Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's Important At Home?

I'm a bit of a tech lover. I'm not a first-adopter by any means. I'm quite content to let new technology go through a couple cycles to work out the kinks and lower the price before I jump in. But once I commit to adding to my technology hoard, I go for quality and value.

So over time I've built up my home theatre setup. Every time I upgrade something, I'm swept up in the excitement and start running through my movie collection.

My most recent purchase was a 50" plasma beauty. Speaking subjectively, the image produced isn't noticeably better than the 34" widescreen 1080i CRT I had in that place before, and standard-def TV is actually a touch worse at times, but it's bigger, and better-looking.

But the TV has never been what's impressed me the most in a setup - it's the sound.

I've had a 7.1 system for a while, but wasn't able to utilize it properly until early this year when I updated my receiver and added a Blu-ray player. And it was the biggest thing I noticed.

Same with friends who have sat on my couch to watch. They may politely comment on how great the picture looks, but in reality it's a minor step up from an upsampled DVD. No, the big moment is when something happens behind them and the right, or they snap their head to follow whatever the hell just shot across the room, or they feel the floor rumble as something goes boom.

And I can't count the number of times I look behind me to see what's going on in the kitchen during a baseball or hockey game, only to realize it's the guy behind the mic at the stadium clapping.

Yah, it's the audio that sells me on home entertainment. Theatres push their 17 speakers, but I find the surround aspect in a theatre gets lost in the space. At home, it's more intimate, and somehow more real. I'm not about to stop seeing the big sci-fi/action epics on the giant screen, but they hold a whole different appeal at home now.

So what's important to you at home? The big screen? The crisp picture? The solid colours? The sound? Or the fact you can pause to go to the bathroom and then refill your popcorn on the way back?

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