Hardware Features

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Steve May  |  Oct 24, 2013  |  0 comments

Apple's iPad Air is the must-have gadget of the moment, available from November 1 with a price tag of £399 for the 16GB version. Yet there are plenty of other great things you can spend that sort of money on. Not got the following? Then hold off on that pre-order…

Mark Craven  |  Jul 17, 2014  |  0 comments

From a lack of legroom to unforgiving upholstery, we’ve all had a movie experience affected by an uncomfortable seat. At your local cinema this is just about sufferable, but in your own room it shouldn't be tolerated – spending thousands of pounds on AV hardware and software but ignoring where you park your fundament is home cinema heresy. The good news is that there are numerous options available, suited to most budgets and tastes, so before you start saving for a 4K projector, perhaps it's time for a seating upgrade...

Mark Craven  |  Aug 03, 2013  |  0 comments

Hi-def disc-spinners have become smaller, smarter and cheaper, making them great for adding to second-room screens. Mark Craven auditions a trio of big-brand offerings…

Mark Craven  |  Apr 24, 2017  |  0 comments

In an issue of HCC five years ago, we tasked Steve May with imagining what technology and concepts would be making a name for themselves in home AV in 2017. Ultra HD and OLED were naturally tipped to develop. That Dolby Atmos wasn’t even mentioned, though, is testament to just how quickly the object-based audio format has found favour in our living rooms and picture palaces. At the beginning of 2012, Dolby Atmos didn’t exist.

Martin Dew  |  Feb 22, 2016  |  0 comments

Once again, film fans find themselves in the midst of an audio format war. Long-time rivals Dolby and DTS are slugging it out in both commercial theatres and home cinemas with new object-based sound systems. Dolby's Atmos format matured first, launching at multiplexes in 2012 and in home setups two years later. Now, though, DTS:X is hoping to steal its thunder.

John Archer  |  Dec 04, 2015  |  0 comments

Can it really be five years since a TV and movie industry desperate to find the next big tech temptation set out to entice us and our traditionally 2D AV brains into the third dimension? 'Fraid so.In fact, it’s a bit longer than that if you take the 2009 launch of Avatar as your 3D starting gun. At HCC, however, it was the Summer of 2010 when the format became a going concern, marked by the arrival in the UK of the first 3D TV sets.

Steve May  |  Jan 25, 2013  |  0 comments

2013 is fast shaping up to be the year of eight million pixels. Full HD, now ubiquitous on TVs at every price point and served up by more than 60 channels, finally has something to look up to. 4K resolution displays, built for those with really deep pockets, are finally becoming a reality. January’s International CES was a galvanising launch pad for these next-generation screens.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 11, 2017  |  0 comments

For historical reasons, Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire has an extraordinary number of audio manufacturers in close company to one another. One of the leading lights of this cluster is Meridian Audio. Founded in 1977, it has gone about the business of product development in a fashion that's paid little heed to the trends and traditions that might be doing the rounds elsewhere.

Steve May  |  Jun 02, 2013  |  0 comments

Home cinema is changing. Sure, screens are getting larger and more pixel-packed, and there’s a plethora of streaming options available – both in terms of content and hardware – but there’s also evolution happening at a more fundamental level, and it has the potential to change everything. Called HDBaseT, it represents an entirely new way of moving sound, vision and data around your house. But, of course, there’s more to it than that...

Ed Selley  |  Jun 25, 2013  |  0 comments

In a perfect world, there would be no need for us to employ headphones for AV use. Children would sleep through anything, your partner would be just as keen on the same films watched at the same volume as you, and you’d be separated from your neighbour by a bit of open space – Lincolnshire, for example. Sadly, this utopian vision of home entertainment is just that, and a good pair of headphones can allow you to keep using your system when speakers aren’t suitable.

Steve May  |  Nov 02, 2013  |  0 comments

Light and cinema have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Without the former, our flickering home theatres would be little more than gloomy sheds with extravagantly comfortable seating. A well-designed lighting system can really help deliver that 'wow factor' that we want our cinema setups to provide – especially if you want the room to rock even when you're not watching a movie.

Barry Fox  |  Apr 19, 2016  |  0 comments

We’ve all been there. Grovelled around the back of an AV system looking for the plug that needs jiggling in its socket to restore a mysteriously lost connection. We’ve trodden on a plug, and broken it, and so made an expensive cable useless; or broken the little plastic lock leaf on the RJ45 plug at the end of a carefully-laid Ethernet network cable. Worse still, we’ve tripped over a lead, wrenched the plug and broken the socket in a pricey piece of gear. And how many smartphones and tablets have been wrecked by someone pushing the USB connector home the wrong way round? What a wonderful world it would be if connections no long relied on plugs.

Jamie Carter  |  Jul 27, 2013  |  0 comments

When Universal Studios announced earlier this year that it was to release Schindler’s List on its twentieth anniversary as a special edition Blu-ray, the PR blurb was all about how the 35mm film original negative had been meticulously restored in pristine high-definition. More importantly, Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic was actually scanned to create a 6K master, then downscaled to 4K for the restoration, and down to lowly 2K, or 1080p, for the Blu-ray edition.

Martin Pipe  |  Aug 17, 2017  |  0 comments

One of the tell-tale signs you're a 'home cinema hero' – according to my colleague Steve May – is that you 'still have a LaserDisc player, somewhere...' And, indeed, to AV geeks of a certain vintage, the mere word conjures up cherished memories of that unmistakable whooshing sound as the big and beautiful medium – think CD, enlarged to LP size – was brought up to speed within the sizeable slab of a player.

Steve May  |  Jul 21, 2014  |  0 comments

It’s a curious fact that even the smartest TVs can seem inscrutably dumb. So much so that many buyers fail to even get them online. Even if you’re tech savvy, Smart TVs often seem little more than utilitarian devices. 

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