When it comes to boys' toys and homes, it doesn't get bigger than the home theatre system. Movies are integral to our relaxing rituals, bonding games and impressing dates; it can only get better in the luxury of your own castle, your favourite beverage in hand and some finger-licking take-away on speed dial.
While some of us gifted with an inner-geek are able to figure out every minute detail of our future home theatre systems, most of us need a little help. But fear not. The new generation options are easy to install and use — you shouldn't need an in-house technician. The technology has advanced so much that the surety of a great A/V solution far outweighs any difference in output quality an A/V elite might hold against the all-in-one home theatre systems. Add to it the name-dropping quotient that comes with a well-chosen integrated system and you have the perfect conversation starter for the dullest of evenings, that is, until you press play.
Panasonic's SC-BT230 is an affordable home theatre system that delivers a punch, with some innovative technology packed into its neatly designed body.
The cinema surround-sound system is its most impressive feature. The use of a combination of real and virtual speakers ensures good sound quality. You'll notice the difference, especially in action scenes.
The sound is further enhanced by a funky new speaker technology that uses bamboo cones. Apparently, using bamboo for the speaker cones makes for a sound that's more natural and responsive, especially when it comes to dialogue. If that's not enough, the Wi-Fi ready Viera Cast feature allows you to tune into your broadband internet service to enjoy YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, Netflix and the like on the big screen - no computer needed. Want more? It also comes with a universal dock for your iPod so you can go from The Fighter to Jay-Z in a split second.
Considering how many 3D movies were released in 2010, it was only a matter of time before the technology reached our doorstep. One can argue that 3D is just a fad, that it gives you headaches and it really doesn't enhance the movie experience. But seeing Avatar in 3D is a game changer when it comes to the movie viewing experience and the Sony BDV-E770W brings it into our living rooms. Sure, it comes with a hefty price tag, but with a full HD 1080p resolution for your 3D Blu-ray formats and a 5.1 channel HD surround sound, it's worth saving for. It also supports standard Blu-Ray discs in HD and upscales DVDs to near HD quality.
Wireless rear speakers ensure your home is not a web of cables. The Bravia internet video system minimises movie wait times so you can begin watching faster than ever; wirelessly streams Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Slacker, YouTube and more, and also lets you access music, photos and home videos via USB slots.
Trendsetting Bose's new VideoWave Entertainment System gives a fresh makeover to the home theatre concept, with not a single speaker in sight. The VideoWave system merges sound and picture like never before, delivering cinematic performance from invisible speakers built into a 46" HD display! Imagine 1080p HD picture quality and Bose Sound together and add the convenience of zero cable management - what's not to love? The ADAPTiQ audio calibration system recognises room size, shape, even furniture, and automatically adjusts the sound. Everything - from your Blu-Ray player, cable box, video game system, iPod - connects to one console, which can be hidden away. And everything is controlled by a single remote.
Harman Kardon is a brand of which even the pickiest of A/V-philes would approve. Commitment to the cause of a great audio-visual experience not only makes for great products, but also a superbly informed sales staff who will patiently answer your questions and help you choose a system to meet your every demand. The latest top-of-the-line offering, the HKTS60, continues in the tradition of Harman Kardon greats with its 5.1 channel speaker package taking movies a step closer to reality.
Its dual panel midrange drivers in the satellite and centre speakers are designed to reduce distortion and unwanted reflections so even Jeff Bridges muttering under his breath in True Grit is audible now. While the 200-watt subwoofer is potent enough to feel like you're in a prime seat at your favourite concert, it's compact enough to stay out of your way. As the built-in music trigger system senses an audio input, the subwoofer goes from standby mode to ‘on' and makes its presence felt, loud and clear.
Even their latest entry-level solution, the HS 210, is designed to give you the maximum bass for your buck with its HDMI output, Dolby Virtual Speaker technology and Ethernet network connection for playback of audio, video and image files from networked devices. An integrated, high-resolution intuitive on-screen user interface will play your audio files simultaneously with HD images and programmed playlists, while shuffle and repeat options will make for a seamless evening of entertainment.