Home theatre systems have been around since forever. Remember flipping a laser disc for side B? Perhaps you recall sitting on your sofa listening to the difference between Surround and Pro Logic. Of course home theatres have evolved much since then. With amazing sound from DTS receivers and realer-than-real picture quality, their popularity has been on a continual increase. Many of us here at Atlas actually prefer watching movies at home. No queues. No noisy over-talkers. My own comfy seat. Pause when you need a break. Plenty of plusses. And recently, lots of very compelling improvements that make the home movie watching experience so much more enjoyable.
In time for Lunar New Year, we bring you the best new possibilities in home theatre, allowing you to greet that monkey with the biggest bang.
Put All The Pieces Together
Once upon a time, in a living room not so far away, one had to run a galaxy-length of cables to connect devices; juggle a table-full of remotes to maintain control; and learn encyclopaedic knowledge to make sure they all played well together.
Thankfully the best improvement to home theater systems is unification. The smartest of systems allow you to pull all your devices together. Each of them connected to the system’s head unit. You run one (yes, one) HDMI cable to the TV screen.
Bose Lifestyle Series
Take the Bose® Lifestyle Series as an example. Most of the units in the range can take up to 6 HD sources. It has smarts built in, so it walks you through the process of connecting all your devices. Got a Playstation or a new Xbox One? Plug it in. An Apple TV or a Roku? Straight in. Cable set-top box? It works just as well. The Lifestyle series will show you the best input to use for each source and give you visual and audible confirmation that the connection is good to go. This is the best part: the Lifestyle system will learn the commands of your other remote controllers. The Bose® RF controller can be made to speak TV, BluRay, DVD, and perhaps even long lost language of VHS. Now you have one controller to rule them all.
The Sound-Space Balance
Home theatres are set up for escape. You know, to allow the movie or the music to take you away. To be somewhere else. However, in the quest of escapism, a room can be easily filled with large, space-stealing speakers. You might even find that you are held hostage by required speaker placement or tripped-up by how long a cable can reach.
Jewel Cubes and Acoustimass
Not anymore. Advancements in speaker and amplifier design have given way to smaller footprints and larger sound-stage. While the addition of wireless capabilities have allowed for cables have been cut. Smaller and less obtrusive speakers, such as Bose’s award winning Jewel Cube speakers, are designed to be more efficient—not just with the use of space, but also with sound reproduction. They tuck away nicely while producing a full range of sound. We’re talking clarity once only associated with obtrusively large speakers. Coupled with a wireless Acoustimass module (yes, you can place this unit anywhere, like under the couch) it brings big movie explosions with very small, almost invisible, units.
Still want less speakers? Have a look at soundbars. The sound that they produce is not flimsy illusion. The technology they use has grown up and the new generation of soundbars deliver enveloping full sound from one very easy to place unit. The better systems, like the Lifestyle® SoundTouch® 135 Home Entertainment System, learn the acoustic dynamics of your room. You always get great sound, with much less clutter.
End result: you really get to space out and escape.
The State of Being Wireless
Everyone agrees that we all need less wires in our lives. The new generation of home theatre systems are capable of connecting to your WiFi network to wirelessly stream audio from various sources such as Pandora, Spotify Deezer or Apple Music, even from your collection of ultra high-res FLAC music files living on your NAS.
Bose® SoundTouch and Bluetooth Connectivity
Now, you might say that you’ve got this huge collection of CDs. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you explored your CD collection? Sure, we all have a hoard of music, but the nature of disc-bound media is such that we rarely ever delve deeper than a few discs in common rotation. The truth is streaming music really increases the amount of music you actually listen to. Take it from a music junkie: wireless music streaming has opened up a world of music discovery and rediscovery that was once too convoluted to enjoy.
By the way, let’s not forget the now-ubiquitous Bluetooth. Every phone has it. And everyone’s phone has a very personal collection of music waiting to played. Selected units of Bose® Lifestyle range have SoundTouch and Bluetooth built in. With those two bits of tech, you can get your home theatre to do all that we mentioned (and more) without wires.
New Resolutions (of the TV Kind)
What’s a theatre without it’s screen? A dark black box, I suppose. No one wants to sit in a dull box. The new breed of TV screens are anything but. Some of the biggest improvements in home theatre experience has happened in the screen department.
Full High Definition 1080p (1920x1080 pixels) is par for current home theatre systems. However, you should begin looking at 4K resolution screens. 4K Ultra High Definition has 3840x2160 pixels. That is 4 times more pixels than 1080p. Does it make a difference? Oh yeah. 4K is a significant jump in detail and clarity. It really means that you can get close to your screen without the image breaking up. Think sharp phone screens (like Apple’s Retina display) which you can view closely without seeing individual pixels. 4K resolution does that for your home theatre screen. Now we’re talking immersive.
Loewe Art and Connect Series TVs
For a resolution upgrade, consider looking at the new range of Loewe TVs .They all deliver 4K. They all have intelligent sound engineering. They all cleverly and beautifully upscale content. All in a package so stunning you’ll be looking at it even when its off.
Jump Into the Big World of Streaming Video
We talked about the benefits of streaming music earlier. Well, the advent of Netflix streaming in Singapore brings the same convenience to home theatre viewing. The streaming service offers users a humongous library (no, really, it’s massive) of TV shows and movie titles on demand for a flat monthly fee.
Streaming content relieves us of the cumbersome characteristics of physical media (think scratched DVDs, or BluRays that just won’t play, or storage issues). We have a large collection of discs that never see the light of day. They were purchased with all intention of being watched, but we just never got around to doing so. With Netflix we regularly discover new shows and get entertainment easier. In fact, the most common problem we face is choice. There’s just too much content to choose from. We end up spending about 15 minutes just trying to decide what to watch.
It really is timely that we’ve got a New Year holiday coming up. It’s a good time to introduce your home to the wonders of Netflix. With many movies and original content, like the excellent Daredevil and Jessica Jones series, available in 4K UltraHD and 5.1 surround, it's perfect for putting new home theatre tech through its paces.
Now It’s Your Turn
Got a cool home theatre setup? Share it with us in the comments below. We’d love to see what you’ve got rumbling in your home.
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