CE Pro Europe sat down with Andy Jones, the home cinema category manager for Invision, to discuss the home cinema market and what Invision offers to installers.

Why do you think home cinema has increased in awareness and popularity in the last year/18 months?

Home cinema has been increasing in popularity for several years now, however, immerging technologies such as 4K UHD, and immersive 3D audio, have certainly captured clients’ imaginations and increased the number of project requests we receive at Invision significantly over the past 18 months. This I’m sure, in part is due to dealers re-engaging with their existing client database and explaining to them about these new technologies and how their systems could be upgraded to include them. Additionally, I believe that more people are viewing home cinema as an investment, not necessarily one that will add value to their property (although that would be nice too), but more an investment in time spent relaxing with their families enjoying the latest blockbuster.

Give an overview as to what Invision can offer the home cinema installer

Invision now offers a comprehensive portfolio of Home Cinema products, all available exclusively through us. We have a five-strong team of regional sales managers on the road who are available to discuss your home cinema requirements. To assist with specifying the most immersive and well-equipped home cinema our newly formed project sales team are available to give demonstrations, training and assist you with client consultations.

My knowledge has brought me to Invision as their category manager for home cinema where I offer specification support, quotations, CAD drawings and hosting training.

2017 is a very exciting year for us with our home cinema brands. We are currently in the process of creating some comprehensive, educational guides. Our first home cinema training day will be held on the April 12 and we have a number of other dates scheduled throughout the year.

Go into more detail through the brands and products that you offer in this sector, what are they, what are their performance characteristics and USPs?

Invision Cinema has an incredibly exciting portfolio of home cinema brands include; Anthem, Artnovion, JVC, Moovia, Procella Audio, Screen Innovations, Signature Seating, SIM2 and Trinnov Audio. With so many exciting brands and products it’s very difficult to pick out all the ‘hero products’, I don’t believe we have sufficient column space.

Artnovion is one of our most recent additions to our portfolio, they are driven by a passion for acoustics, performance and their eternal passion is to provide an amazing customer experience. Artnovion work hard to push the boundaries of acoustic engineering to create a unique collection of trendsetting & high-performance products. Their everyday mission is to drive innovation and engineer acoustic performance, combining these to create unlimited design possibilities. Artnovion offers a range of elegantly designed, beautifully engineered acoustic treatments including absorption, diffusion and bass trap panels. Standout products include the Alps Diffuser Panel, Sahara Absorption Panel and Eiger Tuneable Bass Trap, to name but a few. Artnovion also offers a design service where dealers can submit room details to Invision Cinema and receive back a document and quote detailing how the performance of the room can be expected to alter, where panels should be located and which panels should be used in accordance with their acoustic properties.

Moovia home theatre seating exemplifies the finest marriage of old-world craftsmanship and cutting-edge German mechanical engineering. What makes Moovia unique is threefold: quality, customization, and service. All Moovia models come with designs engineered by Lusch Engineering, one of the oldest and most trusted names in German mechanical engineering. In addition to having expertly engineered mechanics, models are manufactured with the finest leathers, woods and upholstery found in Europe. Moovia seating is truly bespoke with each seating being manufactured specifically for that individual project, accessories (which include customized lighting, temperature control/ventilation and more) complement Moovia’s luxurious materials to making Moovia a welcome addition to any Home Theatre.  Choose your favourite model and create your personal home theatre seating arrangement, according to what fits your taste and your needs best!

For clients looking for a more affordable seating solution, Signature Seating offers a great, cost effective solution, although options are strictly limited.

Screen Innovations offer by far and away the most exciting range of home cinema (and commercial) screens I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They have been pushing the boundaries of projection screen technology for decades, from the truly amazing ambient light controlling Black Diamond and acoustically transparent (woven) Maestro surfaces, to the exciting new Transformer multi-aspect screen and the ‘levitating’ Zero-G motorised screen, Screen Innovations can offer your clients the right projector screen solution for any installation, even those in space. Without a shade of a doubt the most exciting Screen Innovations product in my mind are the ambient light controlling surfaces, Black Diamond and Slate, these are ideal for multi-purpose rooms where ambient light is high and clients don’t necessarily wish to exclude this light, watching Wimbledon on a summers day with the windows open for example. Likewise, the Maestro acoustically transparent (woven) surface is ideal of dedicated cinema environments, as too is the Transformer multi-aspect screen recently on display at ISE 2017.

Anthem’s award-winning MRX Series of high-end multi-channel AV receivers are known the world over for their excellent sound quality, efficient power handling, and the ease with which they integrate into an entertainment system. The Anthem MRX 1120 offers support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats, and provides 11 channels of amplification, all within a single chassis. It’s a space-saving, cost-effective alternative to building a system from ‘separates’, i.e. a processor and separate external power amplifier(s). Additionally, ARC (Anthem Room Correction) is by far the best room correction software I have experienced at this end of the market. All Anthem receivers and processors include within the box a professional grade calibrated microphone and mic stand, and don’t rely on the internal processing limitations of the receiver/processor itself, instead using a laptop to crunch the numbers, enabling dealers to professionally fine tune and calibrate their client’s systems for them, providing documentation pre/post calibration for the client show they wish, this truly adds value.

