Home Theater Systems Buying Guide

A home theater system provides an immersive audio experience that elevates the high-quality video experience and allows you to enjoy your leisure time.

If you want to watch movies or listen to your favorite music at home, you can’t get the experience you want with a simple set of speakers. Most of us consider soundbars for our living room. They are convenient and offer an improvement over the built-in TV speakers.

Still, the sound performance doesn’t come close to that of a movie theater. A much better solution for a good cinema experience is to invest in a home theater system. Home theater packages consist of an audio amplifier receiver, a subwoofer and satellite speakers.

There are many brands that sell home theater systems, and the cost of these packages varies depending on the features they offer. They are part of a kit and therefore easy to buy and set up. They are also affordable compared to buying speakers and receivers/amplifiers separately.

A great home theater system can enhance your entertainment experience. Imagine sound ringing out over you and around you, with each frequency shining simultaneously and working seamlessly with the others. Generally, home theater systems are made up of several components that work together to give you the best experience.

Types of Home Theater System

There are different types of home theater systems, regardless of the size of your room, there is a home theater solution for any size room. There are rooms where you can not run cables.

In this case, you can go wireless. If you live in a fairly large room, you can opt for large speakers. For a small room, you can buy a subwoofer and soundbar combination for a 3.1 speaker setup.

Soundbars

Technically, soundbars are not a system, but they are a good alternative if you are on a budget and space is tight as well. Soundbars have a left, a center and a right speaker built in, so you only need to add a subwoofer and two rear speakers. That’s why they take up less space and deliver true home theater surround sound.

Home-Theater-in-a-box

Home-theater-in-a-box is a pre-built system from the same manufacturer in a box. These are comparatively inexpensive and easy to set up, but don’t necessarily offer the best audio quality. The home-theater-in-a-box system includes color-coded cables, mounting hardware and simple instructions.

Assembled Home Theatre System

Also, you can buy each speaker, subwoofer, etc. depending on how much money you have to spend, and it’s good to customize your home theater system to your room and taste. Although it definitely requires more hard work, if you have a larger room and want high-quality surround sound, it’s totally worth it.

Wireless Home Theatre

If you don’t want too much mess like drilling holes in walls and floors, and no running wires through walls a much easier installation then you can go for wireless home theater system.

Also, wireless system has some advantages such as lower cost and you can change the components anytime and anywhere without rewiring. Although wireless has advantages, but wired is more reliable.

Features to Consider while Buying Home Theatre

Consider Room Size and Setup

The first step in setting up a home theater system is to take a good look at the room where your TV is located. Whether it’s a living room, basement, or rec room, the size of your home theater will have the biggest impact on the type of surround sound system you’ll choose. If your room is relatively small, you may only need a few speakers and a single subwoofer. In a small room, you may opt for just wall-mounted speakers instead of larger tower speakers.

In a larger room, you can really expand your sound system. You can opt for a more powerful system with larger speakers for better sound. If you feel like your home theater room is somewhere in the middle between large and small, you should base your choice of the best system on the size of your TV. If your TV is 65 inches or larger, you should opt for more power and additional speakers. If your TV is smaller and you need to sound a small room, you can choose smaller speakers and less power.

Design

Imagine you’ve bought the best home theater system, but the look and feel of the product doesn’t match the aesthetics of your room, or worse, the shape and size of the soundbar is such that it won’t fit in the space available for its placement. So if you plan to place your new soundbar in front of the TV (and not mount it on the wall below the TV), please check how tall the main soundbar unit is. We’re sure you don’t want it to cover the bottom of the TV.

If you want to mount the soundbar on the wall, please also check the weight of the main unit. Also pay attention to the finish and overall design of the soundbar! Don’t buy anything that is too fragile or looks cheap!

Surround Sound

To put it simply, surround sound means sound that surrounds you! (yes, it’s that simple)! Imagine being bombarded with sound from all sides, like in a theater! It seems like there is a speaker in (practically) every corner of the room.

