20 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUYING A HOME THEATER
Buying a home theater is a great choice for anyone looking to have the same cinema experience without the overpriced beverages and cramped seating of a traditional theater. The first home theaters were originally too expensive for the average person to buy, but technology has advanced so that home theaters are affordable and are now a great choice for individuals and commercial businesses alike. Here are 20 things you should know before buying a home theater.
WHAT YOU MAINLY USE IT FOR MATTERS.
What you want in a home theater is important to know for the specific type of home theater you wish to purchase. Do you want to watch mostly movies and TV, or are you going to listen to music more? Many home theaters are dual purpose, but if you listen to music more than you watch movies, you should consider spending more money on your front left and right speakers, rather than your central-channel speaker.
YOU DON’T NEED TO SPEND A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR ONE.
Sure, you could drop a lot of cash on a pricey home theater system, but you don’t have to. Shop around and get quotes from several places. However, beware of deals that seem too good to be true. You want a high quality home theater that will last a long time and which will deliver quality audio and visuals.
WHERE YOU BUY IT MATTERS.
You can easily get ripped off on home theater systems when you try to buy the hottest deals. Places like Callaway’s are a good choice for those looking to buy a home theater, because they guarantee high quality products and service repair. You need a long-term home theater system that is easy to use, and which comes from a trusted source that does repair services on your home theater.
MAKE SURE YOUR PROJECT HAS THE RIGHT IMAGE QUALITY.
If you’re going to purchase a projector for your home theater,you should make sure that it has a projector brightness with enough lumens. Lumens are the measure of visible light emitted by a source, and the brighter your room is, the more lumens you will need in your projector. Home theater projectors have anywhere from 1000 lumens to 2,500 lumens, and more. This short video shows you a comparison of a 1600, 2000, and 2500-lumen projectors so you can get a sense of what projector might be right for you.
YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN SYSTEM.
Yes, you can build your own custom home theater. This allows you to pick the features that you want in order to get the most out of your system. Those who go this route enjoy the freedom it gives them to pick their own options. However, if you aren’t sure, it’s best to stick with a packaged home system. Creating your own home theater can be tricky for a novice, and things can go wrong easily if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do build your own home theater system, you will need these main items: a center-channel speaker, left and right speakers, at least two bookshelf speakers, a subwoofer, a TV, a home theater receiver, cables, and some kind of power protection.
BUYING AN INCLUSIVE HOME SYSTEM HAS BENEFITS.
Buying an all-inclusive home theater system has a lot of perks. For one, it comes set up with everything you need. Home theater packages should include a center channel speaker, two rear surround sound speakers, bookshelf speakers, and a subwoofer that are all designed to work well with each other. Not only do these packages tend to be cheaper, they are also easy to set up and easy to install.
CONSIDER THE ROOM YOU PLAN TO PLACE IT IN.
Before you buy your home theater system, consider which room you plan to place it in. This is vital in order for you to get the best sound quality out of your home theater system. Make sure that your home theater system will fit into the layout of your home so that the center-channel speaker is below or above the TV screen, and the two bookshelf speakers are positioned on each side of the TV. The surround sound speakers should be positioned on each side and above the listener’s heads, while the subwoofer just needs to be next to a front speaker or along the wall. You can look into an equipment cabinet that will hold your home theater accessories, such as this dark espresso wood finish cabinet from amazon.com.
YOU NEED TO BUY A SURGE PROTECTOR WITH IT.
Lightning storms can ruin unprotected power outlets, and it would be a shame for your home theater system to be damaged by something that is easily preventable. Invest in a decent surge protector that will deter excess voltage. Look for a surge protector with at least eight outlets. Purchase extra surge protectors for subwoofers or other components that are separated from your system. If you are really serious about protecting your home theater system, consider purchasing a whole-house surge protector and having a licensed technician install it in your home.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD CABLE QUALITY.
If you have better cable quality, then you will have better quality sound and picture. Buying thick cables will help ensure that your electrical wires in your walls won’t interfere with your cables. Some component cables will hinder the strength of the signal and can cause interference. Make sure that you purchase high quality cables to increase your signal quality.
TRY STICKING WITH THE SAME BRANDS.
It’s okay to mix and match brands when you’re creating your own home theater system, but it’s best to stick with the same brands if you can. Getting equipment from the same brand is more likely to guarantee that you get consistent quality. There might be situations where you need to purchase part of your home theater system from a different brand, and that’s okay. If the only set of speakers within the same brand won’t fit your setup, then it’s fine to purchase one from a different brand.
CONSIDER A POWERED SUBWOOFER.
If you really want to make your home theater system come alive, consider getting a powered subwoofer. Powered subwoofers create an amazing deep bass sound and play a large role in the home theater experience by making special effects sound so lifelike that you can feel it. Music enthusiasts will also find benefits in buying a powered subwoofer. Many speakers aren’t equipped to deal with the low-level bass sound, and a subwoofer can enhance music listening.
