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I was reading the latest IEEE computer magazine and it has an article by Don Norman on "Home Theater Perils". I found a similar version of the article at:

http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/ProblemsOfHomeTheater.html


I thought that the author points out a lot of the problems currently with implementing an HT solution such as lack of control standards, formats, interconnects, etc.. I've run into every one of the problems he talks about and would wish that there would be a better way of doing it.


However I also agree with the author that the results still outweigh the pain and agony of some of the build up problems.


Check it out.
 

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It was an interesting read but the author failed to grasp that home theater isn't a niche category as he believes. The high-end segment is a niche--always has been and will continue to be that-- however there is a mass home theater market that exists based on receivers, a basic DVD player and mid-fi speaker systems. This market has pretty much taken over the entire consumer electronics AV market--you can practically count the number of stereo only receiver models available today on two hands.


As for nomenclature, the masses don't care and they pretty much ignore it. They set their system on Dolby Digital or THX and leave it there, content to let their receiver do the autoselect routine between DD or ProLogic.


If you doubt this, take a poll to determine how many Joe Six Packs believe they're watching HD when they watch progressive scan DVD on their HD monitors. They simply turn their systems on and expect decent audio and video. They certainly aren't nearly as critical, visually or sonically, as the crowd on this forum.
 

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I have a Toshiba 16:9 TV. It has 4 stretch modes. My sources are OTA and DVD. I constantly have to switch the TV settings. I agree there is a major system integration problem when it comes to A/V equipment.
 

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Quote:
It was an interesting read but the author failed to grasp that home theater isn't a niche category as he believes.
Actually HT is a niche market at this point in time. True millions of people have already bought DVD players and thousands of 16:9 RPTVs have been sold. But, looking at the big picture, the integration of TV, speakers, AV receiver and source components is only being performed by the savy and is too difficult for the masses.

Quote:
Joe Six Packs believe they're watching HD when they watch progressive scan DVD on their HD monitors
That is exactly what the author wants to alleviate. So that the consumer can simply and easily get the highest performance possible by the interconnection of components without having to "select" or "set it up".


I disagree with his comments about the cabling. Firewire is limited and we currently have a hub or star configuration. All sources connect through the av receiver/preamp then out to the display device and speakers. What he is referring to is setting up a protocol (he is assuming everything will be digital) and allowing two communications between devices. I think he would like devices when turned on to communicate what capabilities it has. i.e. a dvd player to indicate that it will provide a progressive signal a specific data rate for audio and video as well as other parameters to make the connection work. A novel approach but a huge undertaking that would add thousands to the cost of components already.


I think that a simpler approach to start with would be that all source devices (DVD, VCR, CD, Satellite receiver and PVR) provide a simple remote which only contains its IR signals and can not be programmed to control another device. Also all destination devices (TVs, projectors, video transcoders etc) would also only provide a simple remote to control itself and can not be programmed. Get rid of this NET Command CRAP from Mitsubishi. The only universally controlled devices should be the AV receivers/preamp and or the specific universal devices like Philips Pronto. This would cut some cost from these components and would stop the confusion of which remote to control what device.


Well, just a thought anyway.
 

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I went to a store called EXPO yesterday. It's an interior design store that is owned by Home Depot. It's like the Home Depot but for curtains and bathroom fixtures and countertops instead of wolmanized lumber and shop-vacs.


Owens Corning (their aucostic panel division) is selling enitre home theaters through them, and has a very nice one set up in the store for display. Seleco projector. Da-Lite microperf. Berkline seating. Really professional interior design. The prices were high but attainable.


I was shocked to see this display in this store. If you don't think this stuff is being mainstreamed in upper-middle class demographic segments...you're going to be surprised (I was) when it arrives.


Nevermind "when" it arrives...it's here. I don't need to tell you how many husbands were dragging their wives into this display room.


People are doing more at home, period. Homes are comfortable and functional. Gone are the formal Do Not Touch living rooms and dining rooms. In suburbia, at least, people are staying home...entertaining at home. And DIY home improvement is the national passtime around here. This stuff will sell, marketed properly. /Especially/ is it's marketed as 'high-end.' Everyone will want one to match their gargantuan SUV and show up their neighbors. (Okay, I'm embittered). Or at the least entertain the kids and their friends right at home.