This also means sound diversification with a deep bass! So imagine that when there is an explosion on the screen, a thunderous rumble can be heard over the floorboards, and experience the subtle sound effect of crackling and knocking behind you in an exciting scene. And if you just listen to music, get ready to be enveloped by the song and have a deep listening experience.

Materials

The material of the soundbar plays an important role in its longevity and durability. Even though we all long for something elegant or refined, the importance of a solid construction should not be underestimated. The material used for the soundbar should not be cheap plastic or something that heats up easily.

Central Control System

Most soundbars come with separate remote controls. On the other hand, some soundbars support in-system control. A separate remote control gives you the flexibility and convenience to control and customize your viewing experience remotely! You can sit comfortably in your chair with your favorite beverage and popcorn and just relax!

Connectivity Options

HDMI

The connectivity and number of options available on an A/V receiver are important. While slightly older A/V receivers are equipped with HDMI 1.3 connections, the latest models can be equipped with HDMI 1.4. The new standard adds support for Audio Return Channel (ARC), 3D video, and Ethernet over HDMI. The ARC on HDMI 1.4 sends audio from the TV to A/V receivers, soundbars, or home theater-in-boxes (HTIB).

HDMI ARC not only eliminates the need for a separate S/PDIF port for audio connection, but also provides flexibility for upstreaming audio. Ideally, look for an AV receiver that has at least three HDMI inputs so you can connect multiple devices, such as a game console, Blu-ray/DVD player, laptop, and so on.

Video conversion and 4K upscaling

While this used to be considered a premium feature in A/V receivers, the latest devices are capable of converting and upscaling video. With the video conversion function, you can connect various component and composite video signals and have them converted to a digital signal. This way, you can connect your slightly older audio/video devices and send the output to the TV through a single HDMI cable.

The 4K upscaling feature is also of great importance. If you are planning to buy a TV with the latest 4K resolution or have already bought one, this feature can be very helpful. It upscales the lower resolution signals to a higher resolution so that they look better on your HDTV / UHD TV. Although the upscaled signal is not high definition, it is significantly better.

HDMI and 3D pass-through

HDMI passthrough means that the audio and video streams that pass through the AV receiver are not processed. The receiver only passes these streams to the screen or TV. Since the receiver cannot process the audio, HDMI pass-through does not allow for the transmission of HD audio. In this case, you must resort to optical audio, which only supports DTS (Digital Theatre Systems) and DD (Dolby Digital).

In the case of 3D pass-through, the 3D signals require a higher bandwidth than the normal 1080p signal. The latest version of HDMI 1.4 is 3D capable. AV receivers with 3D passthrough accept the 3D signals and pass them on to the TV via the HDMI output. However, this does not mean that the A/C receiver converts 2D to 3D. For that, you need to connect a Blu-ray player to your TV.

Surround Sound Processing

First-time home theater buyers are often overwhelmed by the wide range of surround sound options. Almost all current AV receivers can handle Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks from HDTV broadcasts, Netflix, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and more.

But that’s not all: Dolby DTS-HD and Dolby True HD are also supported by the latest home theater receivers, so you can enjoy a pure and full surround sound experience at home. Some home theater receivers also feature a variety of equalizer presets to add even more emphasis to your music enjoyment.

Home Theater Audio

Deciding on your home theater audio system is the most difficult part of the entire project, because there are countless possible solutions. Before we start explaining specific options, it’s important to clarify the basics of home theater audio. The sound in your home theater is so impressive for two main reasons: the placement of the speakers and the power of the bass. The speakers are arranged around the entire theater, creating what is known as “1-surround sound.

These speakers envelop the audience in sound that matches the action on the screen – the hum of a helicopter flying from left to right, bullets whizzing overhead, and explosions booming somewhere behind them. And these booming sounds are especially convincing thanks to the system’s thunderous bass, which is produced by massive subwoofers. When you set up a surround sound system, you’ll see rows of numbers like “5.1” or “7.1.2.” These numbers represent the number of sound “channels” in your home theater.

