What Is A Home Theater System?
What Is A Home Theater System?
Picture the last time that you went to the movies and the last movie that you saw. Remember how you felt watching that movie, what was that like?
If you’re anything like most people, then it was probably exhilarating and engaging but why? What is it that makes it so fun; is it the super large screen, or the heart pounding bass?
Well both, and then some. It’s the combination of exceptional picture and sound that makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable. Now picture being able to have that without even having to go to the movies in the comfort of your own home.
That’s what Home Theater is.
Cool, What Do I Need?
Now there is a lot that can go into this admittedly, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
That’s where this site comes in to help. Now you could ask yourself, what is the best home theater system? Or even, do I need a home theater system? Well to answer to the first question, this should definitely help.
But in regards to the other one well…I’d say it depends. How often do you watch media and/or play any sort of games?
That would be a big factor and if it’s even remotely often, then I’d definitely recommend it.
Trust me when I say this, it’ll improve your game and movie watching experience dramatically. So what exactly do you need to get started? Not much actually and for simplicity’s sake along with time, I’ll only cover the absolute basics for right now.
That way you can get started right away and know what you’ll need. 😉
So the first thing you’re going to want is a screen to view the content on obviously ( do note that if you’re happy with the screen you have now, then by all means feel free to stick with that)
Now there are two ways to go about finding a screen should you be in the market for a new one, by either considering a television or a projector.
Whether one option is better than the other is subjective and depends on the item, so this is what I would recommend honestly.
If you’re interested in watching on the biggest screen absolutely possible, and you have the space and money for it, go for the projector.
It’ll wind up being a better value over the TV IF you’re trying to go as big as possible (85 inches and up) But in order for a projector to be the most effective, just remember that you’ll want your viewing environment to be as dark as possible so that the image isn’t washed out.
Projectors use what are known as lumens as basically a measure of their peak brightness. To keep it simple, the more lumens the better.
This would be a really good value projector and screen if you’re going that route.
However if you have a moderately sized viewing area, and you’re really not all that interested in going too big, just stick with a TV that you think is appropriate for your viewing conditions since in that case, that’ll be the most comfortable for you.
Some great brands to definitely consider would be Samsung, Sony, LG, and even Vizio.
Another thing to consider if you’re getting a new TV is something you’ll most likely run into called 4K. To put it as simple as possible, 4K is an entirely new format all together.
Basically it’s the next big step up from high definition TV with 4 times the pixels. If you’re curious about that, I actually covered it here;
If you need some help deciding on which TV to get, this should definitely help.
Next thing you’ll want is sound!
Since there are quite the number of options though, I’ll cover them for you. One option you could take would be going the Home theater in a box (or HTIB as it’s so often abbreviated) option.
A home theater in a box usually has 5 speakers, 2 that go on the left and right up front, a center channel speaker that goes in the middle, and 2 speakers situated to the side of you for surround sounds like birds chirping, or people talking in the background.
You’ll usually see a label on the box stating that it’s 5.1 though, and the 1 is for the subwoofer.
A subwoofer is different from the other speakers in that while they’re usually concerned with things like dialogue and ambient noises, the job of the subwoofer is to recreate the low noises like bass and stuff like that.
So when say a car crash or explosion happens on screen, it will create that rumble that makes the experience that much more immersive and enjoyable. Why would someone choose this option?
Well a few reasons, as there are some positives and negatives to consider should you go this route (this is what I started with personally when I was younger by the way)
A few of the positives are that virtually every big chain store or large supermarket more than likely has one, so it would not be hard to find one.
They’re also usually much cheaper than if you were to build your own , so that’s definitely a plus.
Another awesome thing is they’re also pretty easy to set up, so you won’t be too confused getting started.
The manuals are usually pretty straightforward so it probably only requires plugging a few things in. Now for the negatives; the first major one being quality.
What’s The Catch?
When you buy one of these all in one systems, especially at a cheaper rate, there’s a good chance that quality of the actual components themselves might not be the greatest and could possibly crap out on you depending on which you choose.
I would definitely be cognizant of that. Also note that by choosing this option, unfortunately sound quality might take a hit.
Now don’t get me wrong, any one that you choose will obviously sound way better than your standard television speakers.
There are also some great HTIB options that sound exceptional, but there’s a good chance it might not, leading credence to the days old adage of “you get what you pay for.”
