It's Been a Wild Decade for AV and Home Theater - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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It's Been a Wild Decade for AV and Home Theater

If you consider the totality of the past 10 years in the AV industry, it's clear that it represents one of the most vibrant eras in home entertainment and encompasses some of the most drastic changes the segment has seen. On the video side we went from HD to 3D to 4K to HDR to 8K. OLED became a thing as did affordable 85" LED-LCDs. We went through the curved screen fad, it appeared and disappeared within the course of the decade! And Ultra HD Blu-ray kept physical media alive while offering home viewers unprecedented fidelity. Meanwhile, projectors dropped in price and improved in quality, ultimately leapfrogging what your local commercial cinema offers.

On the audio side, we saw the advent of 3D immersive sound with Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D as well as the rise of the premium soundbar as an alternative to the tradition home theater in a box. It was also a decade that saw intense competition among speaker and subwoofer makers, resulting in a plethora of new, affordable, high-performance options.

Taken together, the advances in video and audio technologies that occurred in the past decade allow home viewers to properly experience cinematic content. There is no longer any compromise in fidelity, in many cases the formats exceed the resolution of the content they deliver!

When you consider how far technology has advanced in just 10 years—Avatar came out in 2009—the potential for the next decade seems unlimited. While technological progress comes across as incremental when viewed year by year, a decade-long perspective reveals revolutionary shifts. For example, micro-LED displays are currently unaffordable and still have issues with visible seams in the tiles. This won't be solved by next year, but with another decade it's easy to imagine the technology maturing and becoming approachably priced.

CES 2020 is right around the corner and it will surely offer tantalizing hints of what to expect in the near future. For example, has the time finally come for ultra short throw laser projectors to become a thing? Could that be the technology that brings big, vibrant, sharp, cinematic imagery to the masses? Will 8K projectors that handle HDR properly appear? Will a good 4K projector that sells for under a grand become a thing? How about cheap, huge OLED TVs?

One thing is for sure, gaming is going to be a major driver of AV advances over the next decade, and has already had a strong influence in the decade that has passed. After all, just a few years ago TVs had terrible latency issues, while today you'll find TVs that offer auto game mode with extremely low lag. Variable refresh rate promises even greater performance for gaming with a TV and next-generation consoles are sure to up the ante in terms of graphics and sound.

Ultimately, I cannot predict the future. Will 3D make a comeback? Is VR a viable entertainment medium? Is there room for another disc-based format? Can projectors handle true HDR? Whatever happens. the turn of the decade and CES 2020 provide a great excuse to take a minute and consider what's come before and what the future holds... both for the next year and for the next decade.

Please share your thoughts in the comments. The best comments will be added to the homepage/newsletter version of this post.

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post #2 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 08:37 AM
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All I need is an affordable 4K 75"-85" OLED or MicroLED panel with full eARC support VRR/ALLM and the major HDR formats. LG came close in 2019 but 2020 must be the year for this TV to exist. Director's Mode will be a thing but unless it engages a full on ISF calibration mode, simply tweaking the color and turning off motion smoothing will be a waste of potential. I have yet to see a propor TV size to seating distance ratio to justify 8K yet. Unless more affordable 8K projectors hit the market, it's silly for the average TV viewer. I can see Joe Sixpack run to wallmart to get his 55" 8K TCL for bragging right alone while still watching 20 year old DVD's on it.

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post #3 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 09:47 AM
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There have been some amazing improvements with projectors for sure! I still can't believe that I have a 4k projector at home that rivals my local cinema. Something I would not have thought possible or affordable just a few years ago.
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post #4 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 01:50 PM
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I'm pretty certain Avatar 2 will bring 3D back into the fray. There's a lot of untapped potential for 3D technology and in two years time it should be yet again revolutionary. And even if it's not, that's what we'll be told as upgraditis gets pushed onto us by the manufacturers

I imagine that by the end of the next decade, we'll have some amazing progress in the VR/AR world. Or displays may be set for a major paradigm shift.
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post #5 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 04:38 PM
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My predictions for the next decade:

We will see the end of analog interconnects for audio. Processors will shrink to the size of NUC PC's as a result.