Other Things to Consider

Seating

Comfortable seating helps transform a room from just a “TV room” into a true home theater. Dedicated home theater seating from a brand like Palliser offers a modular solution with a variety of customization options. Home theater chairs are a popular choice, as are seats with built-in cup holders, integrated LED lighting and even massage features.

If your home theater will be used by more than four or five people, arrange the seats in two rows so that all viewers have a direct view of the screen. And if you’re really serious about seating, consider building a home theater riser for the second row of seats.

Wall Color

If you’re serious about creating the ultimate movie screening experience, you should think about the color of the walls and ceiling in your home theater. The walls should be as dark as possible to minimize light reflection. Of course, painting an entire room black is unpleasant for most people. Therefore, use a dark color that you feel comfortable with, such as a navy blue or a deep burgundy that will add a luxurious touch to your cinema.

If you use a projector in your home theater, the ceiling should also be a darker color. A white ceiling reflects the light from the projector and reduces the contrast and overall quality of the projected image.

Also be aware of the placement of reflective surfaces in the room. Do not place framed photos against the back wall, as they can reflect light back onto the screen. If you have a glass table between your seats and the screen, cover it with a tablecloth for the same reason.

Acoustic Treatments

If a surface reflects light, it can also reflect sound. A room with poor acoustics can significantly affect the quality of your sound system. The fabric covering the glass table also helps absorb sound waves that would otherwise bounce off it.

Acoustic panels can be attached to your walls and do the same job. You can buy acoustic panels, but you can also find numerous plans on the Internet for easy-to-build acoustic panels yourself.

Lighting

Although experts debate how to control the amount of light that enters your movie theater from the outside, it’s important that you don’t completely darken your movie room. Watching TV in a completely dark room can actually be a strain on your eyes. Instead, your home theater should be very dark, but with controlled accent lighting. Typical home theater lighting consists of dimmable wall sconces or accent lighting built into the ceiling. Another common option is adjustable backlighting behind your TV or projector.

This can be done with Philips Hue lighting, which is easy to install and can be controlled from your smartphone. Aside from accent lighting, all other light sources should be turned off. This can be as simple as turning off an overhead light or completely blocking stray light coming in through an adjacent window.

Choose your level of Customization

If you want a complete package, it’s best to opt for our five-speaker systems, either the SX-HTB+ or the AV-HTB+. With these systems, you can build a high-quality surround sound system in no time. If you’re more the adventurous type, it may be worth building your own system. Also, this option allows you to add individual Fluance speakers to your existing speaker system.

Power

The Total output power of the amplifier is usually specified in watts. To provide enough power to the connected speakers, it is important that your receiver is powerful enough. Ideally, for optimal performance, look for an AV receiver that delivers at least 100 watts of power for each channel. Another term used to indicate speaker and amplifier performance is impedance. Most speakers have an impedance of 6 or 8 ohms. In home theater systems, the amplifier and speakers are properly matched by the manufacturer.

Set a Budget

It’s always a good idea to set a spending limit before making any major purchase. Be sure to consider additional purchases such as an entertainment system, speaker stands, and other accessories. Since buying Fluance speakers doesn’t cost a small fortune, you’ll still have money left over for that new audio receiver!

Conclusion

A Home Theater System provides an immersive Audio experience, which raises the high-quality video experience and makes it great to enjoy your leisure time. We hope this Buying guide will give you some useful information in making Confirmed Decision.

Michael Smith
Michael Smith
Michael Smith, a tech-savvy content editor at Bollyinside. With a knack for simplifying complex tech concepts, Michael specializes in crafting user-friendly "How-to" articles and valuable tips. His focus spans Windows, Mac, hardware, and support. Beyond work, he's an avid explorer of diverse tech fields, constantly staying ahead of the curve.

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