Podcast: The AVForums Virtual Bubble Special Edition (27/12/20)

Phil Hinton

Staff member
This week the AVForums podcast makes an unscheduled return as Christmas is locked down the UK, so we’re back to talk all things AV, TV, Tech, Film, streaming and more, plus we’ll answer your questions and there will be prize giveaways for those who join us live on the night within the chat window.

If you need cheering up, grab a glass of your favourite tipple and join us at 7pm.

00:00:00 - Start
00:00:23 - Welcome
00:05:05 - Introducing Greg
00:07:40 - Catching up. What we've done over Xmas
00:21:47 - Comments
00:25:00 - Competitions
00:29:55 - CES and what we're doing
00:32:30 - Greg's favourite tech of 2020
00:41:37 - Phil's unexpected delivery. Arcam boxes
00:47:09 - Ed's Xmas extravaganza. £24,720 worth of kit
00:50:00 - What is the biggest single upgrade you made to your system?
01:17:20 - Live competitions
01:19:45 - Album of the month
01:24:00 - Live competition
01:24:44 - Movie & TV show reviews. Wonder Woman 1984. Soul
01:32:32 - The podcast is changing. Your feedback invited
01:36:53 - TV recommendations
01:53:23 - Live competitions & Q&A
02:00:29 - Thanks and goodbyes

Presented by Phil Hinton with Ed Selley, Cas Harlow, Greg Hook & Mark Botwright.

Subscription link: AVForums Podcast

Links to the audio versions will appear once the podcast has been live-streamed on Sunday the 27th.

Direct Link

To watch the video with the live chat, click the YouTube logo in the video window
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Distinguished Member
Thanks again to all of you at AVForums for doing this, & I enjoyed the different format - it was especially fun to interact with everyone like that - just a bunch of people sitting around & chatting - something I've been missing!


Distinguished Member
Game changers for me :-

1. Possibly late 80s, I bought on credit-purchase from a catalogue an AIWA Hi-Fi midi, with Dolby Surround, and 5 speakers, first listen fed by Star Wars on VHS opening Star Destroyer, possibly best bang-for-buck I ever spent.
2. Watching preview of DVD for first time in Dixons, on a 32” Toshiba Widescreen, playing Batman and Robin with the details and colours leaping from the screen. Immediately hunted down an imported multi-region DVD player in Tottenham Court Road, and started sourcing cheap discs from Canada via play.com as the exchange rate was so good, and being able to get films months before they hit UK cinema. The 32” Toshiba Widescreen TV soon followed via the catalogue credit-purchase.
3. Playing Tomb Raider on my first Home PC, only to find out that it could be improved by a just-released 3Dfx graphics card, which I made the (several) bus trips from South London, to Walthamstow having hunted one down, and then being blown away a second time in 24 hours.


Active Member
Great podcast surprise :thumbsup: Thanks


Well-known Member
Game changers for me: 1: Finally being able to record ( and edit ) from the radio in great quality, rather than using cassette tape - Sony MDR 333 ES Mini Disc recorder. 2: Purchase of a second hand pair of IMF transmission line monster studio monitors, which I still have. No need for a sub woofer. 3: Another monster - my Denon AVC-A1XVA. Say no more.. ( Also a 4K Panny pro camcorder and Rode shotgun mics. - but that's another story.) I forgot: the first viewing in Cinerama of "2001" WoW ! I got the booklet, too, at the time.


Active Member
Hi Phil

Thanks for the additional show, was informative and enjoyable just like the others and great that the team chose to do one when you all could otherwise have your feet up doing whatever took your fancy.

Quite a coincidence to see that Ed had brought an Electrocompaniet ECI3, I got hooked when I saw the Blades (KEF) attached to some serious high end Electrocompaniet amps, and that made me go for both brands, and I share his take on the amp, absolute scorcher for the price and what it does for the R500's attached to them. Music bliss, especially the Kraftwerk.

Looking forward to the announcements that are coming for the TV companies and what else comes from CES, plus the new reviews due to come through soon.

Any plans to have guests on the show after CES to get more detail on their releases?

Thanks again and hope we get back to normal life come the summer.



Well-known Member
Many thanks AVFORUMS and Podcasters for your entertaining and informative content during this lonely year.

On suggestions I would like to see a focused category reviewing purely TV OS and TV box streamers “User Interface, Features, Functionality and Performance”. So this would be covering:
Please include how Apps perform on each platform.

no one is doing this so far

Queens Pawn

Active Member
Really enjoying the podcasts - thanks for making them.
A game changer for me rediscovered my stereo music in 5.1 with PL2 matrix decoding and full size speakers. A new level of immersion.


Well-known Member
The 'Star Wars Trilogy Definitive Edition’ LaserDisc CAV boxset is the reason I got into Home Cinema all those years ago. I bought the boxset even before I owned a LaserDisc player. The player came next, followed some time later by a Yamaha DSP A3090. Video-Tec upgraded my (second) Pioneer LaserDisc player (CLD-2950) to support AC-3 Dolby Digital output.

I've never looked back - if I did, I'd have to count how many times I've bought the same movie on different formats!

Happy Days :)

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Active Member
That was a great podcast, I liked the look back at the tech that was a game changer for yourselves.
For me I was amazed when I first saw a Runco projector in the early-mid 2000’s (which I didn’t buy obviously) and when I did get a more budget projector I was amazed with what a basic pull up projection screen did for the picture quality, it was like going from SD to HD the picture became so sharp.
I also agree with @scrowe - back in the mid-late 1990s what a 3Dfx card did for gaming was phenomenal.


