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SMART AWARDS 2013 / HOME CINEMA

We Pick The Best Home Cinema Products For 2010

By The SmartHouse Team | Thursday | 03/12/2009

Bringing the cinema to the home is no small feat. Trying to find the right components to do the job while also staying within your budget can be a challenge when you consider the variety on the market. This year's winners are products that stand out in their category thanks to innovation, features, quality or price, with some in a class all their own.


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Best Home Theatre Kit Over $2000
Winner
Harman Kardon HK2015S
 
This home theatre kit combines the excellent Harmon Kardon AVR155 receiver with a set of JBL Balboa 5.1 speakers. Separately, both these components are top notch; together they shine, offering a rich home theatre experience unmatched in the market.
 
Highly Recommended
Pioneer HTPLX70
 
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Best Home Theatre Kit Under $2000
Winner
Samsung HT-BD1255
 
Considering the price, this is one home theatre kit that is worth checking out.  It not only has a Blu-ray player included, but the rear speakers are also wireless.  It produces a good all-round sound, and the image quality from the Blu-ray player is quite impressive.

Highly Recommended
Yamaha YHT-892AU
 

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Best Home Theatre Projector Over $25K
Winner
Runco Q750i
www.runco.com | $28,000
 
Runco always tends to make extremely expensive projectors, but it makes the best as well. This new model marks an innovation for the brand, moving to a completely lampless LED design. Rather than use a traditional lighting method, the unit uses LEDs to create an extremely bright and accurate image, eliminating the need to ever replace a bulb.
 
The lens suits anamorphic source material beautifully and is able to accurately reproduce widescreen footage without any distortion or loss of detail, contrast or clarity.
 
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Best Value Projector
Winner
Epson EH-TW5500
 
This unit easily holds its own against much more expensive models. Epson has moved to a new image processing chip in this model and it shows with very good motion interpolation, a wide colour gamut and excellent contrast. The new image processing chip comes with ISF configuration modes so you can have it professionally calibrated to achieve the best possible image. This 1080p projector packs a lot of power into a relatively cheap package. Compared to similar projectors, its price and features make it a clear choice.
 

Click to enlarge
Best Home Theatre Projector Under $10K
Winner
Mitsubishi HC 7000
 
For the home theatre enthusiast, there is nothing better than this unit at this price range. Using three LCD panels, it can create images with excellent black levels, colour and contrast. With a native resolution of 1920x1080, it is ideal for watching Blu-ray or playing full-HD games and content. It has a powered zoom and focus, and produces low noise and heat when in use. It has a brightness level of 1000ANSI Lumins and a dynamic contrast ratio of 72,000:1, making it the best performance projector in its class.
 
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Best TV Mount Over 50"
Winner
Vogels EFW 8425 Wall mount Motion XL
 
A good TV mount makes sure the panel is as flat to the wall as possible while allowing the user to angle the panel with greater flexibility. This mount does both jobs beautifully with a flat design and one-touch motorised angling that can move the panel 45 degrees in each direction.
 


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Best TV Mount Under 50"
Winner
Atdec Telehook TH-1040-VFM
 
Adjusting the angle of the screen is done manually with this mount but, since it uses a ball joint, you can position it to any angle you wish and even change from landscape to portrait.  It can handle everything from 12" to 63" screens as well.
 
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Best Projector Screen
Winner
Stewart Director's Choice 2.0
www.stewartfilmscreen.com | approx $85,000
 
This screen takes home theatre very seriously. It has masking technology that allows the user to select the aspect ratio of the screen so that it matches the output image. This allows for an accurate display without any over-scan bleeding that you would see with cheaper screens.
 
Highly Recommended
LP Morgan Galleria 140"
 

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Best HDMI Cable
Winner
KordZ EVX 5metre
 
Not only do these cables offer the pure transmission from a HDMI source but they are also cleverly designed. The EVX uses a flat cable design that reduces the bending you would get on traditional cables, thereby reducing wear and tear and the risk of signal degradation.
 
Highly Recommended
Monster MC 1000HD
 
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Best DVD Player
Winner
Toshiba XD-E500-K-TY
 
What makes this the best in its class is the exceptional upscaling it can accomplish as well as its price. There are plenty of DVD players that can scale to 1080p, but we have seen very few that can do it to this calibre while being affordable at the same time.
 
Highly Recommended
Samsung DVD-1080P9
 


Click to enlarge
Best Personal Video Recorder
Winner
LG MD405D
 
There are many PVRs on the market, but none have the extraordinary range of features that this unit delivers. Not only does it have the usual PVR features but you can also stream media to it from your home network with unprecedented file format support and add extra storage with its drive bay.
 
Highly Recommended
Foxtel IQ2
www.foxtel.com.au | Subscription based
 
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Click to enlarge
Best Media Centre
Winner
Topfield Masterpiece HD TRF-2400
 
This is easily the best media centre ever released. It not only has all the PVR functionality you want but it can play back a wide range of file formats straight from the box and has unlimited expandable storage via USB or eSATA. It also has FTP server access and can view YouTube and Flickr.
 
Highly Recommended
HP Touchsmart 600-1000
www.hp.com.au | $2499
 


Click to enlarge
Best Blu-Ray Player
Winner
Denon DVD-A1UD
 
This heavy-duty Blu-ray player not only delivers on the image quality front but also can play SACD and DVD-Audio.  It also has an integrated decoder for Dolby True-HD and DTS HD Master Audio, making a separate receiver not necessary. It is costly, but you definitely get what you pay for.
 
Highly Recommended
Pioneer BDP-LX91

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