Opinion

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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.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 12, 2013  |  0 comments

When my Blu-ray player developed a terminal fault a few months ago I saw it as the perfect excuse to finally take the plunge and invest in a modified deck. You see, while I've always owned a multi-region DVD player (a necessity thanks to the enormous number of Region 1 discs in my existing collection), until then I'd held off on going down the same route with Blu-ray.

Richard Stevenson  |  Dec 29, 2012  |  0 comments

The end of the world (of home cinema) is nigh. I have seen the omens and portents, and the shape of the beast is that of a toaster. To be precise, it’s a toaster that carries a database of bread products and, buoyed with a knowledge of all things baked, will serve up perfectly browned toasted products whether you pop-in a frozen bagel or a slice of Hovis. And it’s networked to ensure an up-to-date repository of bready knowledge, and to keep its firmware at the cutting edge of, er, toasting technology.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Back in February I finally took the plunge and became the proud owner of a 3DTV. Well, I say that. What I actually mean is that I became the proud owner of a shiny new 50in plasma TV that I knew would make my Blu-ray collection look sensational. The fact that it also offered 3D functionality was little more than an afterthought – although I was aware this would enable me to review 3D Blu-ray titles for Home Cinema Choice magazine, rather than having to palm them off on other, 3D-enabled, members of the team, or making use of whatever stereoscopic TV was kicking around the office [not literally - Ed] waiting to be auditioned.

Richard Stevenson  |  Oct 09, 2012  |  0 comments

It’s recently come to light that the buying public don’t like 3DTV, don’t connect their Smart TVs to the internet and 89 per cent of them are actually stone deaf. Now, a quick straw poll around the HCC office would suggest these figures are a little off the mark, but you can’t argue with the research. After all, these surveys of consumer behaviour form the basis on which TV manufacturers develop new products and new features for the year ahead. My email inbox is positively awash with survey results at the moment, and one guaranteed conclusion of this research is that 100 per cent of grumpy old AV columnists will get incensed.

Mark Craven  |  Sep 24, 2012  |  0 comments

Forget LG and its OLED screen, forget Toshiba and its glasses-free 3D TV, forget Samsung and its Smart fixation – the most exciting development in the TV market at the moment is from Sharp. Strange, but true.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 22, 2012  |  0 comments

What’s in a name? As Juliet states in Shakespeare’s best-known play, ‘That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet’. Indeed it would. But when it comes to cinema it’s a whole different board game – something I believe was ably demonstrated earlier this year by the performance of Disney’s sci-fi epic John Carter.

Richard Stevenson  |  Sep 08, 2012  |  0 comments

I don’t normally shout at the TV, and if I do it’s only to encourage proponents of major sporting events, such as Foxy Boxing. It’s rarely an outburst at the factual information programme BBC News at Ten. But on the launch day of the BBC’s most forward-thinking initiative since iPlayer, the online arts platform The Space, I found myself in tooth-spitting form.

Mark Craven  |  Aug 26, 2012  |  0 comments

If you had an empty space in your house – perhaps a basement or a loft, or even an unused garage – and you wanted to convert it into a home cinema, what route would you take? Would you break out the toolbox, roll up your shirt-sleeves and do it yourself, or call in a professional installer?

Richard Stevenson  |  Aug 18, 2012  |  0 comments

I am always amused when people tell me that their ears and eyes would not be good enough to do my job as a reviewer. They are convinced that they wouldn’t hear the difference between two pairs of speakers, or see the variation in picture quality from one HD screen to another. While I am the first to highlight my 24-carat golden ears and eagle-eyed vision to anyone requiring AV equipment testing, the reality is a little different. My physical sensory faculties are really no better than most other normal healthy people, although in terms of reviewing hours they have been round the block a bit.

Mark Craven  |  Aug 05, 2012  |  0 comments

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece for HCC about how much I loved my AV receiver. But I’ve now realised there’s something I love even more – my Sony PlayStation 3.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jul 21, 2012  |  0 comments

Great. I have spent the last 20 years building and writing about state-of-the-art home cinema and we get a renaissance in black-and-white silent movies!

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 17, 2012  |  0 comments

There’s no two ways about it, 2010 will be remembered as a vintage year for modern cinema. Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone, The Social Network, Inception, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Kick-Ass, Piranha 3D, The Illusionist, Buried, Mother and Easy A all broke cover at the UK box office that year, while the likes of True Grit and Black Swan were making a late bow in the US, ready to leap across the Atlantic in the New Year.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 26, 2012  |  0 comments

I was propping up a bar after a conference earlier this month and found myself speaking to a man who referred to himself as ‘a banker’. We live a public space that makes bankers about as popular as Die Hard’s John McClane wearing that sandwich-board sign on the streets of Harlem, so fair play to his admission. However, on enquiring about my line of work he noted that I must be worried because ‘that niche end of the electronics market is a dinosaur dying on its arse’.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 29, 2012  |  0 comments

My home cinema system is just not looking good enough these days. Despite deploying the very latest hardware, mostly by not answering the phone when makers want their review samples back, its image is less impressive than it was some 10 years ago.

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