Okay, it should be clear that I liked Arcam's design a lot, but it ain't perfect. The handsome remote is simple, with intelligently laid-out controls, and for the most part it's easy to use. But its sexy blue-on-silver key illumination is ergonomically less than brilliant; in fact, I found it simply unreadable, in dark or light conditions, without glasses.
And of course, the Solo Movie wouldn't be British without a couple of quirks. A minor one is that onscreen display of DVD chapter/time/title data requires a "shift-Info" remote key sequence - cumbersome for so often-used a feature. (I tend to check about every 90 seconds to see how much longer Hollywood plans to make me suffer.) And on a few occasions, the Solo Movie hiccupped when switching between an external source and its internal player as it played an audio disc, displaying only half of the disc-info video screen on its graphic interface. (Re-switching always corrected the problem.)
Most of us don't use much more than the Volume, Open/Close, and Play commands with any regularity. In that light, and with its quirks aside, the Arcam Solo Movie 5.1 DVD receiver is a magnificent simplification. It delivers the sound and the video of an honest high-end home theater, in a European-sized helping. And it does so with elegance both visual and operational, along with a savings in shelf space. This all comes at a price, of course. But its combination of looks, function, simplicity, and performance is one that many design-conscious buyers should happily embrace.
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