In launching the NERO4 SIM2 recently became the first DLP manufacturer to launch a 4K UHD projector to market.  Using the very latest Texas Instruments DLP 4K UHD chipset the NERO4 offers exceptional 4K images, high brightness (up to 5000 ANSI lumens light output) and an accurate, vibrant colour palette.  SIM2 has consistently set new standards of performance and design in projection, allied with unprecedented innovation.

Finally, but by no means the least, Trinnov Audio designs and manufactures preamplifiers and processors featuring exclusive loudspeaker/room optimisation and 3D sound technologies for high-end Hi-Fi and home cinemas, professional studios and movie theatres.  The infamous Altitude has been the educated installers choice of audio processor since its release in 2014 and a set to continue this trend throughout 2017.   The only AV preamplifier with its own implementation of the latest 3D audio decoders: Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X, and the only manufacturer that doesn’t rely on third-party DSPs in order to support these latest 3D audio formats, software-oriented updates are provided over the internet, no DSP upgrade required. Finally, Trinnov supports any 3D speaker configuration regardless of format and decodes up to 32 discrete channels in Dolby Atmos.  This enables dealers to sell more loudspeakers (commonly the most profitable component of a system) to clients and deliver a truly cinematic experience no other manufacturer can currently offer.

Over the previous 12 months Procella Audo has expanded its product range offering, now offering dealers a comprehensive product line-up for any dedicated cinema and/or media room. All too frequently dealers think of Procella Audio as a product for dedicated cinema rooms only, but the introduction of the P5 series, including the P5 (bookshelf speaker), P5V (OnWall slim line speaker) and P5i/w (InWall) make these an attractive option for more modest environments too.  Offering the same compression driver technology as the larger P815’s LCR speakers, the P5 series, deliver exceptional performance, dynamic range and high output, in a small, discrete form factor, ideal for living rooms, media systems or dedicated cinemas.

Do you offer any training or technical support services in home cinema design, if so, tell us about them and how they enhance the package

Yes, very much so, we are currently in the process of writing a Home Cinema Training Programme that is aimed at both Sales and Technical staff.  This course is designed to educate dealers on the various elements of home cinema design, including larger format surround sound configurations that the Trinnov platform enables dealers to install.  The main aim of this course is to provide dealers with a good understanding of all things cinema, and most importantly provide them with the confidence to sell bigger and better systems.  The first date of our Home Cinema Training Programme will be held on 12th April. We also have a number of other scheduled dates throughout the year, so head over to our website to book your place now as spaces are limited.

Likewise as previously mentioned we aim to progress our internal staff training too which will allow us to offer even greater levels of support to dealers both pre/post sales.

Andy Jones is Invision’s home cinema category sales manager

Immersive surround sound with Dolby Atmos/Auro 3D etc is ‘the next big thing’, is this part of your offering? Why will it succeed where 3D largely failed

3D Immersive surround sound has actually been a major offering of Invision (and previously Anthem AV Solutions) for serval years, with a brand such as Trinnov Audio (the market leader in this field) positioned as our flagship offering, it’s difficult for this not to be the case.

3D ultimately failed in my opinion due to lack of studio support and content available for end-users, it doesn’t help either that in the home environment, in my eyes at least, it feels like an anti-social experience…  People have to adorn 3D glasses, this is uncomfortable and often impractical for people like myself that already wear glasses and typically people’s home displays aren’t sufficiently large enough to provide a compelling 3D experience like at the local commercial cinema.

3D Immersive surround, in contrast, is very different. Movie studios have embraced this technology and the amount of available content for consumers is significant, you only have to look at Sky Q’s recent announcement to support such technology to realise that 3D audio is here to stay.  Likewise, regardless of whether a client is watching content on a large format flat screen display or on the big screen in their dedicated home cinema, 3D audio if installed and calibrated correctly adds a huge amount to the overall enjoyment of the content.  Viewer can now truly experience vertical scale within a movie soundtrack and sound engineers can take advantage of this making an object fly from screen, out of frame and over the viewers head, before 3D audio this object would have simply surrounded the viewer, rather than make them feel as though they could reach and grab the object.

3D Audio is an exciting step forwards for the industry and I look forward to being involved in both 7.1.4 and larger scale Trinnov based system designs. 

4K/HDR/Dolby Vision are any of these technologies part of your home cinema offering?

Invision offer a number of products capable of supporting 4K UHD and HDR content, from the entry level JVC X Series projectors supporting 4K eShift4 technology to the DLA-Z1 native 4K projector and the SIM2 NERO4 DLP projector, all of which support HDR technology.  Additionally, SIM2, industry pioneers within the field of HDR (see SIM2 HDR47 commercial panel – launched 2009), showcased their industry leading HDR Duo projector at ISE ’17 to stunned audiences.

“I’m impressed with SIM2’s approach to implementing HDR to projection technology, the power of the SIM2 platform, and the wider colour capability associated with it,” says Kane. “The direction they are taking is higher in light output than the current implementation of HDR in digital cinema … I worked with SIM2 to put in place my knowledge and scientific approach. The outcome from this intense activity is beyond my best expectations.”

Likewise the Anthem MRX / AVM series product offer full HDMI video switching supporting HDMI 2.0a / HDCP2.2 with 4:4:4 Subsampling at 4K60 (18.2 Gbps), High Dynamic Range (HDR), BT.2020 Colour Gamut, 4K 50/60 Switching, and On-Screen Display at 4K 50/60.

These products offer dealers the ability to offer clients the very latest technologies with ease of install and a great team backing them offering support (where required) every step of the way.