Dirac Unison will finally be released for home audio.

The Emotiva RMC-1 will finally be considered a fully released product, although the promised expansion cards are still work in progress by the end of the decade...

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post #6 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 05:05 PM
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Yes, truly a great time to be an AV enthusiast.
Being a budget minded late adopter, I was still watching an old 36" CRT behemoth 10 years ago. 4K video and object based audio upgrades are still in my future.
I can't imagine the sound side of things has much more true innovation left in it. Difficult to justify more than 11 speakers plus subs, even to myself.
As for video, it seems 2D has no place to go but bigger and cheaper. The potential for Virtual Reality and 3D innovations on the other hand is very exciting.
Looking forward to the next 10 years!
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post #7 of 53 Old 12-30-2019, 06:02 PM
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You know it has been a wild ride and yet it has so far to go.

Projectors are a giant pain in the ass to position just right.

Speakers have to be positioned in just such a way.

All of this stuff requires study and time that 90% of the public funds tedious and not Interesting.

You’re right. It’s a great time to be alive. But innovation has much ground to cover yet.


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post #8 of 53 Old 12-31-2019, 01:11 AM
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I think 1 decade from now the best TVs will be MiniLED with ultra high zone counts, quantum dots, very high peak brightness (≈ 4000 nits), and maybe 8K (or 8K could be a fad like 3D because of lack of content). As China continues to commoditize TV panels, processing power to handle local dimming and upscaling will become the key IP for TV manufacturers which positions Sony and Panasonic well.
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post #9 of 53 Old 12-31-2019, 02:11 AM
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My guess in the next 10 years most members on AVS will be moving to panels where they reach sizes that only projectors are able to reach.
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post #10 of 53 Old 12-31-2019, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Franin View Post
My guess in the next 10 years most members on AVS will be moving to panels where they reach sizes that only projectors are able to reach.
Unless of course ultra short throw laser projectors become a thing and there will be no need to transport a big arse panel. The cost savings would be ginormous. Of course screen material etc, but hopefully we'll have fabric by then that can also act as wall art.
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post #11 of 53 Old 12-31-2019, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post
Unless of course ultra short throw laser projectors become a thing and there will be no need to transport a big arse panel. The cost savings would be ginormous. Of course screen material etc, but hopefully we'll have fabric by then that can also act as wall art.
Panels will stop all discussion around "deep black levels"...
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post #12 of 53 Old 12-31-2019, 09:14 PM
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It's Been a Wild Decade for AV and Home Theater

I guess in near future Av's will be replaced with panels.
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post #13 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 06:51 AM
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All I need is an affordable 4K 75"-85" OLED or MicroLED panel with full eARC support VRR/ALLM and the major HDR formats. LG came close in 2019 but 2020 must be the year for this TV to exist. Director's Mode will be a thing but unless it engages a full on ISF calibration mode, simply tweaking the color and turning off motion smoothing will be a waste of potential. I have yet to see a propor TV size to seating distance ratio to justify 8K yet. Unless more affordable 8K projectors hit the market, it's silly for the average TV viewer. I can see Joe Sixpack run to wallmart to get his 55" 8K TCL for bragging right alone while still watching 20 year old DVD's on it.
You forgot to add and then sit 12 feet away from the 55” 8k set and then go on forums and get into arguments about why 8K isn’t needed because he can’t see any difference from his old 720p TV
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post #14 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 08:14 AM
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I agree it has been a wonderful decade and hopefully the next decade will continue along the same lines.
I'm thrilled with the amount of information and knowledge that is available for all whether by professional articles, forums, reviews, etc.

I started my love in the early 70's. There were magazines but they seemed more interested with high end kit. You only had brick and mortar stores available and many or few depending on your area. Then you had basically only the sales person to consult with and they wanted to sell you their stuff, which was the best...just ask them.

I'd like to see more in the way of perfecting/fixing what is already available via software fixes. I read so many problems in this area whether video or audio and it is generally across all hardware types. I don't expect perfection but I do expect kit to work properly especially when the makers tout it so loudly.

