Big Screen Dreams
Installing a home theater system may seem like a Hollywood dream, but by
planning ahead you can install a system that will grow and improve as you
add new pieces of equipment. In fact, you may already have some of the
important components for a home theater, which means that all you have to do
now is plan and budget for what you'd like to add.
The first components to consider are your television and VCR. Both of these
units need to have hi-fi sound. To determine if they are mono or hi-fi,
check the back of these devices for two audio outputs. If you only see one
(mono) audio output, you will need to purchase a new unit to obtain theater
sound. Your television should be at least 27 inches diagonally. Also check
your current television, or any potential new purchases, for video inputs.
Most modern television models will include composite video inputs, but to
get the best picture quality, especially when using a DVD player, make sure
your television has S-video or component video inputs. These inputs provide
a finer resolution for the image and will make your movie experience more
If you are going to purchase a television, measure your room first and
select a television that is in proportion to your room. While shopping, you
will encounter three types of televisions on the market: Direct view, rear
projection and front projection.
Direct view televisions contain a picture tube, and offer a good picture,
but they are generally not larger than 40 inches in diagonal. Direct view
televisions are typically priced for under $1,000. Most large screen
televisions are rear projection televisions. The maximum size of the
screens on these televisions is about 80-inches, and they start at $1,000.
Front projection televisions use a video projector and a separate screen.
The average price for these televisions is $3,000.
The next component to examine in your system is your receiver. All of your
other components will plug into the receiver and it will process sound
signals and send them to the correct speakers. The two sound systems you
will be choosing from are the Dolby Pro-Logic System and Dolby Digital
Sound. If you don't have, or don't plan to buy a DVD player, you can get a
receiver that works on the Dolby Pro-Logic System, which will be cheaper
than the receivers compatible with Dolby Digital Sound. A Dolby Digital
Sound receiver can read all sound signals, whether mono, stereo, Pro-Logic
or Dolby Digital. A Pro-Logic system sends out stereo sound to one set of
speakers and dialogue and special effects to other speakers. The Dolby
Digital Sound will send specific, unique signals to each speaker in the
room, including a subwoofer, should you have one.
The final components are your speakers. They should be placed as follows:
two in the front of the theater, one on the left and one on the right; a
center speaker, two surround sound speakers in the rear and a subwoofer. Be
sure the front speakers are at an equal height and evenly spaced. The
center channel should be on top of or below the television. The speakers in
the rear of the room should be elevated; either on speaker stands or mounted
on the wall.
Sources used in this article include www.hometheateradvice.com and www.homestore.com.
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