Distinguished Member
Ah. second (external) floppy drive for my Atari 1040STFM. No more switching the floppies! That felt incredible!


Active Member
Thanks very much for the extra Podcast guys, really appreciated. Also thanks for all the podcasts throughout the year - always a highlight during the week 👍

The game changer in my AV setup came with installing a JVC X5900 in a dedicated room, having never seen a projected image at home before - the quality of the image and level of immersion amazed me (and still does). I have never looked back (some day an N5 or N7 will be my next big upgrade).
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Well-known Member
I've been blown away so many times with the improvement in technology. First hearing the Simpsons in stereo piped through my friends hifi. Buying a prologic II amp and watching Armageddon and Godzilla over and over again for the big noise and huge picture on my 32" tv (lol). The move from prologic to DD 5.1 and seeing Jurassic Park in the Jungle demo room in Zebra Hifi shop in South Croydon.

Getting an imported DVD player and DVDs from DVDBoxOffice.

Same with consoles. Tekken on PS1 and then Halo with 5.1 on Xbox really stand out. On the first scene in Halo standing by the waterfall and just rotating around hearing the waterfall from all speakers.


Active Member
Game changers for me:

Not long after moving to London I was in a shop at the bottom of Regent Street and watched a demo of Jurassic Park - the bit where Sam Neil and the kids jump behind the fallen tree and all the dinosaurs jump over them - first proper demo of surround sound away from cinema I’d heard - blown away and converted.

Re two channel I heard a demo of Classe separates driving B&W 800 series in a shop in Oslo - it was staggering.

More recently I was visiting my parents in Leeds and visited a shop called Bespoke Home Cinema in north Leeds - watched part of Oblivion in the demo room - can’t recall exactly what the kit was but the best system I’ve heard to date. It was stunning. My wife was really impressed - can’t speak higher than that!


Well-known Member
My game changers:

1. The original Sony Walkman. I could finally legitimately ignore other people while travelling.

2. Watching Star Trek Voyager on a humungous 40" Grundig CRT flanked by some early 18bit Meridian DSP5000s. I was utterly immersed. Things got very expensive after that.


Active Member
Thanks guys for the podcast, it was indeed a nice surprise.

I wish all members a Happy and safe New Year.

My game changer was similar to THX1138UK.

I bought my first surround amp in the form of the first Denon AVC-A1 along with B&W DM603 S2, LCR-6 S2 centre speaker. I used a pair of old JPW speakers as rears. My source was a Panasonic HD650 Video recorder. TV was a Sony 41" rear projection set.

When the Pioneer CLD-925 LaserDisc player came out I compared this to the CLD-2950, I could see the extra processing used to turn CLV discs into CAV had an effect on picture, so I bought the CLD-2950, I too had modified by Video Tec for AC3 output. I had also bought the Denon AC3 Demodulator. The first film we watched was Goldeneye after getting back from Video Tec in Oxford, it sounded absolutely fantastic.

Laser Enterprises ended up having a lot of my money, most expensive LaserDisc I bought was the CAV special Edition of the Lion King, the first disc suffered a lot of laser rot right after purchase, fortunately it was replaced with a pristine copy.

I then later upgraded the amp to the AVC-A1SR, front speakers to B&W DM604S3, LCR600 Centre, moving the 603S2 to the rear and getting x2 B&W ASW675 subs. I also bought a Sony DVP-S7700 DVD player in matching gold.

The only bits I no longer have are the Panasonic VHS and the Sony 41" TV. The rest is still in my Stands Unique equipment rack.

Other game changers were my Pioneer CD recorder, Tascam DAT recorder, Sony portable DAT player, Sony MD recorders and Sony portable MD recorder and Apple 20GB 2nd Gen iPod, this was before Apple even had a Windows version of iTunes and you had to use MusicMatch. I still have all these devices.

I then got into DJing and I added a couple of Denon DN-S5000 CD decks to go with the Technics SL-1210MK2's. Being able to mix CD was a massive game changer, I loved that you could play 2 tracks off the same CD at the same time, four deck mixing with only 2 decks was incredible.


Well-known Member
Thanks for the bonus episode. A nice surprise.

My game changers -

1. My dad coming home with a cable to connect the VHS recorder to the B&O home system and listening to TV in stereo through nice speakers rather than the crappy TV one. Boom !!
2. Seeing a DVD play on a widescreen CRT at my local hifi shop (Stuart Westmorlands, Melton Mowbray). It was a few years before i could afford one but i stopped buying films i liked on VHS as i knew i'd be buying into DVD big time.

Honourable mention to the first night of broadcast of "BBC HD" showing Planet Earth (i think in DD as well?). Sure we already had upscaled DVD but this was a glimpse into the future of broadcasting...

All the best


Toon Army

Well-known Member
My game changers, many of which you covered in the podcast -

As with Meltonboy - hooking up my JVC VHS recorder with Nicam Stereo to an amplifier.

My first 5.1 setup - Kenwood AVR and Quad Lite speaker package.

Sky HD - The convenience, quality and number of programmes you could record. I used to have around 30 VHS tapes for all my recordings.

Ed - Thanks for the album recommendation, an excellent choice.


this changed my musical life .................about 40 years ago
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