While I love the choices and competitive pricing I wonder if the downside is less and less attention to quality resulting in some of the problems experienced.
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post #15 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 08:20 AM
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Huge panels will get less expensive but shipping and installation costs will rise astronomically.
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post #16 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 08:33 AM
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My prognostications:

3D will only have a chance to become viable when NO external gear (glasses of any kind) are required - AND, it causes no dizziness or queasiness in the viewer. Those things killed it the first time, and the 2nd time.

Micro LED panels will become MORE affordable but not dirt cheap. I doubt they will solve the equivalency of acoustically transparent screens within 10 years.

And hopefully by the year 2030, Emotiva will finally get the current 2018 processor "mostly" functional. (They really are a joke when it comes to initial product announcement and availability vs actual delivery)

Dedicated home cinemas as we currently know and define them will continue to drop in numbers.

Standard TV programming will become less and less desirable as content from Apple, Amazon and Netflix (and who knows who else) dominates viewing.

Streaming finally wins: The shiny disc for both music and movies will no longer exist as compression algorithms greatly improve and internet speeds increase faster then associated pricing.

Kaleidescape will no longer exist (see my above comment on "Streaming Wins" )
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post #17 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
You know it has been a wild ride and yet it has so far to go.

Projectors are a giant pain in the ass to position just right.

Speakers have to be positioned in just such a way.

All of this stuff requires study and time that 90% of the public funds tedious and not Interesting.

You're right. It's a great time to be alive. But innovation has much ground to cover yet.
Lens shift, on-screen setups, and microphone spatial sound setups make projector and audio installation a breeze these days, but you won't find that on cheap PJs or receivers.

I do home theater installations and the average Joe is hopelessly lost anyway. Seating, speakers, light, the basics are too much to research. Six speakers in the front all pointing the same direction, it's surround sound. 82 inch 8K TV to use with cable and internet speeds that can load 720p streams, it's the best. People just want big with a big price tag to indicate quality and a "sale" from time to time. That's the only reason I can think Bose is still in business, apart from all the sales of their proprietary mounts, cables, adapters, and so on. I would have to agree, the future is easy, not necessarily better.
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post #18 of 53 Old 01-01-2020, 06:22 PM
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^^"the future is easy, not necessarily better." As I slide...tumble forward in age, easy is "better".

So for me a wild decade in terms of affordability and "1080p'' tech price drops. My 70" TV purchased for thousands at the beginning of the decade can be had for a few hundred now while my complete basement media room cost approximately as much as said TV. A media room with a 151.5" 16:9 image, a decent 1080p projector with a good feature set/lens shift, a 7.2 AVR, 7.4 sound, 6 pairs of 3D glasses, 6 pairs of wireless headphones, a painted $50ish wall/screen and a 3D blu-ray player.

A decade that now sees me sitting in my comfy chair accessing cable, rented/purchased movies, Netflix/Amazon/YouTube and others via my cable box while asking Alexa to turn on off lights or to provide details on performers or to play music.

A decade of price drops leading to equipment allowing a decent "setup" in minutes with the AVR's auto setup and a 1K"ish" projector with good features/lens shift. (I will never again buy a projector without lens shift... no more standing on a ladder trying to dial the darn thing in.)

All these changes leading to ease of use/setup while I slide towards becoming my father. Every time I ask one of my grown kids an I-phone question and get the look/tone that conveys "Dad is tech old/dumb/slow", I can hear my dad asking me how to program the VCR and me giving him the same look/tone. (To be fair it was about 20 or 30 years of him asking me on VCRs....let's see 1980s until 2015 so 40 years... I wish he was around to ask me one more time...of course I would probably have to get my kids to figure it out for me now and we would both get the look/tone.)

