I love the movie theater experience. The large screen that sucks you into the story. The sound that literally shakes your seat and comes at you from all sides. The darkened room. As I get older though, budget, family and other responsibilities keep me from going to the theater as much as I would like. So how about the next best thing–bringing the theater going experience to you. I am talking about home theaters.
Who wouldn’t want a crystal clear picture, surround sound, all connected to give you a great home viewing experience? Of course, if you are like me both budget and lack of expertise can keep you from making the jump. I will attempt to lay out the basics for you here.
Obviously, you need to start with a quality HDTV. HD stands for high definition. HDTV’s give you a very high resolution image which give your picture great clarity. This is the central piece to your home theater system and can take up the majority of the price. HDTV’s can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
When it comes to home theaters and TV’s size does matter. You can get smaller HDTV’s and the picture will be excellent but for a home theater you want to get something that is 32″ or larger for the best experience. The picture quality on a larger TV may not be quite as good as the smaller sets, but the difference is minimal and it is worth the sacrifice in picture quality to get the larger set.
After you choose what size TV is best for you, the quality of the image is your next concern. Resolutions range from 720p to 1080i to 1080p. The better the resolution the more the TV is going to run you. The easiest way to decide what resolution is satisfactory to both your eyes and your wallet is to go to the store and compare and contrast the different options you are considering.
Once you have selected your TV, sound is your next issue. There are tons of options when it comes to sound. Many people, especially those with less technical knowledge, will choose a bundled system. Bundled systems tend to take up less room, have less wires to deal with, and are easier to install.
However, other people may choose to customize their sound systems. If you choose to do this you have an almost infinite set of choices. The real issue is that it will take a lot of tweaking and trial and error to make sure all the components are working together. Do not skimp when it comes to speaker and cable quality. You may have a great sound system that will be worthless with cheap speakers or wires that dampen or dull the sound.
For most people, a ready made system will be fine and will satisfy all your home theater needs. If you do decide to customize be sure to do your research well. Either way, enjoy that theater experience in the comfort of your own home!