Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sony HT-RT5

Sony HT-RT5

Sony reimagines a home-theatre-in-a-box system for the 2010s

The idea of a soundbar accompanied by surround speakers and a subwoofer is a bit of an odd one. The huge success of soundbars has been based on people's distaste for multiple boxes – those who fell out of love with all-in-one systems. Now the clutter is piling up again. I, for one, couldn't be happier.

Sony's £500 RT5 system imitates last year's Philips Fidelio B5 by offering not just a soundbar and subwoofer, but surround speakers too. Yet while Philips chose to have the surrounds battery-powered (charged by attachment to the main 'bar), Sony's additional cabinets plug into your mains. Okay, so this means they aren't technically wireless, but the important thing to consider here is that there's no speaker cable to feed around skirting boards or under rugs.

BenQ W2000

BenQ W2000

BenQ’s new projector has a remarkable feature set considering its £800 price, and wants to save you time when it comes to image adjustment

While a growing number of today’s so-called home entertainment projectors are actually presentation PJs masquerading as movie machines, the BenQ W2000 is the real home cinema McCoy – despite its attractive £800 ticket.

Its living room rather than board room credentials are clear as soon as you look at it. Yes, it’s slightly larger than many projectors in its price bracket, but it's more attractively shaped than most business models and even features a bit of bling in the form of a gold front panel that sits nicely – if a tad ostentatiously – against the glossy white of the unit's other edges.

JVC DLA-X5000: Faux 4K filmshow


JVC's corporate assimilation into Kenwood may have put product development on hold for a year or two, but now the brand is back with the DLA-X5000, yet another upgrade to what is proving to be a surprisingly intransigent projector design.

This is the latest D-ILA beamer to assume entry-level mantle, but at £4,000 it’s priced dramatically higher than the majority of rival 1080p products. Admittedly, it embraces 4K e-shift4 sleight-of-hand and trendy image processing, but that widening gulf will require some hefty justification by many potential buyers.

Q Acoustics Concept 5.1 Cinema Pack: Brit Concept aims high

Q Acoustics Concept 5.1 Cinema Pack

From a late start (2006), Q Acoustics has become one of the major players in affordable loudspeakers. Its policy of using relatively conventional materials in well thought-out speaker designs has earned a lorry-load of awards and a large fanbase. But it's not content to focus only on the budget category...

On test here is the company's new Concept series in a 5.1 guise. This is Q Acoustics' flagship product. Although if you think that 'fl agship' equates to rare metal drivers and designer cabinets, think again.

Arcam AVR850: Seizing the crown

Arcam AVR850: Seizing the crown

Jon Thompson believes Arcam plus Dirac Live EQ is a match made in Dolby Atmos heaven

The home cinema industry has been in something of a rut since the financial meltdown of 2007, with gaping holes where much of the high-end market used to be. But Arcam's latest integrated AV receiver has me thinking we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

This relatively small English company, famous for its hi-fi equipment, threw itself back into AV in a big way with the AVP950 (processor) and AVR750 (receiver) a couple of years ago – both very solid-sounding devices, top-notch in their price bands. It then launched the well-respected UDP411 Blu-ray player, and follows it with the AVR850 on test here. And this is no mere upgrade on the AVR750 – it's a different beast altogether. And Dolby Atmos is partly responsible.

Hisense 65XT910: High hopes for 'ULED' debut

Hisense 65XT910: High hopes for 'ULED' debut

This range-topping TV from Hisense comes loaded with tech. Will it turn heads?

In this pixel-packed world, it seems prosaic labels for new TV technologies just aren’t enough. We demand suffixes that promise more. Hisense, the giant Chinese TV brand now making in-roads into the UK consumer market, has bagged ULED. It certainly sounds suitably futuristic.

Yet there’s a fair degree of marketing flimflam about what ULED actually is or means – as far as I can tell it’s an umbrella reference to the Quantum Dot colour filter used by the set, as well as the backlight control of its rear-mounted LEDs. So ULED may not be anything fundamentally revolutionary, like OLED, but it hints at something a bit special.