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Home cinema equipment: nine of the best

The wide range of solutions on offer in the home cinema market aim to give the end-user greater control and flexibility, whether it be for physical placement or the ability to adjust device settings to different home environments.

Epson balances 4K enhancement with laser longevity

Epson’s EH-LS10000 laser projector is aimed at home cinema enthusiasts and is its first projector to feature 4K enhancement technology. The 3LCD Reflective technology and dual light source deliver Epson’s widest colour gamut and Absolute Black. By using the cinema filter, it’s possible to achieve DCI and Adobe RGB colour gamuts.

In addition to creating high-quality images, the laser technology also means this 3D model has a light-source life of 30,000 hours in Eco mode, eliminating maintenance. For this model there is also a short power-on time, with projection starting in 20 seconds.

The EH-LS10000 has a 1,500 lumens picture and a high White and Colour Light Output. The 3D mode provided by the 480Hz drive ensures bright 3D images, with the use of laser preventing any crosstalk. Added features for image enhancement include ISF calibration, detail enhancement technology, frame interpolation, and 2D to 3D conversion and depth control. High-speed motion response projects crisp images in fast-moving scenes and the high aperture ratio reduces the screen door effect and maintains a smooth texture.

Optoma brings placement flexibility with short-range solution

The HD90 LED projector is based on the HD91 but the short-throw lens allows people with less space to enjoy a dedicated home cinema: the HD90 can throw a 100in picture onto a screen less than 3m away.

Because LED technology produces less heat, the HD90 requires less cooling and so runs more quietly. The short-throw lens combined with full lens shift (±60% vertical, ±10% horizontal) and 1.9x zoom provide a wide range of placement possibilities. Its weight of only 7kg expands installation options further; it can be installed at any angle on its vertical axis.

Installers can calibrate the picture quality to the physical setting of the room. The projector is equipped with PureColour technology, which works in conjunction with the Colour Management System that offers a choice of five pre-set colour gamuts (Native, Adobe, DLP-C, HDTV and SMPTE-C) and six colour temperatures. It can be connected to an anamorphic lens to play Cinemascope 2.35:1 movies using 1080p resolution.

The HD90 also has consistent brightness and colour reproduction, with minimal degradation over time. The LED and DLP technologies also reduce running costs using 33% less power than conventional light sources, and with no lamp replacements needed. PureMotion4 frame insertion technology gives advanced motion control processing, eliminating motion blur – even during high-speed sequences and in 3D modes.

Angled speaker calibration from Yamaha

The RXA3040 AV receiver is part of the Yamaha AVENTAGE line-up, prioritising the highest possible sound quality and supporting Dolby Atmos.

The receiver can run up to nine separate channels and with the use of a power amp can utilise 11 channels of audio, allowing for a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos configuration. The YPAO-RSC 3D auto speaker calibration allows speakers to be calibrated on both distance from the microphone and angle, so the 3D measurement is accurate.

A feature of the RXA3040 is the advanced web set-up, which allows basic changes to be made through different devices. Users wanting more control can navigate to the advanced set-up, where every parameter of every setting can be changed.

Draper’s TecVision options boost picture quality

TecVision surfaces from Draper have the advantage of being designed specifically for projection, in contrast to those from other companies that manufacture textiles for a number of uses.

As well as targeted manufacturing, TecVision screens offer wider viewing cones for better off-axis viewing, and have lower and more consistent gloss levels for less picture distortion. They also feature carefully formulated light-absorbing dark backing to prevent picture degradation from light behind the screen. There are currently eight TecVision formulations, all certified by the Imaging Science Foundation for colour accuracy, and all 4K ready.

For specific projector needs, custom options are available: these can be designed with adjustments made to viewing cones, contrast and ambient light properties. These adjustments can provide picture quality that would ordinarily only be achieved with additional or brighter projectors.

Tannoy delivers superior audio performance

The DC12i high-performance loudspeaker is the flagship product from Tannoy’s Definition Install range. The cabinet is installable into walls, ceilings, behind screens or placed on traditional speaker stands and wall brackets.

