Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2010 - Home cinema
The nights are drawing in and it'll soon be Bonfire Night, and that can only mean one thing - it's almost time to announce the nominations for the annual Pocket-lint Gadget Awards. On 8 November, we'll be letting you know exactly which products made it onto the shortlist.
As before, we need your help to whittle down our huge list of products to find the best gadgets. To give you a helping hand, we've picked out the highlights from our gigantic review archive. Now it's down to you to let us know which products you think should be nominated by sending us a shout in the comments box below. So, to get your grey matter grinding, here is our daily selection of the best gadgets the Home Cinema category. Have a read and let us know what you think.
Blu-ray and DVD
After vanquishing its HD DVD foe in the high-def format war, Blu-ray has gone from strength to strength as the cost of players and discs has dropped to more affordable levels. Over the last year, several manufacturers have launched entry-level decks, such as Sony's BDP-S370, while the brand also offers slightly higher-end models including the BDP-S760. Some companies have also tried to up the ante by incorporating extra features, with a prime example being Philips' BDP7500 with its 1GB of built-in storage. Panasonic was the first brand to introduce Freesat-enabled Blu-ray recorders to the market, and in 2010 it did the same for the equivalent Freeview HD models, including the DMR-BW780.
There haven't been many exciting developments in the DVD player world over the last year, in fact, we've only reviewed one - Panasonic's DMR-XW380. Panasonic is one of the few brands still putting a significant amount of effort into its DVD products, but could the dwindling interest from others mean that Blu-ray is beginning to win over the public?
PVRs and set-top boxes
Following the virtual demise of the VCR, the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) has become the device of choice for recording stuff off the telly box. There's an ever-increasing pool of these gadgets about with numerous brands launching new models over the last year. Humax introduced us to its HDR-Fox T2 with a 500GB hard drive while Philips launched its equally storage-friendly HDT8520. Even Sky got in on the act with its updated 1TB set-top box.
If you're not after a device that can record, then you can pick up a cheapo standard set-top box for next to nothing nowadays. However, if you're in the market for high-definition broadcasts then you'll have to shell out a little more and get your mitts on a Freeview HD box like the TechniSat HDFV or Humax's HD-Fox T2.
If you want to get the cinema experience at home and you think that TVs are simply too small for your needs, then a projector is the way to go. 2010 saw the launch of plenty of superb models including Epson's EH-TW4400 and R4000 3LCD projectors. We also saw the introduction of Sanyo's mammoth-sized PLV-HF10000L lightbox as well as the first batch of 3D projectors to hit the shops, including JVC's DLA-X9 and Sony's VPL-VW90ES.
Although most of the home cinema products we've looked at are of the Blu-ray, projector or PVR variety, we've also seen a huge range of other pieces of kit on Pocket-lint over the last year, including soundbars and AV receivers. Here's our pick of the bunch.
As Blu-ray continues to win hearts and minds, we've seen an increasing number of Blu-ray all-in-one home cinema systems, not least Samsung's generously specced HT-C6500. We also saw the introduction of 3D-compatible systems such as Sony's BDV-E370.
Also new to the market in 2010 were several soundbar models offering 5.1 surround sound, such as LG's HLB54S. And for those can are satisfied with just 2.1 channels, there was a slew of products to choose from including the Samsung HT-BD8200.
Hardcore audiophiles have also been catered for over the last year with awesome AV receivers, such as the Onkyo TX-NR808. 2010 also saw the launch of the revamped Xbox 360 Slim, which is equipped with an HDMI port and although it still doesn't offer Blu-ray support, it can play DVD and downloaded content whilst also enabling you to watch live broadcasts from Sky Player.
And of course, the continuing onslaught of excellent home cinema equipment inevitably brings with it an alarmingly high amount of remote controls to keep track of. That's why we've seen the launch of plenty of universal remotes over the past year including affordable models such as the OneForAll SmartControl, along with rather more high-end affairs like the Logitech Harmony 700.
These are just some of the fantastic choices we've had in 2010. What would you like to see held aloft as the winner of Pocket-lint Best Home Cinema Kit 2010? What have we missed out? Which are your unsung heroes and, of those we've already mentioned, which would get your vote? Let us know in the comments below and you can help our panel decide which make the shortlist of nominees to be announced here on Pocket-lint on 8 November.
We'll have all our coverage of the Pocket-lint awards 2010 right here. Don't miss a minute of it.