Off Topic:Home cinema

Michael Smarsz Michael.Smarsz at
Mon Jul 29 09:05:11 EST 2002

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Matthews

>But how much of this cost is brand name, and 
>how much of it is quality? Anyone got any good
>recommendations or advice?

OK, there are a few things that can make a purchase more worthwhile...

TV - Look solely at the picture quality!  There are a few of the cheaper
manufacturers who use a better known branded tube (Orion for example use
a Philips tube, which is really quite good for the $$).  Forget buying a
stereo tv, you will do your movie watching through your surround setup
so if you can save buying a stereo tuner (use the stereo tuner from your
VCR) you can either put the money towards a larger/better tube or
towards a better amp/speaker combo.

TV Widescreen - How much movie watching do you do compared with TV
watching?  For the cost of a widescreen TV, you can typically go up in
tube size to compensate.  This will provide a much bigger TV screen and
a widescreen display area almost the same as the 16:9 tube.  Also of
note in this area is that most movies now are coming out in 2.35:1
(aprox 21:9) aspect ratio, which will still leave the black bars on a
16:9 tube.

TV Inputs - At the minimum, must have a S-VHS connector (at least one,
preferably two, on the back).  I'd expect that component video
connectors are still out of the "average" buyers market.

Surround - I would tend to warn people away from the complete packs (a
la Sony micro all-in-one jobs).  The speakers tend to only be 3 ohm
(can't upgrade to "normal" speakers at 8 ohms), the dvd is integrated
into the amp (meaning you can't upgrade one without the other).

DVD - Again, picture quality is where it counts.  More than likely, you
will be using a digital connection (optical/coax) for sound, so the
processing is all done in the amp.  I can't think of any exeptionally
difficult scenes in movies for players - check skin tones, gradiants
(sky from light to dark blue), bright flashes and darkest darks
typically (oh, and preferably, watch this on the TV you intend to buy).

If you are looking at using a PC thourhg the TV also (HTPC's as they are
known as now), a tube with more lines will make quite a difference...
also check that your vid card can produce a widescreen output.

You'll likely find a lot more information at or
by going to some of the more reputable outlets (Miranda HiFi, Millenium
AV etc).


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