Opinion

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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.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 15, 2014  |  0 comments

Towards the end of 2013 the Library of Congress released a new study by film historian and archivist David Pierce, exploring the survival rate of silent films made in the United States between 1912 and 1929. It made for extremely bleak reading. 

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.

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