Home Theater Systems: Audio and Video Basics

All home entertainment units have three major components that are essential to creating a functional home theater system.

The main focus of any theater is the television or video display. Sound quality is essential. A complete sound system is key to providing the soul and voice of the theatre. A source player is the third element, providing the picture and sound. Cable or satellite TV is standard in most homes but DVD and other players are also added to expand the usefulness of a home theater. It is these three major pieces of electronic innovation that make watching a movie, playing the XBox or listening to a favorite CD enjoyable and worthwhile.

Visual Element

There are video display options available to a home depending on budget and preferences. Buying a TV has never been a simple process, but now as we move towards the next generation of television, there are more options than there have ever been before. On the one hand you have the existing LCD and LED HD televisions we’ve all come to know and love, but increasingly new display technologies like Quantum Dot and OLED are entering the market, and the new resolution, 4K, is fast becoming a feature that is essential to have in your next TV. But not every new technology is a must have, and you can save yourself a lot of time and money by sticking with those that are here to stay.

Audio Elements

The sound system is going to make a huge difference in the enjoyment and functionality of your home theater. Too many home theater enthusiasts are willing to drop top dollar on a brand new television screen for their home theater, only to skimp out on audio immediately after.

Sound is what allows us to feel every explosion and hear every whisper, which means that if you are using integrated speakers you are missing out on a lot of the excitement.

There are a number of ways to assemble an immersive home theater, but the easiest way to get started is with a “home theater in a box”, which will sometimes come with an audio receiver or a DVD/Blu-Ray player.

At the same time, buying speakers individually will give you much more control over the quality and features of your setup. Many companies offer modular speaker lines, which allow you to meet somewhere in the middle by starting with a surround sound system, and trading up as you become more invested in the perfect sound. For either case, your first step is to know what’s out there and choose a system that best suits your needs.

Data / Signal Source

A basic DVD player is a standard signal source in most theater systems. The signal information sent from the player contains the video data as well as your 5.1 surround sound. Your cable box, digital satellite, or Wifi are also signal sources for a home theater. These sources can all be used in one system with the proper wiring and remote programming.

Technology changes fairly frequently, so it’s always a good idea to set yourself up with a home theatre system that you can upgrade in the future if you wish too. DYH