Good movie theatres always make the movie better. If you have seen Avatar, Broken Arrow, Gladiator, the 2001 American epic war film Pearl Harbor or the James Bond film Quantum of Solace in a decent cinema hall, chances are the action scenes are still fresh in your mind. Of course, the buttery popcorn or the sound system that feels like its channeled directly into your temporal lobeómake viewing a great experience and chances are that youíll come out feeling like you had a good time.
How about recreating a similar movie theatre-like experience within the walls of your home? After all, nowadays we catch up with a fairly large number of movies on our television sets, via our satellite connection, donít we? Well, the Japanese electronics firm Sony has introduced a new DTH Theatre that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of DTH viewers for superior sound quality. The system is compatible with leading DTH providers like Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Sun Direct, Dish TV and Big TV. Most important, it is decently priced at R19,990.
Come to think of it, we are besotted with bringing in big screen televisions into our homes. While high definition televisions hog the spotlight in home entertainment (at home or in the TV showroom, we are mesmerised by the spectacular images these systems deliver), leaving audio as an afterthought for many people. But sound is just as essential as sight to an involving home theatre experience. This is precisely what the Sony DTH Theatre is trying to achieve; it promises to produce audio that brings your TVís spectacular images to life. Does it actually deliver, let us find out.
At a personal level, I am always trying to re-create a movie-like experience in my entertainment zone; my TV room has a wall-mounted Sony TV, thereís a seven-year-old music system from the same brand, and I have connected the two Sony systems together with a lot of loose cables strewn around. A Tata Sky set-top-box brings to the table its own set of wires, making the entire area look pretty untidy. And to be very honest, while the images on the giant screen dazzle you, the missing link in my efforts to create a cinema experience is an audio system; despite my best efforts, the home-configured system disappoints.
Enter the Sony DTH Theatre system. Out of the box, Sony has really packaged this system well, especially considering the number of parts involved. It has a compact body which is 40% smaller than a conventional home theatre system. In physical appearance, this Sony systemís stylish design brings alive any corner of the room. Its compact size avoids any clutter, and its sleek, multi-angled speakers can be placed in any manner for the perfect sound.
With a 5.1 channel, this 1,000 watt system (model: HT-IV300) delivers a powerful and immersive sound; the best sound for a theatre like experience at home that I have seen till date. Further, owning to the direct DTH connectivity as well as the plug and play feature, the users can enjoy a crisp immersive sound, free from the humming noise of DVD players.
The two way HDMI connected DTH Theatre system ensures an easy connection between the television and DTH system. One just needs to connect the satellite cable with DTH Theatre and then LCD/LED with DTH Theatre, thus ensuring picture in TV and sound through the DTH Theatre. The available inputs areóHDMI Input 2, Optical Input 1, Audio Video In 1.
The model features Sonyís one-touch functions with NFC technology that lets you easily view all the content on your phone or other Bluetooth enabled devices with your television. It supports multiple formats like MKV, MP4, AVC, WMV, VOB, Xvid HD and AVCHD through its USB port for plug and play devices.
In real use, I plugged the DTH Theatre system with my Sony Bravia and the Tata Sky with relative ease. Set up is simple and straight forward and you need not refer to the products guide over an over again. The powerful 1000 watt output and 5.1 channel surround sound will turn your home into your personal theatre.
Essentially this means that you can watch your favourite shows and movies like never before with great surround sound and crystal clear picture. The whole system is very dynamic, delivering high-energy scenes with big swings in volume with agility, clarity and punch.
If you wish to give rest to your eyes by shutting the TV, you can listen to your favourite music via USB or even your smartphone; Bluetooth wireless technology makes this possible. You can also connect it with the PlayStation, or connect your Blu-ray player with it.
My takeaways: The Sony DTH Theatre is easily one of the most user-friendly systems I have evaluated in recent months. Its design is neat and it is a respectable audio system in general. If youíre the type of home theatre buff who craves the lavish audio performance that you believe only large tower speakers can deliver; but donít want those oversize cabinets diverting your audienceís attention from your sleek TV or video projection screen, you must arrange for a personal audition of the Sonyís DTH Theatre speaker system. Believe me, it will really make you sit up and I have no qualms in strongly recommending it.
Estimated street price: R19,990