Steve Withers (Twitter, Google+) is a professional calibrator and freelance journalist who regularly contributes to AVForums, reviewing audio and video products, writing articles, appearing on our podcast and presenting numerous videos.
Steve has been writing about audio and video products for nearly ten years and, along with AVForums, he also contributes to Tech Radar, Trusted Reviews, Pocket-lint, Home Cinema Choice, Stuff, and Wired.
Steve is a professional audio and video calibrator who is Level 2 certified with THX, the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and the Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). As such he remains abreast of all AV technology developments and the latest industry standards as we transition into a new era in home video and audio.
The JBL BAR 9.1 promises to deliver the complete object-based audio experience thanks to a 5.1.4-channel layout, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, wireless subwoofer, and detachable wireless rear speakers.
Dolby Vision IQ is the latest feature added to the company's dynamic metadata HDR format that now works in conjunction with a sensor in the TV, adjusting the tone mapping for the ambient light in the room.
Mini LED is a display development based on existing LED LCD TVs, but instead of hundreds of LEDs and dimming zones in the backlight behind the panel, there are tens of thousands of small (or mini) LEDs and thousands of local dimming zones.
The new REL S/812 is the latest subwoofer from the company and represents a complete transformation of its Serie S mid-sized range. The new model has been upgraded to incorporate elements of the high-end Reference Series, but also adds increased power and a redesigned driver for a seriously impressive performance.
The Focal Astral 16 is a high-end AV processor and amplifier that has 12 channels built-in, but can decode up to 16 for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. There's also Dirac Live and sophisticated web-based interface, but does it do enough to justify the hefty price-tag.
We put the new Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar soundbar through its paces before adding the Formation Bass subwoofer for extra low end, and then a pair of Formation Flex wireless speakers to create a full 5.1 system.