Nine things that make you a home cinema hero!

You have an eagle-eye for frame interpolation and retain your retro hardware. That, and more, makes you a winner in the world of AV... 1. Only you can work your system

The additional power amp. The Darbee Darblet. The trio of media players, all necessary to cover esoteric file formats. Over the years you’ve assembled a home cinema of such fearsome complexity that successful operation is beyond the talents of mere mortals (or other family members, basically). Of course, it doesn’t help that you insist on still using seven individual remotes, and haven’t bothered to relabel the HDMI inputs on your AVR – but that’s only an issue when you’re not around to cue up a Blu-ray. Which hardly ever happens, as you’re in your cinema room every day…

2. If you go out to the cinema, you have a favourite screen

You love the movies, but the stress of finding yourself in an unfamiliar theatre, with bad lighting, uncomfortable seats and poor presentation can really take the edge off the latest blockbuster. That’s why you insist on patronising a specific cinema or multiplex screen – and even have your own favourite row and seat to boot. Woe betides anyone that parks their unworthy carcass in your sonically optimum chair, or denies you the perfect eyeball-to-screen viewing distance. And once ensconced you’re going to sit in that seat until hell freezes over (or the house lights go up), even when you know there’s no post-credits sequence imminent.

3. There are unwrapped Blu-rays on your disc shelf…

Live. Buy. Repeat. It’s a curious fact that all those DVDs you bought that never left their cellophane wrappers are now being joined in your library by the very same movies on Blu-ray and UHD disc – and they’re just as unwrapped. You should be concerned, but you’re not. At some point you'll open and play these pristine prizes – it’s just a matter of time – and they look lovely sitting there anyway. In fact, your only regret is that you don’t also have unwrapped VHS tapes and LaserDiscs to complete the collection – pre-BBFC certification tapes now command a fortune on the collectors' market, and LDs are far too pretty to sell.

4. …and your disc collection has an order that only you know

Really, what’s the fuss? It obviously makes perfect sense to stack The Magnificent Seven alongside Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and your imported boxset of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr beside multiple copies of The Evil Dead and its sequels. After all, how else would you find the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy? All offers to re-arrange your discs in alphabetical order are politely declined (this despite your habit of grouping all Japanese anime together as if under ‘A’), and you positively refuse to explain why all new titles are routinely quarantined in a stack by the Blu-ray player for a minimum of four months. 

5. You still have a LaserDisc player. Somewhere

True home cinema enthusiasts never throw any hardware out, ever – and one day you’ll rescue your LD spinner from the back of the loft for some old-school AV thrills, if it's not still in your kit rack. There are many reasons why you cherish it, but probably numero uno is the fact that your giant Star Wars LaserDisc THX boxset remains the best version available of the original Star Wars trilogy before George Lucas decided to doctor them with shonky digital effects. That and the fact those early Dolby Digital 5.1 LaserDisc soundtracks still sound inexplicably better than the majority of their DVD and Blu-ray counterparts.

6. You can immediately tell when someone else has fiddled with your TV’s settings

It’s uncanny, but you instinctively know when someone has been messing around in your TV's menus. Your seasoned peepers can spot ghastly frame interpolation a mile off. With its soap opera-effect sheen, high frame rate processing makes even the world’s most expensive blockbusters look like they originated on DV tape. Some might admire the superficial sharpness, but purists know better – particularly when it introduces motion artefacts that can be spotted from outer space. You also have the finely-honed ability to identify all your set’s picture modes without recourse to the preset menu – but no one is actually impressed with this party trick.

7. You’re the AV expert for friends and family 

It’s a role you embrace with quiet joy. From sorting out basic system hookups ('You really shouldn’t still be using a Scart lead…' to 'No, you really should turn off HDMI CEC control on principle') to setting up wireless multiroom audio systems, you’re the guru everyone goes to when they need some assistance getting their home entertainment hardware to function. It’s a thankless role, typically repaid only in tea and biscuits, but job satisfaction is high. And you know it won't be long before you’re called on to fix HDR connection issues, but you’re confident that you’ll have worked out just how to do that before the rest of the world comes knocking on your door for HDCP 2.2 aid.

8. You once spent a whole day testing subwoofer placement and EQ

Well, someone has to. But what’s not to like about experimenting with room boundaries and DIY bass traps in pursuit of luxurious LFE? One of your favourite tricks is to park your subwoofer at the listening position and than crawl around the room to hear where it sounds best (you then move the sub to that position and reclaim your recliner). This best location is hardly ever convenient, and it’s a bit embarrassing when someone catches you in the act, but the price is worth paying.

9. Your movie den has a prime seat – and it’s yours

You may have calibrated your AV receiver for all the seats in your viewing room –  Audyssey’s popular MultEQ XT32 room equaliser will measure and aggregate up to eight listening positions – but you know there’s an ultra-sweet sweet spot where everything is just a little more honed. That’s your throne and there’s a calibrated posterior dent in it to prove ownership. It’s from here that surround sound really engulfs, where the best bass slam impacts like a T-Rex footfall and where nothing distracting is reflected in the bigscreen. The challenge is not to let anyone else cotton on to the fact…


Disc library image with thanks from HCC reader Matt Bridger
LaserDisc Image by Nichtvermittelbar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons