Opinion

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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.

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.

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