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Why Won’t Audiophiles Add A HDTV To Their System?

by Jerry Del Colliano April 25, 2022
RBH Sound SVTRS Active Speaker System

RBH Sound SVTRS Active Speaker System

Years and years ago, I started an audiophile site to go along with HomeTheaterReview.com for two reasons. The first was that, at that time, I had a saleswoman working for me with decades of audiophile contacts she thought would want to work with us. The second was a hunch that certain audiophile clients were so stuck in their ways that when they heard the word “home theater” that they ultimately turned off to the concept of advertising with us. Time proved us to be right on both fronts. Stereotypically, audiophiles don’t really like home theater. Digging deeper - traditionalists would never pollute their pure audiophile rigs with video, AV preamps, surround sound speakers and all the other goodies that go with a home theater. I get their long-standing view even though I don’t personally agree.

The issue that I have with audiophiles today as we so badly need to evolve for a new generation of music lovers and technology enthusiasts is: why won’t audiophiles put a UHD-TV anywhere near their main speakers?

demo room

At any regional audiophile show, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of rooms full of audio displays jammed into tiny rooms. Often the TV is relegated to another, meaningless part of the room or removed completely along with the bed and most of the other furniture. Why?

Are you telling me that the sonic impact of a physical TV back behind a pair of glorious floorstanding speakers is SO powerful that it will affect the sound more than say the 10 other speakers with vibrating drivers even when they aren’t hooked up? Do you think the TV will degrade the imaging or “first order reflections” more than the endless howl of the hotel HVAC system or the clanking of the nearby ice machine? Not a chance there friends. Last, how about the sound of all the people talking (even quietly) in the audiophile hotel demo room? That’s likely messing up the sound experience more than anything.

It is time to get over the audiophile hang-ups about integrating a television, be it at a show or in your listening room at home.

Simply put, the joy and entertainment that video (even in two-channel or 2.1 playback) can bring outweighs any possible, slight sonic effect. In fact, I don’t think even the most golden-ear of mastering engineers could hear the difference in a room with a 65 inch Samsung Frame hung on the back wall of a well-treated audiophile room. I am sorry. I would bet big that they couldn’t hear the sonic effect or agree that they are worth pulling the set out of the room.

Today’s music creatively has its ups and downs, to be polite. Today’s television content has never been better thanks to streaming. I remember the days of bumping into Rick Rubin and other music industry giants at midnight on Monday (actually, it just turned Tuesday morning) at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard to buy, say the new Peter Gabriel or Rush record that was released THAT NIGHT so that we all could take it home and rock out in Hollywood until the sun came up. Today, in a more modern era, I feel the same urgency about the show Billions and so many other shows, almost all of which are on mainstream streaming services. The best talent (actors, writers and directors) work on streaming platforms. Sorry network TV, we’re no longer in an era where there is a stigma about going from movies to television. The best content is streaming in 4K right into your Roku or Apple TV. Why wouldn’t Sons of Anarchy, or Breaking Bad, or Better Call Saul, or Succession, or Ray Donovan, sound better through your Krell and Wilson setup than via a soundbar or small theater in another room?

I don’t know how many of us can justify $100,000 for a roll-up OLED TV like LG’s OLED-R, but it is cool and it would solve so many of the historical concerns about TVs in audiophile rooms.

3-EpsonProjector

A traditional video projector and a roll-down screen also can be an effective solution for those audiophiles who just can’t wrap their minds around the idea of ANYTHING other than acoustical treatments being permanently installed on the wall behind their speakers. Today’s “low-cost projectors” are stunningly good at $2,000 to $3,000 and get even better with more investments. Roll-down screens can be hidden in your dry wall and only be used when needed. They also can have enough gain to allow daytime video enjoyment too. Projectors, with a little help from a handyman or an AV installer, can be hidden in a modestly priced drop-down lift in the existing stud bay in your listening room’s ceiling with little fuss or muss.

1-SamsungFrame

Future Thoughts on the Audio Hobby

My personal favorite option for audiophiles, as I own two of them, is the Samsung Frame which has been very popular for the brand and lifestyle users. The video performance of the set is fantastic, but it is the customizable “picture frame” aesthetic that draws people in. Samsung has made them better and better. They’ve improved their “art collection” that you can buy as a screen saver and the cost has gone down. They really look good installed in your room.

There are a lot of options for video in a modern audiophile room if we dare to expand our horizons.

