Could you imagine paying more than $11,500 for a TV? A leading Canadian electronics retailer currently lists several models of 85-inch to 100-inch (215 cm to 254 cm) TVs from $12,000 to a cool $100,000. 

In the late 1930s, however, the equivalent of $11,500 today would buy you only a 12-inch (30 cm) screen. When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) started broadcasting in 1952, there were less than 150,000 TV sets in the country. Thirteen years later, 92% of Canadian homes had televisions–there were more TVs in homes than telephones or installed bathtubs.

There’s simply no comparison between the technology of TV’s golden age with the custom world of the latest TV technology. Along the way, we saw the birth of cable television, whose death throes may or may not be currently underway. 

The biggest revolution isn’t in the programming, given reruns of shows from decades-past are still in high demand on the newest streaming services (we see you, fans of Friends, The Office and Seinfeld). It’s the home theatre tech upon which we view these “golden oldies” today: we’ve come a long way from those first black-and-white cathode ray tube TVs. 

As always, we have you covered when it comes to the trends in home theatre tech coming up in 2023. If you’re thinking about your own home theatre installation for the next big game or movie release, read on for more information on the specs you should be paying attention to.

Smart TV
Image via Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The video image

The picture, first and foremost, defines the difference between TV and radio. While the viewer of the 1950s may have been happy with a recognizable image, today even affordable screens have levels of resolution and brightness that eclipse TV tech from just 20 years ago and smart TV features are now part of the mainstream models. 

In 2023, the state-of-the-art TVs use organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) and quantum dot LED (QLED) technology. Without getting too deep into the geek-level technical differences (which are substantial), it’s safe to say that the best-looking TV displays on the market today use one of these two systems. QLED is a variation of LED and LCD screens, relying on an LED backlight. OLED, on the other hand, is a completely different type of technology than LCD. QLED picture quality can vary from device to device, while OLED TVs are known to be fairly consistent. QLED displays can get brighter than OLED displays, while OLED offers better viewing angles—which is ideal if you have seating on all sides of the room rather than just directly in front of the screen.

For sizing, the average TV size in Canada ranges from 42 to 75 inches. Most people are leaning towards the larger end of that spectrum these days, but it depends on your situation. If you’re setting up in a smaller room where the TV and couches will be fairly close together, a larger screen may be more difficult to take in and feel overwhelming. 

In terms of cost, a 65” QLED Smart TV will run you anywhere from $1,700 to $2,200 (depending on where you buy from and the brand you choose). A 65” LED Smart TV is significantly cheaper, running between $800 and $1,200. 

Home Theater Speakers

A feast for the ears

It’s still common to find TVs with excellent images matched with speakers providing audio that’s not much beyond the string-and-tin-can level of fidelity. It goes without saying you’ll need to turn up your home audio setup, even with a brand new TV.

For home theatre audio, the buzzwords for 2023 are “acoustic treatment” and “immersive audio.” One of the biggest challenges for any home theatre is the acoustic properties of the room. Unfortunately, the parallel surfaces of the average rectangular room typically create adverse listening conditions. 

Acoustic treatment helps to alter these conditions by absorbing parts of the audio spectrum, preventing resonant spots in a room, called nodes. When your ears coincide with a node, you might hear a dominant frequency or have the range of speech completely blocked. It’s not surprising acoustic treatment products are often made of foam or other absorbent materials. Placement in corners, side walls, and behind speakers can make a dramatic difference. 

Immersive audio is again a technology that’s loaded with heavy science. Like OLED and QLED, it boils down to the final experience, and the kicker is that immersive audio sounds fantastic. If you understand stereo sound, you know you can hear sounds that seem to originate anywhere between a pair of speakers. 

Using a concept called object-based sounds, home theatre audio-visual (AV) receivers can now provide 3D surround sound without the need of speakers placed throughout the room. Object-based sounds, or object-based audio is complex, but ultimately it has to do with how the sounds are mixed together. Instead of having all the sound channels processed together, they’re individually treated and distributed, creating a unique listening experience. But all you need to really know is having surround sound is much easier now, and requires far less equipment. 

Sound bars and systems can range anywhere from $120 to well over $2,000—it all depends on exactly what you’re looking for. A typical living room theatre set up likely doesn’t require the loudest possible sound system, but a basement theatre you’ll want to deck out to the max. This comparison rundown from Living Etc. is a good starting point for determining which sound system works best for you.

Comfortable Home Theatre Recliner

Creature comforts

If you’ve been to a cinema in the past few years, you’ve likely enjoyed to-die-for recliners and scoops of indulgence beyond the sights and sounds of the movie. Theatre chairs are their own class of furniture product now, a series of connected recliners separated by wide armrests. 

Cup holders and tray tables, curved rows, built-in LED lighting, USB charging ports, heating and massage options, and power reclining are all features in the available options section. Taking it over the top, you can add bass shakers to your seating. When it’s not enough to simply hear earth-shattering sound, you can now literally feel it with devices that transfer low-frequency rumble into vibrations you can feel. 

You could also opt for the viral ‘cloud couch’ which is said to be “the world’s most comfortable sofa.” It’s been trending on TikTok as people love sinking into the slip-covered cushions, designed to feel like you’re sitting on a cloud. 

Planning and Designing the Perfect Home Theatre Space

Planning and Designing the Perfect Home Theatre Space

Planning and Designing the Perfect Home Theatre Space

Of course, not every home has the space to dedicate to a home theatre. You may need to time-share movie viewing with other functions, but who really wants a 60-inch black hole on a living room wall while entertaining guests? The cabinet or barn door idea is past its prime. In 2023, ideas like pop-up TVs or retracting mirrors are gaining acceptance. 

You can also look to the TV to hide itself. Gallery modes turn high-end screens into customizable art, switching to static images when you shut down after the movie credits. Even when you know about the features, it’s easy to be astonished at how your screen blends with the decor. 

Factors like the pandemic and fast cinema-to-streaming times changed the way we think about movies as entertainment, so the home theatre trend is here to stay and technology continues to refine the experience. Happy viewing! 


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