Hardware Features

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Jamie Carter  |  Jul 27, 2013  |  0 comments

When Universal Studios announced earlier this year that it was to release Schindler’s List on its twentieth anniversary as a special edition Blu-ray, the PR blurb was all about how the 35mm film original negative had been meticulously restored in pristine high-definition. More importantly, Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic was actually scanned to create a 6K master, then downscaled to 4K for the restoration, and down to lowly 2K, or 1080p, for the Blu-ray edition.

Martin Pipe  |  Aug 17, 2017  |  0 comments

One of the tell-tale signs you're a 'home cinema hero' – according to my colleague Steve May – is that you 'still have a LaserDisc player, somewhere...' And, indeed, to AV geeks of a certain vintage, the mere word conjures up cherished memories of that unmistakable whooshing sound as the big and beautiful medium – think CD, enlarged to LP size – was brought up to speed within the sizeable slab of a player.

Steve May  |  Jul 21, 2014  |  0 comments

It’s a curious fact that even the smartest TVs can seem inscrutably dumb. So much so that many buyers fail to even get them online. Even if you’re tech savvy, Smart TVs often seem little more than utilitarian devices. 

Jamie Carter  |  Aug 28, 2015  |  0 comments

Where is your home cinema from? While speakers and even amplifiers designed for discerning domestic theatre owners often come from specialist boutique brands, the centrepieces – the TV screen, the projector and the Blu-ray player – almost always hail from East Asia. Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Epson and Sharp were birthed in Japan, and Korea's LG and Samsung have been busy chipping away at their dominance for the last decade.

Martin Pipe  |  Aug 19, 2013  |  0 comments

The Raspberry Pi is a very cheap computer that's no bigger than a credit card. It's the brainchild of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity devoted to promoting 'back-to-basics' computer science in schools – as opposed to simply teaching the kiddies how to use spreadsheets and design web pages on Windows PCs. What was needed, reckoned the Raspberry Pi gang, was an affordable computer that could encourage children to experiment with programming and electronics – the sort of thing that went on during the home computer boom of the 1980s and gave birth to a generation of entrepreneurs.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 29, 2013  |  0 comments

It may have taken several years to reach these shores, but subscription-based streaming service Netflix clearly hit the ground running when it made its UK debut in 2012, racking up more than a million customers in its first month of operation.

Steve May  |  Jul 14, 2013  |  0 comments

Pretty much every new bit of home entertainment kit you’ll buy these days is networkable. It’s the way of things. Whether for cloud content access, Catch-up TV and YouTube streaming, online gaming or local network playback from a PC or NAS, cutting-edge products expect to be networked.

Steve May  |  Feb 01, 2015  |  0 comments

We’ve been harping on about 4K content ever since 2160p panels first broke cover, and now it seems 8m-pixel movies, in the shape of a UHD upgrade to the Blu-ray standard, are in sight. While the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) continues to play some cards close to its chest, it’s confirmed a pre-Xmas 2015 debut for 4K Blu-ray has been scheduled.

Steve May  |  Oct 04, 2013  |  0 comments

Right. I’m hearing an awful lot about 4K, but why should I be excited?

Steve May  |  Jun 22, 2012  |  0 comments

The wind of change is blowing through the corridors of Sony’s Home Entertainment division. Rocked by earthquake and tsunami, battered by exchange rates and economic meltdown, wounded by inconsistent products, the world’s most iconic consumer electronics brand is going back to basics in an effort to re-energise its ailing TV business.

Team HCC  |  Aug 19, 2012  |  0 comments
£1,000 2D System – built by Mark Craven

Remarkably, putting together a home cinema system for just £1,000 can be achieved. It won’t represent the cutting-edge in AV, and you’ll struggle if you want 3D, but you can get lossless 5.1 audio, Full HD visuals and more goodies if you spend time shopping around.

Martin Dew  |  Oct 06, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 05, 2018  |  0 comments
Having spread its wings into home cinema and VR, and astonished moviegoers with last Summer's Dunkirk, IMAX is on a roll. We quiz IMAX CTO Brian Bonnick about the development of its laser projection system, 12-channel audio and the IMAX 'DNA'...
Steve May  |  Sep 11, 2015  |  0 comments
Revealed: The golden rules of home cinema - and when it's okay to break them
Adam Rayner  |  Aug 10, 2013  |  0 comments

It all started with a disastrous screening at my local multiplex cinema, where I eventually had to complain about stifling heat, 3D trailers in a no-glasses 2D showing and a baffling system of seat allocation. And when the complaint yielded a grunted response, I began looking for another cinema for my business – and discovered that my local Odeon in Uxbridge had a new IMAX screen.

Mark Craven  |  Feb 19, 2013  |  0 comments
We regularly see Kaleidescape setups in professional cinema installs. Premium movie player/server combis, they're priced beyond the aspirations of the thriftier home theatre enthusiasts, who are more likely to make do with a combination of NAS drive, media player software and massive jumble of metadata mess. Yet part of the appeal of Kaleidescape, beyond its sophisticated-looking hardware, is the super-slick user interface, idiot-proof usability, and its Movie Guide database. The latter stores info on literally hundreds of thousands of titles so that whatever disc an owner adds to their system, the necessary metadata appears. Kaleidescape claims it's unique. We spoke to Simon Diplock, from Kaleidescape UK, about what makes it tick.   'A typical day in Movie Guide requires skill and agility,' jokes Diplock. 'Leaping over boxes while balancing a tower of discs in one hand and a remote control in the other is not something just anyone can do.' More seriously, Diplock admits that his days aren't just spent watching films. 'The job requires more than you would imagine. Every day, DVDs, CDs and Blu-ray discs are delivered to each of our offices for special processing. And there, the journey of the disc begins.'   'While the disc imports, we gather up all the crucial metadata about the film: who’s in it, who directed it, which year was it released, which studio made it, what is its rating, how long it is. All of this goes into Kaleidescape’s proprietary database.   'After typing all this out, Movie Guide artistry comes to life. What’s the movie about? Can you type that in 25 words or less and make it snappy and interesting? We write a short synopsis of each film that does just that.'   This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Once the cover art has been scanned in, Kaleidescape prepares to 'slice and dice' the disc.   Eh? Diplock explains.'The start and end points of the film are marked so that any custom controls programmed by the installer who fits the system will sync with the movie, like lights fading in time with the credits and popcorn popping from the nearby machine when the homeowner presses play, etc. The aspect ratio and borders of the film are also