It is time to start thinking about the future of the hobby, a hobby that has some pretty silly rules and tendencies. Television content is better than the movies and creatively more important than today’s popular music. Try arguing with that when playing the new Lady Gaga record over watching the season finale of Billions.  I know, you can’t make that argument can you?

Let me go one deeper… what if your significant other wanted to spend more time in your listening room (and with you) if you could watch a show or two together? Would they understand your investments in audio more if they experienced the benefits? I bet they would.

It is time to take traditional audiophile system configurations to the next level. Are you game?  

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

sterling shoote posts on May 21, 2022 06:31
The most satisfying means to recorded music I have discovered is from a Sony UBP-X800M2 Universal Player, playing DSD from stereo SACDs via HDMI to a Marantz NR1200 2.1 Receiver used in preamp/DAC role. This arrangement requires a monitor to control playback. I also need a monitor to enjoy some OPPO-205 functions. I do not get any pleasure from the monitoring requirement. It's a hassle and in fact, as I recall, to enjoy music copied from FLAC purchases to flash drive requires about 16 operations to begin listening to the music, which does nothing to preserve my mood for whatever music I want to enjoy. At any rate, mostly these days, I enjoy Apple Music via usb connection to a Parasound Preamplifier/DAC. A monitor is needed for this means to music but enhances pleasure, aiding navigation to desired music from iMac, or iPhone used as a remote.
lovinthehd posts on May 16, 2022 20:31
Androski, post: 1557609, member: 98727
I'm very late to this party but would like to share my own personal perspective. When I'm “watching” something, I'm unable to focus on the sound and so, when I listen to music, I prefer not to be distracted by any visual stimuli. After all, I'm a guy and I can't do more than one thing at a time. For home theatre, which I do enjoy, sound quality isn't that important because I'm unable to simultaneously process both stimuli. The visual takes precedence, so audio is secondary. And vice versa. So, for me, if I'm listening to music, I just want unadulterated music. If I'm watching a movie, I still like to have immersive sound, but the quality is not that important since I'm much less likely to notice it unless I can't hear what is being said. For those who can do both, more power to them! Let them enjoy it. Let them eat cake! But for me, I just want bread.
Yet it's easy enough to turn off the display when listening to music if there's no relevant video information at the moment…..but harder to do the reverse (i.e. when no display is available)…
Androski posts on May 16, 2022 20:23
I'm very late to this party but would like to share my own personal perspective. When I'm “watching” something, I'm unable to focus on the sound and so, when I listen to music, I prefer not to be distracted by any visual stimuli. After all, I'm a guy and I can't do more than one thing at a time. For home theatre, which I do enjoy, sound quality isn't that important because I'm unable to simultaneously process both stimuli. The visual takes precedence, so audio is secondary. And vice versa. So, for me, if I'm listening to music, I just want unadulterated music. If I'm watching a movie, I still like to have immersive sound, but the quality is not that important since I'm much less likely to notice it unless I can't hear what is being said. For those who can do both, more power to them! Let them enjoy it. Let them eat cake! But for me, I just want bread.
jhaider posts on May 10, 2022 09:55
shadyJ, post: 1554288, member: 20472
I would say most audiophiles are adding video displays to their systems nowadays. Only the guys who are so stuck on older physical media are eschewing video displays, since displays would not add much to the experience of vinyl or CDs or whatever.

Not necessarily. For example, we intentionally don’t have a TV in our formal living room (which does have 2 main speakers and 4 small subs) because…we don’t want TV in that room. It’s a space for interacting with humans, not staring at a screen. Besides, there’s an immersive setup (with TV) in the family room down the hall.

While there is a turntable in the room - again, social aspect - the primary source for that is AirPlay streaming from iPhones, which brings up a second reason not to have a TV in a social room system - control becomes a PITA. Instead of easy, universal control - select AirPlay zone, hit play in the Apple Music app you use for all your music, and the streamer/pre turns on, triggers the power outlets for DSP controller and amps, and plays music - you have to mess with remotes or even worse juggle apps on your phone just to use the thing.

I suspect many people are similar - one room for immersive audio with screen, maybe a 2-channel system with nice speakers in another room that’s either a relatively public facing space or a private retreat in a spare room, and some sort of zone audio setup for other rooms.
panteragstk posts on May 04, 2022 16:48
MR.MAGOO, post: 1554311, member: 77706
Audiophiles love music, not movies, that's why they're AUDIO-philes.

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