Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 16-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Demo/Test Dolby Digital Trailer-Train, City, Canyon, Egypt, Rain, Aurora
Audio-Only Track-This Beat Is Voodoo-Studio Voodoo (DTS)
THX Trailer-Cavalcade (3)
Featurette-Henninger Demo
Featurette-About Sound & Vision
Featurette-About Ovation Software
DVD Credits
DVD-ROM Extras-Glossary; Manufacturers; Resources
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 63:54 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mitchell Stuart
Studio
Distributor

Wild Releasing
Starring David Healy
Frances Anderson
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There are a number of AV setup and calibration discs out in the marketplace at the moment; Video Essentials is the time-honoured standard, but The Ultimate DVD Platinum offers more features for less money. Into this market comes the Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up DVD. Priced at a point between these two, the Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up DVD has a number of unique and rather compelling features;
  1. Being the most recent calibration DVD onto the market means that it has the most up-to-date audio calibration test tones of all these DVDs, being the only one with DTS ES test signals, both DTS ES 6.1 matrix and DTS ES 6.1 discrete, as well as Dolby Digital EX test signals.
  2. The video calibration test patterns are modified from the standard still frame patterns used on other calibration DVDs to make them FAR easier to use for novice users.
    Clearly targeted at less techno-savvy users than the other two entrants in this genre, the Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up DVD is a breeze to use, with two friendly (but sometimes gratingly inane) presenters taking you through all the steps involved in correctly setting up and calibrating your home theatre system, including a novel demonstration of the difference between composite video and S-Video. The total running time of the guided presentation is around 60 minutes, and the only technical criticism I could level at this basic content is that the concept of 16x9 enhancement is not all that well explained - all other critical home theatre concepts are well explained and very well illustrated.

    For more advanced users, you are able to directly access the relevant test patterns and tones quickly via the main menu, bypassing the sometimes lengthy explanations on offer. There are a number of pleasant surprises to be found in the menu system when directly accessing the tests in this fashion, such as the 6.1 audio test tones and subwoofer phase test tones, which are (sensibly) left out of the basic, guided presentation. The overall number of video test patterns is somewhat limited, but adequate for the disc's purpose. From my perspective, the only thing this DVD really lacks is a decent amount of high quality demonstration footage - there is some demonstration footage, but the quality is very variable.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As with any test DVD, the test patterns are of extremely high quality, and the accompanying studio footage is not too bad, either, although not of reference quality.

    The transfer is generally presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. A small number of still images and sample video clips are presented at 1.78:1 and 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. You should be aware that this DVD is presented in NTSC, so your equipment needs to be able to display an NTSC signal in order to take advantage of this disc.

    Sharpness is exemplary, particularly from the test patterns, as you would rightly expect. The studio footage is very clear and crisp, and seems to have been sourced from digital video judging by the lack of film artefacts. Shadow detail for the studio footage is a tad limited at times, and perhaps could have been a little better with better lighting. There is no low level noise in the studio footage, although there is some in some of the bonus materials.

    Colours are highly saturated with borderline excess red in the studio footage, but no colour bleed. All the test patterns appear spot-on.

    There are no MPEG compression artefacts in the transfer at all. There is, however, a moderate amount of aliasing and/or moire at times, often in close-up shots of equipment (eg at 8:57). Some of the higher resolution test images alias a little, but this is to be expected on an interlaced display. Being video-sourced, there are no film artefacts.

    There are no subtitles on this DVD.

    The disc is single sided and single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Once again, we can differentiate between the studio footage and the test audio, with the test audio being spot-on.

    There is only a single audio track present during the main portion of this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1. Access to the 6.1 and DTS test tones is via the menu system (as illustrated below), as they are not utilized by the basic setup and calibration presentation.

    The dialogue quality of the programme is quite variable. Live studio audio often had a "hollow" timbre which I found moderately distracting. On the other hand, voice-over audio was perfect. There were no discernible audio sync problems.

    The only music in this programming was some nondescript underscoring towards the end of the programme.

    Surround activity for this soundtrack is difficult to assess. Fundamentally a mono soundtrack for the most part, occasional gimmicky use is made of the surrounds for what are essentially panned mono effects. These comments do not apply to the test audio signals, which are spot-on.

    Other than for test tones, the subwoofer channel is not used. Oddly, I noted that there was no .1 output from the DTS 5.1 test sequences, but it was present for the DTS 6.1 tests. I don't know whether this is a problem with the authoring of the disc or with my setup.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A small selection of extras is available on this DVD, including some rather sought-after ones.

Menu

    Basic, elegantly designed and functional. No audio or video enhancement - sensible in my opinion for a disc such as this.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    All 6 commonly seen Dolby Digital trailers are collected here (Train, City, Canyon, Egypt, Rain, and Aurora), all presented at 1.33:1 and with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Audio-Only Track - This Beat Is Voodoo-Studio Voodoo

    This is a full bitrate DTS track (1536Kb/s) which sounds very "Deep Forest"-like and beautifully demonstrates why DTS is so good for high resolution audio. The subtle detail and clarity in this track is breathtaking.

THX Trailer - Cavalcade

    This is presented in 3 aspect ratios; 1.33:1, 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced, and 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette-Henninger Demo

    A sample of two Henninger programmes; Yours Truly: Jack The Ripper and Seized At Sea: Situation Critical. The quality is poor which is a shame, as this is the closest thing to significant length demonstration material on this disc.

Featurette-About Sound & Vision

    A promotional spot.

Featurette-About Ovation Software

    Ditto.

DVD Credits

    Extensive text listing of all those involved with the production of this DVD (which is a lot of people).

DVD-ROM Extras

    3 pdf files in the root directory of the DVD;
  1. A glossary of hi-fi and DVD terms
  2. Manufacturers' addresses
  3. General hi-fi and DVD resources

Booklet

    Chapter listing and brief introduction.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This DVD is the same the world over.

Summary

    Overall, The Sound & Vision Home Theatre Tune-Up DVD is an elegant and well put together setup and calibration package. It has some very easy-to-use test patterns and some unique audio test tones, which will increase its appeal to both novice home theatre users and seasoned veterans. For novices, I would have to say that this is the best of the calibration DVDs that I have seen to date. For more seasoned veterans, the presence of DTS 6.1 test material, both matrixed and discrete, is a powerful inducement to add this DVD to your existing collection of calibration DVDs. The collection of Dolby Digital trailers is also a little bonus.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Saturday, July 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder and Denon AVD-1000 dts decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationEA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifier for Left & Right Front; Marantz MA6100 125W per channel monoblock amplifiers for Left & Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Or for those watching PAL DVDs - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio) REPLY POSTED
re : Or for those watching PAL DVDs - Shane A
more PAL comments - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio) REPLY POSTED
What about in the bio's for calibration - Rhodes_96 (read my bio)
Re: Home Theater Tune-Up and PAL. - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!) REPLY POSTED
Re: Home Theater Tune-Up and PAL - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)