Opinion

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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.

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.

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