While there are plenty of home-theatre televisions advertised on today's market, a true home theatre needs more than just a big-screen TV. Other components are necessary as well, including a selection of content sources (such as recorders, turntables, cable boxes, and players), high performance receivers, decoders and controllers, connection inputs/cables, antennas and speakers, and extra accessories such as remote controls and cables. While this may seem a staggering list, it's actually not as overwhelming as it seems, because many of these devices have dual functions, or are marketed in inclusive packaging so that the buyer doesn't have to purchase everything separately.
Home Theatre Essentials
Here's an overview of the basic essentials for a home theatre system:
Big Screen TV
For the best experience, a home theatre television should have a large enough screen to provide a true theatre-style experience; but it should also be proportioned so that it's neither too big nor too small for the room. Be sure to choose a fully-integrated HDTV with full Internet connection capability, good side angles for viewing, superior image qualities, and an enhanced audio system that can clarify voice dialogue from movies. Both LCD and plasma TVs have their own advantages, so it's best to do a bit of homework (and, if possible, talk to a qualified expert) before deciding which type will suit your needs.
These include DVD players, VCRs, cable or digital boxes, and other source devices that bring the content to your screen. For maximum versatility, choose a DVD player/recorder that plays both Blu-ray and standard discs. A high-speed Internet connection is also essential for streaming music and movies. A VCR is considered obsolete these days, but it may be necessary if you're planning to play video cassettes of movies that aren't yet available on disc. In addition, a separate CD player can be used to help boost audio performance.
Having a surround sound system is absolutely essential to a top-notch home theatre. Be sure to get the best speakers possible, and install them in optimum areas throughout the room. Other audio-enhancing devices include amplifiers and preamps, tuners, surround sound receivers, subwoofers, and bass transducers to enhance low frequencies. For superlative acoustics, consider adding noise reduction curtains to the walls, and matting or tiles to the floor and ceiling.
These include crucial components such as cables, remotes, and surge protectors. Here are some of the primary accessories:
Surge protectors: Surge protectors are extremely important, because they'll protect your equipment from damage during power outages. An inexpensive surge protector can help save tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, so it's well worth the investment.
Connection cables: Make sure that these are compatible not only to the device, but also to the brand, because some brand-name cables aren't interchangeable with other brands of devices, and can cause damage if used. There are a number of ways that connection cables can be anchored unobtrusively to the walls and flooring so that they don't provide an unsightly obstacle.
Remotes: A high quality universal remote can be programmed to run multiple devices, including DVD players, CD players, and TVs.
Choosing a Home Theatre Room
Having the right room is crucial to a successful home theatre. Whether you're constructing a brand new home theatre room or renovating an existing one, make sure that it's large enough to comfortably accommodate your preferred screen size, as well as the optimum number of people who will be using it on a regular basis.
If possible, choose a room that's not located near a main traffic area of the house. It also helps if windows are at a minimum -- although a good set of draperies can filter out any unwanted light. Also, make sure that the room has plenty of working cable inputs -- otherwise, it may be necessary to call in an electrician.
There should be sufficient space for incorporating speakers, source systems, accessories, and other essential equipment. Choose floor and wall coverings that will enhance rather than impede acoustics. Lighting is important, too, and a home theatre can be greatly enhanced by improvements such as remote control lighting systems and dimmer switches.
With the right equipment, just about any size or type of room can be turned into a wonderfully effective home theatre. With so many electronics deals online, it's possible to create a home theatre at a wide range of price points. The main thing is to do a bit of homework first, so you can find out about the best available equipment options to suit your budget.