Home Is Where the Theater Is

TAP, TAP, TAP. . . is this thing on? We’re back! If you’re a print subscriber I’m sure you’re wondering what happened to the June/July issue of Sound & Vision so here’s the deal.

As the Covid-19 pandemic started to wind its way through the U.S. in March, a business decision was made by AVTech Media to take a pause and combine the magazine’s next two issues into a single “September” print issue, which hit newsstands in early August.

The move was a temporary austerity measure made in response to the escalating global health crisis, but we have now returned to our regular publication schedule. Apologies to readers who missed getting their bimonthly print fix of Sound & Vision. We hope you and your families are safe and healthy, and that your lives are starting to return to some form of normal.

What have we been up to? Like many of you, we’ve spent a little too much time at home of late. Fortunately — again, like many of you — we have well-outfitted home theaters, and those spaces have provided entertainment, distraction, and comfort over the crazy past few months. If there’s been any upside to what we’ve been through, it’s the reinforcement of the value of home A/V systems, and of tweaking them as near as possible to perfection.

On the personal front, I’ve been organizing my physical media collections and taking time out to appreciate the beauty of the packaging of certain Blu-ray and DVD box sets, as well as the many CDs and LPs I’ve acquired over the years. I’ve revisited favorite movies and TV programs, read liner notes, watched extra features, and listened to commentary tracks on discs. An old friend had the fantastic idea to make chronological playlists of music that inspired us at various points during our lives, and to share those lists with our close social circle.

For me, going down that rabbit hole was more than just a nostalgia exercise, but a way to seriously consider my past going back to childhood, when I first discovered Beatles LPs in a playmate’s parents’ collection. From that moment on, music was inextricably tied to specific events and phases in my life and making a playlist to document it all was akin to creating a personal soundtrack. Yes, it’s been a drag having to stay home, to worry, and to not be able to travel or to visit people. But the downtime has also provided time and space for much needed reorganization and reflection, something that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been asked to stay at home.

What did you do to pass time? Did you subscribe to any of the new streaming services (Peacock, HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, etc.), some of which seemed to pop up almost on cue after the lockdowns started? Create your own pandemic playlist? Most important, did you make any upgrades to your system(s) that improved A/V quality, and by extension your quality of life? Leave a comment to share your experience.

maxman43's picture

Watching a lot of YouTube videos.

jeffhenning's picture

Unlike a lot of people, my gig as a web designer didn't come nigh until June. By then, all the big stuff was done to make it a true 5.2 system, but it needed a bit more for it not to be an eye sore.

The last bit of hardware I picked up was a Nvidia Shield Pro for streaming and MKV playback. Not perfect, but it's decoding quality is tremendous even if some of the 3rd party apps are a touch flakey.

I've had Netflix in one way or another for 2 decades. I did, though, pickup Amazon & BritBox. I recently got the HBO Max app for free since I have HBO through Comcast.

And, of course, there is illegally downloading movie & TV MKV files that people, for some reason, love to post on torrent sites. About half of what I clandestinely download is stuff you can't get in the States.

I'm a bit of a fan of gritty, British and Aussie crime dramas.

I currently don't watch any US regular network comedies or dramas. I've seen that crap my whole life (I turn 61 in a week). Almost all of it's lame.

One show that I am revisiting is the original Star Trek on Netflix. I was a huge fan as kid in the 60's. The audio and video is several orders of magnitude better than I've ever experienced it (obviously, they're remastered with a lot of care). Also, most of the stories are both great and terrible ("Captain, I'm frightened."). The special effects just crack me up. It's the best mash up of truly wonderful and really bad I've ever seen.

jparrino@hotmail.com's picture

We understand the austerity measures, but it feels like we were left in the dark. You have the means of communicating with us (via this S&V Monthly Newsletter) so why didn't you?

Is the print version struggling? I/we hope not but if so, we're sorry for that and we are rooting for you.

All I/we'd ask is next time, let us know. We know many print magazines are in hard times. Most of us will understand.

frankturner915's picture

this covid 19 ruined all ours life.all businesses,all funs and our normal life end now whole world suffer due to this bullshit virus.but we have to fight back because this is we always do.fight and get out from all big and massive problems.My best wishes and regards to soundandvision team.keep fighting.bcs together we can make this world more beautiful.