potter around the shop floor.

Richard Stevenson  |  Apr 27, 2013  |  0 comments

Of all the half-baked ideas that have come to home cinema over the years, CES 2013 sported perhaps the most ridiculous AV tech yet – the curved-screen TV. This is a case of technology for technology’s sake, because a curved screen for TV viewing is both pointless and completely foils all the good work put into making screens ultra-thin to hang on the wall. Hang a curved screen on the wall and you are going to have some serious wings sticking out, and that’s never a good look.

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