HOME: Creating Your Own Home Theater

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More and more people seem to be transforming their ordinary TV rooms into home theaters. This used to include a projector and a screen, which were too expensive for most people to afford. But now, due to advancements in technology, people are given more choices for a home theater setup, that some even find it quieter and more convenient compared to the typical movie theater.

If you’re one who intends to turn your boring TV room—or any other room, for that matter— into a home theater, you’ll have several things to consider first. Keep in mind that the general idea of a home theater is to recreate the elements found within a movie theater with home equipment. It is through a good combination of electronic components that a favorable home theater is established, so that when you watch a movie on a home theater system, you are more immersed in the experience than when you watch on an ordinary TV.

To understand how home theaters work, take a look at the movie theater as a model. Movie theaters involve elements that offer an amazing experience, which people just don’t get at home. Pictures appear brighter and sharper, and sounds resonate so much louder and clearer. When people go to movie theaters, they don’t just pay for the movies they watch; they also pay for the experience.

There are three major components that differentiate watching TV from going to the movies. First is the large size of the movie screen; second is the sound experience; and third is picture quality. When you go see a movie in theaters, the screen takes up most of your field of view, and you hear dialogues, sound effects, and music not just from the screen, but all around you. You also enjoy watching because you see everything in great detail. All these elements make it extremely easy to lose yourself in the world of the movie—after all, you’re sitting in the dark with only one thing to look at, in the midst of a surround sound system.

In order to build a home theater, you simply need to recreate these elements. At the bare minimum, you need:

A large-screen TV

A large-screen television that’s at least 27 inches across is ideal. A gorgeous picture is the central focus of home theater systems and almost all of today’s TVs are high-definition, which offer a stunning 720p or 1080p resolution. Some TVs also offer the 3D experience in the comfort of your own home, which requires a compatible 3D Blu-ray player and a pair of 3D glasses.

Speakers and a subwoofer

At least five voice-matched speakers and a subwoofer are needed to faithfully recreate the wraparound excitement of movie theater sound. Some even choose six to seven speakers and a subwoofer so they can hear more channels of surround sound. You can always buy a

pre-matched speaker system, but if you opt to put together your own, make sure you buy from the same family of speakers.

A home theater receiver

It’s important to have a home theater receiver to enjoy surround sound. A receiver acts as the control center for audio. It’s the one that processes, amplifies, and sends audio signals to the speakers. All home theater receivers can process and amplify multichannel surround sound, as well as stereo audio, because they have built-in surround sound decoding.

Video sources

If you have a high-def TV, you’ll definitely want plenty of high-def sources. A Blu-ray player offers the sharpest pictures possible, though other excellent home theater sources include HDTV programming, which delivers high-resolution video and digital audio, and video game consoles, which offer impressively crisp images and high-impact surround sound.

There are numerous ways you can do to meet these criteria, but of course, you’ll also need a room where you can arrange all your equipment.

In the end, your home theater system will depend on how much you’re willing to invest and how important certain areas of performance are to you. If you just want a better entertainment system in your TV room, then a basic television set and DVD player can be adequate, but if you want your own home theater with a large screen and terrific acoustics, you’ll probably need to bring in a home theater expert and a contractor. Whichever you decide, it’s important to try everything out ahead of time to make sure that your movies will look and sound great.

First published in Gadgets Magazine, October 2013

Words by Janelle M. Bustilla | Photo from mydecorative.com