Plot: What’s it about?
Sound & Vision is a popular home theater magazine and they’ve decided to expand beyond the normal pages, to deliver information via this diagnostic DVD. Of course, the purpose is to fine tune your home theater system, to make the picture look better and the audio to be perfected, to enhance your investment. The disc offers a number of different tests and such, available within a special instructional program or solo, depending on the viewer’s needs. If you need a little help and explanation with the steps, then the program walks you through the process and informs as to why the step is needed, which is cool. This ensures you’ve completed the step as intended and will see results, which is the whole point of this release. If you choose to skip the assistance, you can navigate the menus and find the tests you’d like to run with, as well as some additional ones not shown in the programs, such as more advanced ones. This disc looks at color, contrast, sharpness, resolution, speaker placement, speaker performance, Dolby Digital & DTS, and all sorts of other home theater issues, so most of the bases are covered here.
I’ve seen & used several home theater diagnostic discs over time, but most were high priced and aimed at the more dedicated members of the home theater realm. The discs have been excellent in terms of final results and improved performance, but have also come off as hard to use and for newcomers, more than a little confusing. Although Sound & Vision’s take on the diagnostic disc is not as comprehensive as the others, it covers all the basic bases and provides the goods, but it also makes the entire process simple to understand. We’re guided through all of the steps and shown not only what to do, but also why and how it enhances the home theater experience. It is all played out via a documentary of sorts, where we watch as someone tries to hook up their own system, with often humorous results, before getting the steps right. So yes, this is geared more toward beginners in presentation and content, but this is by no means just for the starters, as it contains more complex and advanced tests also. If you’re looking to get a little out of your home theater without dropping a lot of cash, then Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up is more than worthwhile.
Video: How does it look?
The instructional program is presented in full frame, as intended. The image looks clean and shows no serious flaws, so no real complaints to be made. I don’t think the image is quite as sharp as we’re used to, but this probably relates more to budget issues or the type of camera used, as opposed to this transfer. I found colors to be bright and free from errors, flesh tones were natural, and contrast is smooth throughout also. Not much else you could ask for with a disc like this, given the simple nature of the original content.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio in the main program is presented via a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, but don’t expect too many bells & whistles. The tests and demo clips will push your system of course, but the main feature is all dialogue, so it is as basic as it gets. The vocals are clean and clear at all times, while the other elements are well presented also. There isn’t much else to be said, this is all about the dialogue and it sounds good, leaving little room for other comments.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes THX and DTS demo sequences, as well as six Dolby Digital trailers, which are always fun to watch.