How To Set-up a Basic Home Theater
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A sound system to enhance movie and television viewing is typically going to involve a multichannel integrated amplifier (often called a receiver), two front speakers, two rear speakers, one center channel speaker and a subwoofer. While some enthusiasts might scoff, even just two front speakers can enhance TV and movie viewing. Two front speakers will increase the ambient effect and will often produce much higher quality sound than TV speakers.
You can buy a prepackaged sound system that includes the receiver and speakers bundled together. While this can yield a perfectly good sound system, and at a reasonable price, many enthusiasts would encourage you to select your equipment separately. The receiver can, and some would argue should, be the brains of your entire HT system. So selecting a receiver should be based upon it fulfilling the needs of your system and the provision of quality audio and not just that you got a good package deal. Furthermore, speakers warrant individual selection based upon what pleases your ears. While speaker quality can be measured, there are some subjective qualities that simply come down to what you like.
Home theater audio equipment doesn't have to be complicated but there are a lot of possible considerations. Furthermore, audio equipment has a lot more options and price levels than do televisions. We recommend that you read our detailed article on audio technology before making a purchase.
Choosing a Programming Source
Most home theaters are going to have at least a DVD player and a television source. Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot to get fine quality programming. Nearly any new DVD player costing roughly $75 is going to do an excellent job for you. In a DVD player, a feature you will want is progressive scan (which is a nearly standard feature now). Another feature to consider is a multidisc player, which I have found useful for storing my kids movies, but rarely useful for my own. Finally, the output connector choices ranked from best to worst: HDMI, DVI, component, S-video, composite. Make sure that your TV or receiver (whichever you will be connecting to) accepts the connector your DVD player uses (this applies to your other equipment too).
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