5.1 SYSTEM OR 7.1 SYSTEM?
Surround sound systems can make or break a home theater experience. Many home theater systems offer 5.1 systems and 7.1 systems. A 5.1 system consists of a center speaker, left and right front channels, left and right surround channels, and the subwoofer channel. The 7.1 system consists of everything the 5.1 system has, except it divides the surround and rear channels into four channels. For small homes and apartments, the 5.1 system is recommended because it is cheaper. However, 7.1 systems can allow for a more immersive surround sound experience.
INVEST IN A DECENT TELEVISION.
While a home theater system puts a lot of emphasis on sound quality, picture quality should also be taken into account. You can either spend very little, or drop a large amount on the television for your home theater system, but it is recommended that you don’t skimp on the TV if you want good picture resolution. Look for a TV that is between 35” and 50” with a high resolution. Additionally, the surround sound capability in a TV is important, and the TV should be compatible with your home theater system.
PLASMA, LCD, OR PROJECTOR?
Plasma and LCD TVs are both great for home theater systems, but they do vary. Plasma televisions are less expensive than LCD televisions, and have better colors that make for a better viewing experience. Plasma televisions are also better for rooms that don’t have much light in them. LCD televisions are great for those who want to mount their TV on a wall, and they are recommended for rooms with a lot of light from windows. LCD TVs usually have high-definition inputs, and some even come with 3D capability. You could also choose a rear projection television that puts the image on a special translucent screen fabric. These are ideal for a true cinematic experience, and they usually come with high-definition television capability. However, rear projection televisions mostly rely on LCD light engines or Digital Light Projection and, therefore, need to be set up in dimly lit rooms. Viewers will not be able to see the image, otherwise.
CONSIDER WALL MOUNTS AND WALL SPEAKERS TO SAVE ROOM.
If you have limited space, wall speakers and wall mounts might be a good option. Not only can it help make your space look bigger, it can also be much more aesthetically pleasing without the clutter of speakers and cords. If you decide to go this route, ask yourself if you want the TV to move, or if it will remain in a fixed position. Having the TV and speakers on the walls can change your cinematic experience, and it is important that you know where to place them. If you need help, check out this chart to help you place your television for the best viewing distance.
BUY A SOUND BAR TO REDUCE CLUTTER.
Those who have mounted their televisions and still need more room might look into purchasing a sound bar. Sound bars can be stylish, and they usually take the place of right, front left, and center speakers. With sound bars, dialogue can be easier to understand, and some can even make the voices louder if the listener chooses. Some sound bars can sound as if there are speakers all around you, by bouncing sound off your walls.
BUYING A BLU-RAY PLAYER.
Many home theater systems today have connection ports for video and audio cables from Blu-ray players, but many receivers have built-in Blu-ray or DVD players so that you don’t have to worry about receiving great audio. If you do need to purchase a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player, getting a Blu-ray is more ideal, because it can play CDs and DVDs. When you buy a Blu-ray player, make sure that it can handle Dolby Digital Sound (the standard for home theater surround sound).
CHOOSE THE RIGHT RECEIVER.
Your receiver is responsible for the entire sound system, and your home theater won’t be much fun without a good receiver. A receiver is simply an amplifier, a preamplifier, and a tuner all in one. Receivers are able to access the Blu-ray player, the satellite box, video game console, and much more. Receivers come with at least five channels for you to enjoy surround sound, and some include additional channels, as seen in 7.1 or 9.2 systems. If you have a large television and large speakers, you will need a receiver that is capable of handling the large speakers. Smaller speakers will not require high-powered receivers, and you can choose a receiver that doesn’t use as much power.
A GOOD CONTROL SYSTEM IS IMPORTANT.
Whether you are using a touch-screen user interface or a basic remote, your control system shouldn’t be complicated. Buying a universal remote may work for systems that are simple, but home theater systems can benefit from using a radio-frequency remote. With a radio-frequency remote, you can control your system, even when someone is standing in front of you and blocking the television. You can also choose to go the touch-screen route, which allows owners to control everything from media components, to lighting and clocks.
CONSIDER PROTECTING YOUR HOME THEATER SYSTEM.
Depending on how much you invest in your home theater system, they can be expensive. You should take extra precautions around your home theater and avoid mistakes that many homeowners fall into. One thing you can do to protect your home theater system is to not set it up in the basement of your home. Basements are areas that are more likely to be flooded or have sewage backups. Another thing to consider is purchasing a rider for your insurance policy that covers your home theater system, in case something unfortunate does happen.
Callaway Home Theater is a full service home integration company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Locally owned and family-run since 1991, Callaway’s has been helping commercial spaces and single-family homes alike by designing and installing custom audio and home automation systems. Callaway’s trusted team of audio and video experts has been serving clients for over 20 years, and guarantees quality service to help families and businesses integrate high-end technology into their lives.