It's cold and dark outside, and as we put the Christmas decorations away for another year, the walls look a bit bland and sparse. New Year's resolutions might not be your thing, but glorious, crisp, 4K resolution absolutely should be. And what better excuse to stay home and get stuck into all the telly you've been missing out on with an upgraded TV?
But how to set about your research? Well, might we humbly suggest the latest issue of What Hi-Fi? as your starting point? Out today in both print and digital form, it'll ensure your January knowledge on all things home cinema and hi-fi is in top nick.
Ultimate panel show
Reading What Hi-Fi? is to join us on our quest for the best in hi-fi and home cinema. We toil away in our testing facilities, analysing, reviewing and listening, to some of the best kit around. Sometimes, a product comes close to brilliance, but we never know when a true, five-star diamond in the rough will reveal itself.
But this month, we've only gone and found the holy grail – the best 4K TV we've ever tested! It's one of a whopping ten products reviewed in our First Tests section – our in-depth look at all things new in AV and hi-fi.
This particular TV features rear-mounted, upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers and yes, it's an OLED, but the display has been given a few tweaks thanks to Hollywood colour grader Stefan Sonnenfield. And in case we haven't mentioned it, it's not an LG. No, really. Even the most avid University Challenge lover has never seen a panel quite like it.
Will the couples please take to the floor...
The stage is set, the music is cued, Tess and Claudia are standing in the wings and seven couples are poised to wow us with their timing, agility, dynamic prowess, expressiveness and, er, top line. Think of it as the missing Paso Doble-thon from Strictly this year.
For us, finding the best floorstanders for your honest buck is as serious as the reverse fleckerl is to Anton du Beke, or the cucaracha is to Shirley Ballas. Quite simply, it's our bread and butter, our raison d'etre.
Neat Iota Alpha, Wharfedale Evo 4.4, B&W 603, Dali Oberon 5 and Fyne Audio F501 are here to name but a few. We've even dusted off our equivalent of the ten paddle here, because if a set of floorstanding speakers is that good, we want you to know about it.
In-ears at dawn: Apple vs Sony
The most feature-rich true wireless in-ears now come with added active noise-cancelling technology – but there's only room for one victor in true wireless town. As pioneers of the true wireless tech, Apple is currently enjoying a generous slice of the action with its latest offering, the AirPods Pro.
Sony stepped out at dawn with its similarly-priced WF-1000XM3 true wireless buds, taking the title of 'best AirPods alternative' – and leaving the main prize of best true wireless in-ears headphones up for grabs.
So who will win when the two go head to head under intense review conditions? One set of buds is £20 cheaper, but we'll tell you which sharpshooter gets our nod.
Big dreams, video streams
Feeling financially challenged after the festive period? That doesn't mean you can't add an extra something to your televisual tool kit – and your new year viewing pleasure. Doing so can cost as little as £30, if you know where to look.
A trio of five-star streamers lead the way in this special video streamer round-up, including popular models from Roku, Amazon, Apple and Now TV. Are they worth the outlay? We'll give you all the details in the February issue of What Hi-Fi?.
Legend of the game
In the world of hi-fi, one name has dominated – and indeed shaped the sound of – consumer audio products for the past 40 years.
If the name Marantz means anything to you (and if you love hi-fi, it almost certainly does), we invite you to join us in celebrating the achievements of the engineering great, Ken Ishiwata, who sadly passed away at the end of last year.
Even if you never had the pleasure of his captivating, impassioned speeches, his hi-fi show demos or his eclectic choice in suits, set-ups and music genres, you've probably owned a piece of equipment Ishiwata had a hand in developing.
Our Insider section this month remembers a creative, music-loving legend through some of his best and most interesting Marantz products. Thank you, Mr Ishiwata.
I got five on it
When it comes to wires and smart speakers, less is most definitely more. The five contenders we've put through their paces for our Group Test this month boast all of the multi-functional extras you could hope for between them, but naturally there can only be one winner.
Once the sound per pound value of the Sonos One, Apple HomePod, Audio Pro Addon C5 and newbies Amazon Echo Studio and Bose Home Speaker 300 has been calculated, which will reign supreme? You'll have to read the latest issue to find out.
And that's not all! As we embrace 2020, you'll also find our top ten products from the past decade in our Ten of the Best feature, plus a range of pricey but beautiful kit in our regular Temptations section. We'll even take a moment to party like it's 1999 with the excellent Wilson Benesch A.C.T. One floorstanders, in our That Was Then special.
Finally, let's not forget our regularly-updated and extensive Buyer's Guide. Looking to furnish your home with some new equipment? Do yourself a favour and begin your search here.