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05 June 2023

Dh95,000 agent of change

By Reena Amos Dyes




If you are a movie fan but deeply unsatisfied with the picture quality your DVD player gives you, maybe it is time you upgraded to Meridian Audio’s 800 series DVD player. That is if money is no objective, because this hand-made, customised player will set you back by a cool Dh95,000. And if you want to buy the complete home theatre system then be prepared to shell out millions of dirhams. So what makes Meridian Audio products worth so much money?


Bob Stuart, chairman and technical director of the award-winning company, said: “We have been in the business of designing and manufacturing high-end, high-performance entertainment systems for the past 30 years. In fact, we were one of the first companies in the world to commercially manufacture a CD player. So we have more than 25 years of expertise in the field of optical disc playback.


“The 800 series reference DVD player is one of our best-selling products. It’s the kind of product that our customers usually buy as part of a dedicated home cinema system, the cost of which can run into millions of pounds.


“This technical experience in acoustics and engineering, coupled with the use of the highest quality components and the fact that we control our own software, means that an 800 series player really is the performance gold standard. All Meridian products, including the 800 series DVD player, are designed and hand-built in the United Kingdom. “Our field installers will advise you on the best system for your needs. Then we build it to your exact requirements. When the system is fitted, the setup of your sound room is measured and recorded. As we build each of these players to order, you know you are buying something unique and individual.”


Along with Bob Stuart, the DVD player was designed by Allen Boothroyd, one of the UK’s leading industrial designers.


Together, Stuart and Boothroyd are one of the only design teams to have won three British Design Awards, and Meridian products regularly win awards for design as well as performance.


Stuart and Boothroyd’s first-ever product was extremely avant-garde in terms of design, and is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Explaining the concept behind the design and the technology used in the DVD player Stuart said: “The DVD was designed around the principle of a modular chassis. We are therefore able to offer different variants of the product, depending on the precise application, and we can also upgrade the product over time. The audio and video circuits are designed in a card-based format that can be configured exactly to your needs and can adapt to changing technology.”


Here are the specifications for technology freaks. The DVD incorporates a DVD CD-ROM Drive. The data is read asynchronously from the drive, buffered and de-jittered, ensuring perfect output timing independent of the performance of the drives or other sources. By fitting optional input cards, the 800 can be a full system controller or provide additional inputs to the system. Inputs can be analogue or digital, stereo or multi-channel. It also incorporates extensive DSP for resolution enhancement and other signal processing on the data stream.


The 800 provides Composite video, S-Video and Component video (Y, Pr, Pb) outputs in PAL or NTSC format suitable for driving virtually any television, monitor or projection system.


In addition to providing high-quality video, the 800 has the ability to help and control system feedback information through on-screen display.


It has up to 11 digital inputs, renameable legends, 32 to 96kHz sampling and up to 24-bit precision, 4x digital source outputs, normal or encrypted, PCM or compressed, and two to six channels of analogue output available balanced and unbalanced.


“We are driven by our desire to help people lose themselves in the movie and be totally immersed in the story rather than just watching a film. We have a large demonstration facility at our factory in Cambridgeshire. The usual reaction of people – after the initial moment of dumbstruck silence – is ‘I’ve never seen a film look and sound so good.”


“Most visitors really do leave this room changed people. It’s like the first time you drive a Ferrari or wear cashmere. There’s no going back after that.


“I actually saw one gentleman with tears in his eyes when we played the final chapter of the film Gladiator, which was fantastic because movies and music should be about creating an emotional response. As the owner of a Meridian DVD player, you will be living with this magic every day.”