Next decade...er...this decade, I might try that newfangled 4K and Atmos.
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post #19 of 53 Old 01-02-2020, 09:15 AM
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I don't think 3D has faded completely away. Rise of Skywalker has been screed in UltraAVX in 3D mostly in Canada. If you want to see 2D, it's either IMAX or old theaters without reclining seat and ATMOS.
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post #20 of 53 Old 01-02-2020, 10:53 AM
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I won’t presume to predict the future, but I would consider the availability of full range, high resolution room EQ formats that can work in both the time and frequency domain, AND offer editable or tailored target curves (Dirac, Trinnov, Room Perfect) to be a core innovation of the 2010s.

Back around 2013, only high end Datasat owners could enjoy Dirac, which required dedicated mics and training. Today, Emotiva XMC-1 and in particular MiniDSP users can use Dirac Live on a similar 7.1 system for well over 90% less and buy a calibrated mic for $100 or less.

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post #21 of 53 Old 01-02-2020, 12:25 PM
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I think Avatar 2 could catalyzes some sort of standardization of 4K-3D. Also, I think the progressive quality improvements associated with the maturity of 4k will stretch the format for quite some time (for instance, 2014 Blu rays look a lot better than 2006 Blu rays). 2014 CEDIA was themed "Hyper Change" and for good reason. I'm not sure that level of Innovation is possible in this decade to come. Things are just so good and so (relatively) new.

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post #22 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
I'm pretty certain Avatar 2 will bring 3D back into the fray. There's a lot of untapped potential for 3D technology and in two years time it should be yet again revolutionary. And even if it's not, that's what we'll be told as upgraditis gets pushed onto us by the manufacturers

I imagine that by the end of the next decade, we'll have some amazing progress in the VR/AR world. Or displays may be set for a major paradigm shift.
Seems highly unlikely to me, the first wan't able to, and since then 3D has lost a lot of traction.
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post #23 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 07:31 AM
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My prognostications:

Dedicated home cinemas as we currently know and define them will continue to drop in numbers.
I find that I'm in agreement with all of your prognostications!

I built my Dedicated Home Theater in 2003. I've swapped out the projector twice (now fully 4k UHD) and the AVR once. And although there have been advances along the way, it still holds up as a terrific place to watch a movie.

So here's my prediction: although fewer and fewer will build Dedicated Home Theaters, they will remain the closer ideal to screening movies and TV. Even the best tech will have a hard time providing fully immersive sound without artifacts, reflections, and intrusions, as well as deal with lighting, etc.

And here the one non-tech thing that is almost impossible to overcome without a dedicated room: distractions. When we watch tv in another room I find that others, as well as myself, looking at phones, glancing at others passing through or in connected rooms, talking, etc. But in the theater all is focused on the content.

I've already decided that if we move sometime in the future I will not build a new theater. But I'm growing uncertain about that decision. Maybe I'll just call it a media room.

 
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post #24 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post
I won’t presume to predict the future, but I would consider the availability of full range, high resolution room EQ formats that can work in both the time and frequency domain, AND offer editable or tailored target curves (Dirac, Trinnov, Room Perfect) to be a core innovation of the 2010s.

Back around 2013, only high end Datasat owners could enjoy Dirac, which required dedicated mics and training. Today, Emotiva XMC-1 and in particular MiniDSP users can use Dirac Live on a similar 7.1 system for well over 90% less and buy a calibrated mic for $100 or less.
Yes, while expensive, the altitude ended up being the "Real deal". It is STILL not obsolete and I don't see it becoming obsolete for another possibly 10 years. I still believe it could use a full software usability overhaul and perhaps more newbie friendly instructions set on-screen. So long as we can play the main surround formats, I am not running out of channel any time soon.

Add to that all the great amps that were produced with hypex modules (like my NAD amps) or the benchmark AHB-2 and you have essentially products that cannot really be made obsolete in the old sense.

this decade has been great for creating "lifetime" audio products for me. on the video end, lots of cool stuff now will become cheaper over time these next 10 years.
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post #25 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 07:58 AM
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I'm seeing a slow down in who cares about pixels. Sure 4k is fantastic but how much noticeable difference is there unless the screen is huge. Not nearly as "I have to have this" as 1080/720 was. Maybe when the NFL starts broadcasting in 4k. Maybe. OTA broadcasts of 4k are at least 5 years away. Dolby Atmos? Nobody even cared about DolbyHD versus Dolby digital.

