Recently we have started seeing a lot of questions like “What is a home theatre” or “How do I choose the best home theatre?’ and “Whats the best TV-Soundbar for a home theatre?”
Wikipedia defines it as:
“… a theater built in a home, designed to mimic (or exceed) commercial theater performance and feeling, more commonly known as a home cinema. Today, home cinema implies a real “cinema experience” at a private home.”
So you’re going to need a great screen, superb sound and some way of actually playing your media.
Don’t dive into buying lots of kit before giving some thought to your budget and whether you just want to beef up your TV experience or really go all out and dedicate an entire room! You need to match the equipment to the space you have available. It would be a waste to have dedicated room for your home cinema and to then drop a $100 economy soundbar into it!
So lets discuss the elements in a home theatre one by one:
The three main choices here are either simply to go for a large standard TV, a large 3D TV or, if your going for a full on dedicated home theatre room, some sort of projector.
1) Decide on whether you need 3D or not. These sets come at a price premium but can be jaw dropping. Avatar in 3D? Wow…..
2) Decide on a screen size. Better to go for a good medium size screen than a poor large one. Even better, go for a great large one. For home theatre anything under 50″ is probably a little mean.
3)If you’re setting up a full on home theatre room then a projector may be worth considering. If you take this route then you will need to factor in a suitable wall to project onto, possibly a ceiling mounting kit and a little imagination routing cables etc. Also don’t forget you will need some additional hardware as the projector does not include a TV tuner. You might want to consider some sort of Media Center and BluRay combo.
Panasonic AE&000 3D LDC Projector
Panasonic 55 3D TV
For both HiDeff video and high deff/high-resolution audio you are going to want a Blu-Ray player. There are hundreds to choose from so get browsing! The only additional observation we would make is to check how it’s going to connect. We strongly recommend HDMI as it’s easier to connect and can transfer more data more quickly.
Sony BDPS790 3D Blu-ray Player with Wi-Fi
Here at Soundbarinfo we are huge media center fans. We use home rolled Windows 7 media center with a Blu-Ray drive for its flexibility but there are lots of alternatives available, from the minimalist AppleTV which allows you to stream content from the internet via subscriptions to Netflix, iTunes etc to a Tivo type box which can replace your regular TV tuner AND have the ability to stream internet content. Do bear in mind that most media centers do NOT come with a Blu-Ray so you need to factor that in.
These systems do take some research so please take your time!
WD TV Live Hub Media Center
As we know, modern TVs are too thin to be able to produce a good quality sound. It was this shortfall that gave rise to the birth of the Soundbar in the first place.
You really have two choices here – a full on separates system or a Soundbar.
From the low-end to the high, the Soundbar can give the separates systems a good fight. Prices for both styles of system range from about $100 all the way up to about $3000.
Personally I think if your spending over $2000 then you probably want to go for a separates system. At level of cost your likely to be wanting the best possible sound and ease of setup is no longer your primary concern.
If all you want to do is beef up your TV sound system then something like the Yamaha 5100 BL soundbar would do a great job and transform your listening experience.
At the high-end, if you are looking for a dedicated TV room where you can really to go all out, take a look at the mouth (ear?) watering Sony listed below!
yamaha 5100 BL
The Finishing Touches
If you are spending all this money on technology you probably want to make sure you are sitting comfortably and can control the lighting levels properly – and that will be the topic of our next post!
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