Just be careful is what I’m saying, and if you really want your experience to be the best possible, there might be some better choices for your money.
But again that’s going to depend on your budget. Personally I’d say if your budget is around 300 and under, you should probably go this route.
Considering the fact I actually owned and enjoyed the following system, this would be a really good one to get honestly.
Along with that, I did an article on some you’ll also want to consider as well.
If you can afford to spend a little more, I’ll cover some possibly better options for you. So what are some other options? Well the next option would be something called a sound bar.
A Soundbar/Stereo Setup Might Work
A sound bar is different from a HTIB because it isn’t a set of different speakers that you need to set in different places, it is just like the name suggests, a long bar where the sound comes from.
All of the speakers are inside this bar, and in some cases they include a subwoofer to go with it.
So again why would someone choose to buy this?
Well there are some positives and negatives to consider (aren’t there always?)
So the first big reason you might want to is that compared to a 5.1 system, it’s going to save space.
Lets hypothetically say you don’t have enough space for 5 speakers and a sub, well in this instance, simply putting the sound bar in front of the TV is going to save you space so this might be something you want to consider; it’ll also be less wires so there’s that.
Sound wise it could be better or worse sounding than a 5.1 system depending of course on the speakers, however one caveat of a sound bar lies with its design itself.
Since it’s a bar and not separate speakers in varying places, the one thing it will most likely have trouble with compared to the traditional set up, is that since the sound is only coming from one direction and not from multiple angles, it will have a really tough time with surround sound.
It will probably be really easy to tell where the sound is coming from and could technically make it a little less immersive depending on how much you care about something like that.
Of course, there are sound bars out there that utilize technology to simulate the feeling of sound coming from multiple directions, however they’re typically a lot more, and at that point you might as well go the more traditional route of 5.1.
Still if space is something that you’re really concerned with then this might be the most appropriate option for you.
Here’s an article I recently did that actually goes over some of the best soundbars you might want to check out.
Then there is the option of or 2.1 and 3.1 (one left and right speaker for the former, and a center plus a left and right speaker for the latter with both having a subwoofer)
This where it gets tricky because you have the option of just getting a sound bar or wanting to do 2.1/3.1 or even stereo.
Honestly if you’re not interested in having surround speakers for whatever reason be it space, money, etc. then just go with the speaker option since you could probably find a quality pair of speakers and or cheap subwoofer for the price of a sound bar (with it sounding better to boot!)
Surround Sound Goodness
Now what about the people who don’t care for space and have a larger to unlimited budget? (Lucky you) Well this is where it gets fun because it opens up to an entirely different beast.
Of course there’s 5.1, but then there’s something called 7.1 where there’s an additional 2 speakers behind you, 9.1, 11.1 etc. (speakers everywhere)
For simplicity sake if you’re starting out, just stick to 5.1 or 7.1 honestly, and just upgrade as time goes on.
Here’s a few I highly recommend if you plan on going this route.
Believe it or not, there’s also set ups where 2 or more subwoofers are used.
You might wonder “why in the world would I want more than one of those things?!”
Well don’t worry, it won’t magically raise the volume drastically, but what it will do is make the bass smoother throughout the room so it’ll sound better, as long as your receiver supports that.
If you need help choosing one, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Speaking of which, you’ll want a receiver which looks like this.
To make it easy think of it this way, the receiver is like the main hub where everything is processed and sent out to smaller nodes, aka your speakers.
From there of course you get sound! This is where you can adjust the individual speaker volume, speaker distance etc.
So if anything, the receiver that you get will actually matter, since different receivers can process the sound differently, and usually offer different eq (equalization) or calibration settings.
Here’s more on that to help clarify what I mean.
Hopefully this helps offer a basic understanding though as to just what the heck a home theater is, and now you feel just a little more confident in what you may want to do in regards to your particular situation.
Here’s some of my recommendations by the way, based on my own personal experience.
Guess What? There’s More!
Believe it or not, there’s a whole lot more to consider and know about, including how to set up your own home theater system, terminology, and even looking at what the best movies for a home theater are; but it’ll be broken into individual segments so it’s an easier read for you.
Don’t worry we’re going to cover all of that and so much more in the future, so stick around for that. In the mean time I really do hope this helps some, and if you personally have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Until next time guys, take care.