Home Theatre Audio Buying Guide
Home Theatre Audio Systems 101
Types of Home Theatre Audio Systems
Home Theatre In-A-Box Systems (HTIB)
Home Theatre Audio System Buying Tips:
- From a budget standpoint, an HTIB or a Sound Bar system are good cost-effective choices
- Compare warranties as some manufacturers offer 12 months and others offer 24 months
- When shopping in-store listen to several types of speaker set ups before making your purchase
- There is no link between speaker size and quality — small speakers can produce sound that is comparable to large speakers
- Consider the size of room in which you’ll use your audio system as a larger room will need a more powerful system
Home Theatre Audio System Features
Surround Sound +
This is what your home cinema experience is all about. Your loudspeakers and subwoofer work together in combination to create the quality and depth of sound and bass that will totally immerse you in movies or music. A 5.1 channel home theatre audio system is usually comprised of five speakers and a subwoofer to give a full surround sound experience. A 6.1 channel system adds one more speaker, and a 7.1 adds two; the more speakers you add the more complete the surround sound will be. A 2.1 channel system has only two speakers and a subwoofer, but can be calibrated to simulate multi-channel sound.
A/V Receiver +
A good A/V receiver will process and amplify the audio more smoothly to deliver a truer home theatre experience with optimal surround sound and sound quality. The receiver combines three key functions. First, it acts as a preamplifier to process sound signals and send them to the appropriate amplifier channel. It then routes the surround sound signals to the speaker system. Lastly, the A/V receiver also acts as a tuner for AM/FM and Internet radio.
A/V Connection Options +
The A/V receiver is the hub of your home theatre audio system, so understanding your connection options is helpful. As well as routing audio through your A/V receiver you can also route video. This allows you to easily switch between your DVD or Blu-Ray player, game console, and cable or satellite box.
Internet Access +
In some cases, HTIB systems that feature a Blu-ray player also provide internet connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi. This handy feature allows you to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix and Amazon. Some home theatre audio systems also incorporate a webcam, which lets you use the internet to make video calls to friends and family across the globe.
The display panel that controls the features of your home theatre audio system will differ depending on brand and type. Certain models allow you to use your TV screen to control your system, which can be easier than using buttons on the front of a console. In most cases a remote control will be provided. The controls of your home theatre audio system also allow you to easily adjust your bass and treble equalizers (EQ).
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Home Theatre Audio System Maintenance Tips:
- Keep dirt, dust and sand away from your home theatre audio system
- Keep food and liquids away from your home theatre audio system
- Don’t place or store speakers on metals as it could damage the electromagnet inside
- Ensure that your system is wired up properly; incorrect connections can cause your speakers to blow
- Keep your home theatre audio system out of direct sunlight: the internal electronics will function less effectively and will wear out quicker
- Clean regularly with a duster, but do not use liquid cleaners
- Use a vacuum cleaner occasionally to clean out dust
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