The DC12i is based on a 300mm version of the Definition Install Dual Concentric Driver. The 97dB/W efficiency, 400W programme material power handling and 800W peak power handling allow the speaker to run consistently at 120dB, with short-term peaks over 126dB SPL if required.

The DC12i driver is a full-range unit (50Hz-38kHz) with low distortion and coloration. The Wideband tweeter delivers improved projection and spatial information due to its Tannoy waveguide, and the large mid-bass cone helps communicate nuance and effect.

It has a heavily built and extensively braced cabinet, 255mm deep, with the enclosure and front ports tuned for back-to-wall placement. The textured black paint finish is hardwearing and the cabinet is fitted with four keyhole fittings for landscape or portrait wall mounting.

Vivitek opts for connectivity focus

The Vivitek H1185HD single-chip DLP projector has 1080p native resolution and WUXGA (1920 x 1200 @60Hz) maximum resolution. It delivers 2,500 ANSI lumens of brightness with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. The lamp lifetime is up to 5,000 hours in eco mode and its top-sided lamp cover facilitates convenient lamp replacement. On the audio front, it includes SRS WOW technology, which is said to deliver a cinematic experience with deep, rich bass.

The projector also includes features such as DLP DarkChip3 and BrilliantColor from Texas Instruments, as well as ISF mode for day and night calibration. Connectivity options include HDMI v1.4b, VGA-in, S-video, component and composite. The H1185HD is 3D-ready and can project a diagonal image of 26.2in-329in at distances between 1.2m and 10m, with a 1.5x zoom ratio.

Pioneer adds speakers to Dolby Atmos range

The new Pioneer Dolby Atmos ‘Enabled’ speaker range has been designed specifically for Atmos playback in the home, making Pioneer one of the first manufacturers to offer AV receivers, amplication and a matching speaker package for Atmos. The package includes the S-BS73A-LR (bookshelf model), S-C73A (centre channel), and S-FS73A (floor-standing model) as well as the S-71W subwoofer.

In addition to the traditional front-firing array, the speakers feature an upward-firing drive unit which reflects sound off the ceiling – providing the height information that would otherwise only be obtained by mounting speakers overhead or in the ceiling. The Atmos ‘Enabled’ speakers occupy a footprint similar to that of a typical 5.1 system so can utilise existing cabling. They are also suitable for rented and period properties, or those with vaulted ceilings where ceiling speakers are not an option.

Denon combines 4K upscaling with surround sound capability

The Denon AVR-X4100W receiver features an advanced video section with eight HDMI inputs, including one located on the front panel, and three HDMI outputs. It also has 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video passthrough and upscaling, and is compatible with Pure Color 4:4:4 colour sub-sampling. The video section also features ISFccc advanced video calibration controls.

The audio section features Dolby Atmos surround decoding as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. There’s also DTS Neo:X advanced multichannel decoding, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. The AVR-X4100W is equipped with Audyssey’s Platinum suite of advanced DSP audio algorithms, including the MultEQ XT32 automatic room acoustic measurement and correction system, which can measure at up to eight different locations in the room. Also featured is Audyssey LFC, which uses psychoacoustic algorithms that are designed to maintain bass performance in the listening room while preventing bass from passing through the walls and disturbing the neighbours.

Marantz targets ‘sweet spot’ uniformity

The new SR7009 AV receiver builds on Marantz’s SR7008 model and includes nine 200W amplifier channels. It can handle up to 11.2 channels and fully supports Audyssey DSX, DTS Neo:X 11.1 and Dolby Atmos. Audio quality is achieved by the use of current feedback technology and HDAM preamplification.

Through the use of Audyssey MultEQ XT32/LFC Pro, the SR7009 can offer more accurate speaker calibration to ensure every seat in the room is a ‘sweet spot’ for audio. The receiver also has WiFi and Bluetooth built in, and supports Apple lossless, Gapless, FLAC HD 192/24 and even DSD and AIFF network streaming.

The receiver’s eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs handle most Ultra HD formats.