Opinion

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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.

Anton van Beek  |  May 02, 2018  |  0 comments

When it comes to movie soundtracks, it's often assumed that home cinema fans like them as loud and brash as they can be. After all, unlike friends and family members who are content listening to films through the piddly drivers crammed into their flatscreen TVs, we've actually gone to the effort of filling our living room or movie den with honking great speakers. So it only stands to reason that we'll be cranking them to the max. Doesn't it?

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.

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.

Mark Craven  |  Oct 09, 2018  |  0 comments
Those with an interest in film criticism, and movie history in general, will find a lot to enjoy in new book The Times On Cinema. Edited by Brian Pendreigh, it collects nearly 100 years of cinema writing from both The Times and Sunday Times newspapers, and I've found it utterly fascinating.
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.

Jon Thompson  |  Sep 19, 2016  |  0 comments

Earlier this year, the topic of dialogue intelligibility raised its head once again, this time around the blockbuster Warner Bros flick Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some people were complaining that they couldn't hear the dialogue, yet Hans Zimmer, the soundtrack composer, blamed cinema loudspeakers, affronted by the suggestion that his pounding score made the chatter in the latest superhero match-up inaudible. 

Steve May  |  Aug 01, 2017  |  0 comments
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…

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.

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.

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.

Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 26, 2012  |  0 comments

I was propping up a bar after a conference earlier this month and found myself speaking to a man who referred to himself as ‘a banker’. We live a public space that makes bankers about as popular as Die Hard’s John McClane wearing that sandwich-board sign on the streets of Harlem, so fair play to his admission. However, on enquiring about my line of work he noted that I must be worried because ‘that niche end of the electronics market is a dinosaur dying on its arse’.

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.

Richard Stevenson  |  Apr 24, 2012  |  0 comments

I have been pondering the high-end of AV recently, mostly why I can’t afford it, of course. But events have made me wonder at precisely what price reality ends and opulent lunacy begins. I have a horrible feeling it is about a tenner.

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