A home theatre system is an immersive viewing and listening experience. Excitement can get the better of you and you can find yourself in the deep end with what you need and what you should buy! A home theatre can be anything from a smart TV to a sophisticated built system with inwall and ceiling speakers. Whatever system is best for you, there is a lot of information to consider before you embark on setting up a system.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind.
1. The Room
The most important thing to consider is room size, it will determine the size and type of video display system, TV or projector and which is best to use. How much ambient light is present? Images can be washed out or result in screen glare if there is too much light present. Is the flooring carpeted? In particular, flooring is important, especially bass distribution through the listening area. Carpets absorb audio whereas hardwood floors can reflect audio!
Depending on how you want the room to look will determine where and how you place your components. Also, whether ceiling or in-wall speakers (and speaker placement in general) are best depends on what surround sound formats you will be most commonly use. How will your room be set up? This will determine the optimal screen size for the best visual experience. Before embarking on buying your actual home theatre system components, especially for a medium-to-high end system, it might be a good idea to consult with a home theatre installer to come onsite and assess your room and address the above questions.
2. The Video Display Device
The most important element of this experience is the visual experience of viewing a large image on a screen. The actual size of the room will help determine the size of the screen that can be accommodated. From there, you need to decide what type of video display device would be most appropriate. This is where you have a choice of:
A Flat Panel LCD or OLED. Also, you have a choice of TVs that can display 720p, 1080p, or 4K Ultra HD resolution images or a Video Projector/Screen Combination.
3. Audio Reproduction
Once you have your visual viewing equipment selected, the next thing to consider is sound! The way this is implemented in a home theatre system is either a home theatre receiver or Preamplifier/Amplifier combination. A Home Theater Receiver usually combines the functions of three components.
A radio tuner for AM/FM and, in some cases, HD (High Definition Radio), Internet Radio, or XM and/or Sirius Satellite Radio. A Preamplifier that switches and controls which audio and video source is selected and processes the incoming stereo or surround sound signals and distributes them to the correct amplifier channels and the subwoofer output. The preamp in an AV receiver can also route video signals coming from source components, such as a DVD player and direct the video signal to the TV. A built-in Multi-channel amplifier 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, or more, channels that sends the surround sound signals and power to the speaker system.
4. A Home Theater, AV, Surround Sound Receiver or Separate Preamp and Amplifier
The Home Theatre/AV Surround Sound receiver is the heart of a home theatre system and provides most, if not all, the inputs and outputs that you connect everything, including your television, into. A Receiver provides an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your home theatre system.
Loudspeakers can be determined again, by the size and layout of your room. The most important point to consider is to try and buy the same brand and related audio equipment to ensure a better acoustic match between the room and speakers. Consider listening to several types of speakers and setups to find out which is the best match for you and your room.
The advent of home theatre has introduced the Subwoofer to many consumers. A subwoofer is a specialized speaker that only reproduces the extreme low frequencies present in movies or music. There are several types of subwoofers you can use in a home theatre system, and, once again, the size and type of room, and issues such as whether the room is carpeted or not will help you determine which subwoofer is right for your setup.
6. Source Components
At a minimum, you need some type of DVD player for your home theatre system. Also, if you decide to get a Blu-ray Disc player to access true high definition source content, instead, or in addition to, a DVD player, you can also use it to play standard DVDs and, in most cases, audio CDs as well. Antenna/Cable/Satellite – Also, you need to decide how you will receive your primary television programming: Antenna, Cable, or Satellite. If you opt to subscribe to a Cable or Satellite Service, you might also consider combining that service with a DVR. DVRs provide a way to record your TV programs on a Hard Drive, rather than disc or tape.
Another home theatre source option is the Internet. If you have high-speed internet access, you can stream both music and movies, without having to buy a DVD or Blu-ray Disc.
7. Surge Protector
Although they are not foolproof, providing your system with some sort of surge protection is a good idea. You never know when you might have a sudden power outage, or even a brownout that may affect your system. Surge protectors are the unsung heroes of a home theatre system.
8. Connection Cables and Speaker Wire:
You can’t have a home theatre system unless everything is connected; whether you buy basic connection cables and speaker wire or the really high-end stuff. The main things to consider is to use the right type, right length, and to connect everything correctly.
9. Control Options
One of the most confusing parts of a home theatre system is not all components and the connections, but actually managing and controlling it. Each component in a home theatre system comes with its own remote, leading to a collection that can number half-a-dozen or more.
One solution is to opt for a sophisticated, but easy to use, universal remote that can control most of the functions of each of your components. After the initial hurdle of programming the remote for your system, such a device will enable everyone in the family to use the home theatre system without frustration.
You have a fancy home theatre system, now you need a place put your components, such as stands and racks, as well as some comfortable seating that will make you want to spend your time with your home theatre. Check out some home theatre seating options.