Hoping the cat wil stay in the bag is wishful thinking (come on admit it's more fun when noboy's heard of it before and then you show them yours...wow!).


On another note, a local radio station is giving away a brand new house as a promotion. Know what's in it? A Sharp DLP 120" FP HT (did someone say 'jargon?').


They'll still be a high-end. But the high-end will just be better equipment, etc, not the whole HT phenomenon. If the sort of standardization mentioned in this article blossoms, look out. Why /wouldn't/ you want one then?
 

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To say that HT is
Quote:
mainstreamed
is somewhat inaccurate. Mainstream implies that the majority (the middle class) is involved. This is just not the case! More people are becoming involved, but, it is still far from the mainstream.


However, You are correct that HT is being actively introduced and marketed to the upper portions of the middle class and it is being grasped by the "wannabees". You know who the "wannabees" are, they are that group of middle class people who "wanna be" in the upper echelon of society. They put their wives and families to work principally to afford the lifestyle. They pay too much for the home with the front facade which is a metaphor for their lives (That's a good line, you can quote me on it). They take a second mortgage on the house to buy the SUV or "beamer" and even the HT :D They name drop and are generally an annoyance with their "cheapness over quality". (They wouldn't know quality if it bit them in the A-- :D nor do they care what quality means). They are more concerned with the image presented. Alas (big sigh), I am somewhat alarmed at their increasing numbers, I hope that they do not prove to be dangerous to the economy as they overextend themselves (but that is another problem). :rolleyes:
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David Guill
To say that HT is is somewhat inaccurate. Mainstream implies that the majority (the middle class) is involved. This is just not the case! More people are becoming involved, but, it is still far from the mainstream.


However, You are correct that HT is being actively introduced and marketed to the upper portions of the middle class and it is being grasped by the "wannabees". You know who the "wannabees" are, they are that group of middle class people who "wanna be" in the upper echelon of society. They put their wives and families to work principally to afford the lifestyle. They pay too much for the home with the front facade which is a metaphor for their lives (That's a good line, you can quote me on it). They take a second mortgage on the house to buy the SUV or "beamer" and even the HT :D They name drop and are generally an annoyance with their "cheapness over quality". (They wouldn't know quality if it bit them in the A-- :D nor do they care what quality means). They are more concerned with the image presented. Alas (big sigh), I am somewhat alarmed at their increasing numbers, I hope that they do not prove to be dangerous to the economy as they overextend themselves (but that is another problem). :rolleyes:


Finally someone who speaks some sense. I've always frowned on the practice of people financing a home theater system. If you can't afford it then wait.


Anthony
 

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Oh please people... ever hear of leveraging yourself? Anyone with half a brain in their head would take advantage of the low interest rates on mortgages and home equity loans... Anyone with the other half of their brain also realizes that you don't overextend your borrowing. Interest rates are low because the Fed is trying to stimulate SPENDING so the economy doesn't tank... I guess nobody should finance a car either then... darn, better go get my bicycle...
 

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Quote:
Anyone with half a brain in their head would take advantage of the low interest rates on mortgages and home equity loans... Anyone with the other half of their brain also realizes that you don't overextend your borrowing.
But the question still remains; Is a Home Theatre something one should leverage their house for. I guess someone with less then half a brain would do this :confused: Is the return on investment worth it? Only the individual can assess his/her situation. But, home prices are very fragile in their new heights, especially since they are bolstered by low interest rates. Is it sensible at this point in time with companies like Worldcom/MCI laying off 18,000 people, the telecommunications industry in a shambles and the stock market sinking even lower. Heck, even the computer industry, which fueled the last boom, is also in disarray.


I guess it can be said that if one should get laid off or lose their job they would have plenty of time to enjoy their theater :D So, why not go out and leverage your tomorrow? For if your tomorrow turns out to be a terrible reality you can at least escape into the fantasy world created with your leveraged earnings.


Someone should put out a poll. How many people borrowed money to finance their HT. How many people paid cash. What are the percentages of cash down and financed. Where did the financing come from. These are some very important questions. Ones especially desired by the marketers of home theatre equipment, and ones that would foretell the future strength of the HT market.
 
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