What's the best home theater demo material?

The demo to end all demos…what’s yours? Come on, everybody has a killer disc to pull out when a buddy from work comes over for a brewski or when a relative you haven’t seen in years visits for a long weekend. Nothing wrong with showing off a little, especially considering how much time and money you’ve put in to your rig. And for the betterment of the greater home theater community, please take a moment to enlighten us in the Comments section below: We want names, chapter numbers and the lowdown on what makes your favorite demo so special.
What's the best home theater demo material?
Computer animated movie
22% (216 votes)
Action/adventure movie
57% (559 votes)
Concert video
10% (102 votes)
Discovery Channel-type documentary
8% (83 votes)
Current hit TV show
0% (4 votes)
Reality TV show
0% (0 votes)
Palladium, the high-def music channel
2% (20 votes)
Total votes: 984

thrillcat's picture

I go with something that people are watching on their own systems but don't know what is really possible. Everyone knows Terminator 2 and Avengers are going to be big, huge surround masterpieces. What a lot of people don't realize is the quality that they could be enjoying on a nightly basis with their favorite TV shows.

dnoonie's picture

Although I didn't vote for TV show's since there are few that truly have great video and audio I appreciate your perspective. I think that the limits of broadcast degrade the signal but there are some TV shows that look good on blu-ray.

What is a great TV show that could benefit from a great system? I really like Game of Thrones on blu-ray but have never seen a broadcast.

What broadcasts look the best? I have Dish and have discovered that all broadcasts don't look the same or record the same, some are most certainly less compressed. I find HDNET Movies to look better than other broadcasts but still prefer blu-ray.

Although I'd rather wait for blu-ray quality than sign up for HBO broadcasts...Does HBO look better than some other broadcasts?

If you could direct me to some forum links where this has been discussed already that would be great!!

Happy viewing and listening!!!!!

pantera1430's picture

I love to see people's faces when I pop in Open Range on DVD and play the DTS soundtrack. The opening scenes sound so good and the gunshots really sound incredible. Best of all its on DVD!!!!!

Kris Deering's picture
I have a few favorites of my own that I pop in. I love the escape scene from the first Kung Fu Panda film. Image is incredible and its a great surround/LFE demo as well. I love the Terminator Salvation sequence with the giant robot. Again spectacular visual quality, surround sound presence and bass. That is a really long scene too. I like scenes from films that combine many facets of what makes Home Theater so thrilling. Some like to focus on one aspect (bass, surrounds, picture), I love finding stuff that demonstrates the entire package. Can't wait to see more inputs!!
jnemesh's picture

While the quality of the entire movie is not so great, the opening sequence is action packed, features big, bass heavy explosions, good use of surround effects, and is immediately engaging. Even better, since the demo scene is at the very beginning of the movie, you don't have to waste time trying to find the right chapter! This was my "go to" surround sound demo for many years.

esappy's picture

While there are tons of movies to choose from to show off your system to, I find that I always go back to Master and Commander to wow the guests. Not only is it just a great flick to watch, the whole movie is a top notch demo. The first ten minutes of the movie is where it's at for demonstration. You get everything from dark interior scenes with outstanding contrast and subtle ambient effects from all directions to gorgeous exterior above deck scenes that make you want to sail the seven seas with the ensuing sea battle that makes you want to dive behind the couch for cover because you really believe you are being shot at! The best part for me though is when all the men are scrambling to get to quarters and you not only hear them running around you, but you can actually hear them running ABOVE you. And that is without having extra height channels. The sound designers for this movie really knew what they were doing and got it right.

dmineard's picture

Movie - Blu-Ray:
Skyfall 007. Lots of great sections to really bring out the best in your speakers and amps.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Again, many sections make great demo material.

DVD Audio:
Hotel California by The Eagles

Analog - LPs:

RTI Hotel California - The Eagles
The Beatles Abbey Road remastered by EMI
Blood, Sweat & Tears by ORG, 2 disc set @ 45 rpm. Check out And When I die, More and More, Spinning Wheel, You've Made me so Very Happy. Brings back many fond memories and turn up the volume and let your L & R channels do their thing.

Diana Krall, Live in Paris. Excellent smooth romantic music.

instybob's picture

Public Enemies - the shootout scene in the forest (Surround)
Speed - Bus explosion (messy bass)
Flight of the Phoenix - Crash scene
The incredibles - Most all action sequences (great separation)

instybob's picture

I meant the first bus explosion. Silly me.

Animal1984's picture

Movie for me would be, X-Men:First Class when Shaw shoots Erik's mom, and Tron:Legacy when Kevin gets sucked into the grid all the way up to when he gets rescued by Kara.

Music would be This Is It, the "Triller" sequence

utopianemo's picture

Ditto on The Incredibles, in particular:
Mr. Incredible's second encounter with the robot, from when he first walks into the boardroom to the point he ends up in the subterranean cave.

Mr. Incredible's re-entry into the compound, from when he jumps onto the tram car to the point he's recaptured

Mrs. Incredible's infiltration of the compound

My current favorite demo is Inception. The dynamics at the title sequence are amazing, as is the dunk scene--the bass is wicked as he goes under!

Lastly, I use the opening sequence to the Fellowship of the Ring Blu-Ray. The bass sweep when Sauron implodes is ridiculous.

dnoonie's picture

I like "The Dark Knight" opening scene for sharpness and clarity, particularly the IMAX footage. Although it has muted colors. Can't think of a good one for color right now...

notabadname's picture

You can't fail with Pixar. Brilliant and vibrant animation. Stunning detail in the fur and numerous kitchen scenes. Excellent and dynamic soundtrack, from the very first freeze-frame of the shotgun blast / leap out Grandmas window, to the chase through Paris. Everything about it says reference to me.

And, unlike many stereotypical choices (like the Transformers series) the film is a remarkably great story; emotionally moving, great action sequences and frequently hilarious.

Mongo's picture

A beautiful transfer of a beautiful film.
The scene in Rango when they're walking through the caverns with the torches is killer.

Outlaw1387's picture

Blade 1 - The opening club scene.
Predator 1- The forest scene chopping down the forest.
Matrix 1 - The Lobby shoot out scene.
Transformers 1 - The helicopter scene. First action scene.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Batman - Dark Knight - As mentioned earlier.
Underworld 1, many scenes.
The list goes on.

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