Home Theater Buying Guide

With the introduction of the DVD, with its high-quality audio and video, demand for home equipment that can display the DVD’s optimum imaging and sound quality have risen. Surely you can make up your own home theater system by putting up a DVD player along with your TV set and several speakers. However, if you want a full theater-like experience, it is best that you purchase your own home theater system and here is your guide in buying the best models.

Home theater system basics – Also known as "home theater in a box", a home theater system consists of several speakers that are meant to be places around the viewer (usually three in the front, two at the back), and a DVD player. All you need to add is the TV set (the bigger the screen, the better). Having speakers "surrounding" you creates a "surround sound", wherein the sound effects would give you an impression that you are part of the action, such as the sound of an airplane coming right behind you.

Format types – Most surround sound models are in a 5.1 format, which means there are five main channels for sound to come out: two in the front, two at the back, and one at the center or infront of the viewer. The ".1" refers to a single subwoofer channel.

Ease of connection – Many consumers complain about the confusion that would ensue during the set-up of the home theater system. You need to make sure that the model you are planning to buy has color-coded cables as well as an easy-to-understand manual for a foolproof installation.

Easy sound transmission – You may feel puzzled as to why you are watching a Dolby Digital DVD but you are only hearing a two-channel stereo sound. This is because you forgot to adjust the configuration on your DVD player. Other options include multi-channel analog, optical digital, and coaxial digital. You may also consider choosing a home theater system that automatically adjusts the surround sound format.

Size matters – Different models have different speaker sizes. The less expensive models containing smaller speakers may not be enough if you are planning to install it on a large room.

Decide on what features you will need the most – You need to determine which features are necessary for you, and which ones can be waived. For instance, an avid movie watcher may want to consider a DVD player with a built-in disc changer.

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