I'm predicting more innovation in where we get our content and hopefully better streaming that's affordable.
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post #26 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm seeing a slow down in who cares about pixels. Sure 4k is fantastic but how much noticeable difference is there unless the screen is huge. Not nearly as "I have to have this" as 1080/720 was. Maybe when the NFL starts broadcasting in 4k. Maybe. OTA broadcasts of 4k are at least 5 years away. Dolby Atmos? Nobody even cared about DolbyHD versus Dolby digital.

I'm predicting more innovation in where we get our content and hopefully better streaming that's affordable.
Agree most people find HD to be great, no need to upgrade. Not here, necessarily, but in general.

To my eyes the leap from 1080p to 2160p remains hugely noticeable and that's just the resolution increase. but, 4 K comes with more than just more pixels, it also brought with it high dynamic range and wide color gamut and overall higher bandwidth for both disc-based and streaming media.

The benefits of going to 8K are more debateable but 2K to 4K upgrades still have a major "kick" to them. And while it's certainly true that a larger screen helps you appreciate the additional detail delivered by 4K, perfhaps what really matters is the drop in prices of 65 inch TV's makes it affordable to get a TV that can show that difference.

4K NFL will arrive, Thursday Night Football is the harbringer.

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post #27 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 09:10 AM
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I think mini-LED high zone count FALD LCDs will be a temporary stopgap while OLED struggles to increase production. Once OLED production really ramps up, I don't think mini-LED will be able to compete on price. However, I do think we will see a new emissive display type take over OLED for the best picture. That will likely be either emissive quantum dots or micro-LED.

Another display feature driven largely by gaming that we will see is higher refresh rates. The nature of sample and hold displays introduce significant motion blur. High refresh rates with BFI to reduce persistence while continuing to expand color gamut and volume are how display technology will evolve in the next decade.

As for audio, I think we will see better gear continue to come down in price. Soundbars will likely dominate living rooms with ID speakers dominating dedicated media/theater rooms.
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post #28 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 10:10 AM
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10 years ago - in 2009, I bought a Sim Lumis Host 3 chip 1080p DLP. I had 7.1 audio. Audio slowly changed over the last 10 years, first to 9.1, then I had 11.2, now I have 9.6.4. With 13 channels and 6 subs, I'm out of room for more speakers, so I doubt my audio will change much over the next 10 years. My theater won't be getting larger. Going from 1080p to 4K has been amazing, but with no 8K physical media and limited streaming / band width for many folks, I doubt that much will change video wise. Really, the last 10 years have seen incremental improvements ( I'm still watching plenty of 1080p content ). I don't expect the next 10 years to be any different. In fact, my prediction is change will be even slower since the current state of the art picture and sound is so good now.
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post #29 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 11:11 AM
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With all the changes coming fast and furious I still think its hard to beat watching a good action blu ray on my 60 in. plasma with a 5.2 system.

I look at a lot of screens at best buy and so far I'm not ready to upgrade on the video end.
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post #30 of 53 Old 01-03-2020, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
I agree it has been a wonderful decade and hopefully the next decade will continue along the same lines.
I'm thrilled with the amount of information and knowledge that is available for all whether by professional articles, forums, reviews, etc.

I started my love in the early 70's. There were magazines but they seemed more interested with high end kit. You only had brick and mortar stores available and many or few depending on your area. Then you had basically only the sales person to consult with and they wanted to sell you their stuff, which was the best...just ask them.

I'd like to see more in the way of perfecting/fixing what is already available via software fixes. I read so many problems in this area whether video or audio and it is generally across all hardware types. I don't expect perfection but I do expect kit to work properly especially when the makers tout it so loudly.

While I love the choices and competitive pricing I wonder if the downside is less and less attention to quality resulting in some of the problems experienced.
Right on.

It's been a wild ride of quality control, universality, compatibility, and royalty issues at every turn.

A lot of running before learning to walk. A lot of discord. Electronics industry continues to suck.
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