By Patrick Biz
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
There are a number of reasons why HDTV and home theater gear are now mainstream: prices of Plasmas and LCDs screens have dropped considerably; personal video recorders (PVR) have kicked VCRs out of the living room; the offering of HD channels is growing rapidly; and Blu-Ray has officially buried its strongest contender, HD-DVD.
If you have recently purchased a home theater system, the next essential step is getting yourself a few DVD titles to show off your new toys, and impress the sexy chicks / stud who come over for a Friday-night movie.
Here’s a list of 5 killer titles sorted by genre.
Note: Since upconverting DVD players are doing a very respectable job, I’ve included links to both DVD and Blu-Ray Amazon pages.
Documentary: Planet Earth
If you would ask me to choose the ultimate Blu-Ray and DVD title to own for showing off your HD set, I’d recommend Planet Earth hands-down. This is the best nature and wildlife documentary series ever produced. Filled with oohs, ahhs and wows, BBC’s Planet Earth contains hours of breathtaking shots and scientific facts to blow you away.
Kids fall head over heels for computer-animated films à la Pixar, so they deserve a title for showing off your HD set. And there are so many great films available in this category, that it was difficult to decide which one would make the final cut. Ratatouille, Meet the Robinsons and Happy Feet are all spectacular. But when geeky dads want to demo the family home theater, Lightning McQueen and his friends are their best bet, with racing scenes that feel as if you were in the middle of a Nascar race.
Horror: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem
While this one would also fit in the Science Fiction category, I think it’s better suited under Horror, because it’s truly horrifying. Alien vs Predator will not demo spectacular images, but that’s ok considering that it’s the DTS-HD sound that will make your drywall wish it were sold to a library. If you’ve invested big bucks in a top notch sound system, wake up the neighbors to the sound of Aliens vs Predator – Requiem, a real treat for subwoofers.
Science Fiction: The Fifth Element
Released in 1997, Luc Besson’s Fifth Element is a cult sci-fi movie. Used by Sony as a demo disk for a long time, the Blu-Ray version will produce amazing colors on your HDTV display. This is truly a win-win as you will have both a great movie to show off, and an excellent addition to your film collection.
Action: Casion Royale
The latest James Bond, Casino Royale, feels like it was made for HD. The lighting and photography combined with post-production picture processing create astonishing results on high-definition televisions. If you need a little assurance that your home-theater purchase was a good one after the credit card statement comes in, pop in Casino Royale and let Daniel Craig and his crew do their job.
On a final note, if you are a big HDTV nut, don’t forget to subscribe to the HDTV Podcast featuring the HT Guys. This biweekly podcast covers everything you need to know about home theatre and HDTV.