The impact of Covid-19 on our society has placed inordinate levels of stress on individuals and businesses alike over the past year of uncertainty. One of the hardest hit industries has been entertainment, with new problems both in content creation and distribution. While filmmakers have scrambled to create and enact safe protocols for shooting, the content in editing rooms has nonetheless begun to roll out for the public, albeit unconventional in delivery methods. Some studios waited and delayed their projects, hoping to have a safe and well-attended theatrical release, but more and more are opting for a schedule that includes premiering on streaming platforms, such as Disney’s releases of Mulan and Soul.
In December, the biggest news in home streaming for the coming year arrived: Warner Bros. would be releasing a slew of its scheduled films of 2021 via HBO Max alongside potential theatrical releases, bringing a ton of traditionally big-screen premiers to the smaller screens of living room TVs in our homes. While this increases safety and convenience alike, it can bear costs to the studio in terms of profit, and to the viewer in terms of sensory experience.
Even before the pandemic, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime were already ramping up their budgets on flagship episodic properties, taking cues from earlier OTT content from successful big fish, like HBO’s Game of Thrones (though success of later seasons remains in question). Episodes of recent shows like The Mandalorian, The Witcher, and The Boys have spent budgets more in league with feature films than with television shows, and this greater expense carries benefits that many consumers miss due to the simple fact that their homes are not equipped for theater-style content, like 4K picture resolution or multi-channel audio. In some cases, content is even delivered in fully theatrical formats like Dolby Atmos, which can captivate and amaze audiences. However, Dolby Atmos requires both software and hardware capable of decoding a huge amount of audio data accurately and instantly.
While shows get bigger and more expensive, televisions have grown larger and more affordable year by year. Big screens with compact depth have become the main objective for electronics designers and manufacturers to focus on, with flat screens and even bezel-free construction that expands the usable surface for picture creation. However, this also carries the drawback of smaller, less powerful speakers inside those picture-vivid TVs. Audio enhancers like soundbars have gained enormous popularity, but most of them merely boost the volume of sound and the bass range, without tuning the soundscape they provide to capture the editing efforts expended by major entertainment studios. The vast majority of soundbars rely on Bluetooth technology, which can drive only conventional 2-channel stereo through its wireless transmissions, forcing soundbars to condense down any audio that is formatted for theater-style speaker setups. This loss in channel specificity results in consumers also losing out on more immersive experiences, and “settling for less” when they stream high-quality content at home.
Recommendation for this year: invest in an upgrade for your home entertainment center, including surround sound that can capture the stellar sound poured into big movies and shows, like the recent Wonder Woman 1984, and the upcoming Dune. This can dramatically elevate the viewing experience around any content for your entire household, bringing big budget picture and sound to life in your living room just like you would feel it in the movie theater.
The obstacle to expanding into home theater setups is often just that: setup that is complicated, cumbersome, or it gets bogged down by troubleshooting. Yet this is not the case with systems that are Certified by WiSA, which has set a new standard for wireless audio integration and transmission that blows away Bluetooth, making it practically obsolete. Platin Monaco is among the newest rollouts in WiSA’s ever expanding arsenal of home audio solutions, and both its aesthetic and its price tag make it just about the most accessible home cinema sound equipment on the market. Choose your setup of 3.1 unidirectional or 5.1 surround sound packages available at reliable resellers: Amazon, Target, or Electronics Express all carry Monaco. Electronics Express currently has a Platin Monaco bundle deal with Hisense TVs, so if you are considering a TV upgrade you can do it all at once, and save…a bundle! On Amazon, you can read up on customer reviews from the holiday 2020 shopping season and see what the experience of installing Monaco might look like.
More time is being spent at home nowadays, so there has never been a better time to transform your home into your favorite place to be. Movies and shows can transport us all to incredible places, especially when they are experienced as their creators intended, in their fullest sensory brilliance. While vaccines roll out, and scientists and civilians alike await success with bated breath, everyone is already on the edge of their seat. While the pandemic won’t last forever, the movement of content toward streaming platforms as a priority isn’t going to change. Technology will constantly improve the data that gets delivered to our households, and having the final, vital ingredients in place for an immersive, movie theater quality experience can make all the difference, for 2021 and well beyond.