A Home cinema system can easily double the entertainment value of a movie or game. The system usually consists of an AV amplifer (the hub of the system) and a set of speakers correctly positioned. Other components such as Sky HD and DVD etc are then connected to the amp.
5.1, 7.1, 7.2 and 9.2 (indicates 5, 7 or 9 speakers and 1 or 2 subs)
For a true home cinema experience you’d need at least five full-range speakers plus a large bass unit to produce realistic rumbles and deep explosion sounds. This setup is known as 5.1. For an even better experience 7 or 9 full-range speakers (plus 1 or 2 sub woofer bass units) The idea of a home cinema system is to reproduce the experience of going to the cinema in your living room. To get this you’ll need a large widescreen television, a set of five or more speakers to reproduce the surround sound you get on film soundtracks, a BlurayDVD player and a special amplifier to decode the sound information from the DVD that you are watching and send it to the speakers.
How much do home cinema systems cost?
There are basic 5.1 systems that cost less than £200. A really good quality amp and speakers will set you back between £1200 and £2500.
Do I need a high definition television for my home cinema system?
Home cinema looks best with a high definition television playing a high definition (Blu-Ray) DVD but it’s not strictly necessary. A good sound system can enhance the overall home cinema experience far more than a high definition picture.
What sort of amplifier should I get?
You’ll need a special home cinema amplifier, which may be built into a DVD player. The most common home cinema sound format found on DVDs is called Dolby Digital—a 5.1 system, so make sure your home cinema amp is Dolby Digital compatible. More expensive amps may also play other home cinema sound formats, including Dolby Digital EX or Dolby TrueHD. We like the Onkyo range of AV amplifiers.
How powerful should the amp be?
To get a good home cinema experience you need the sound to be reasonably loud, and an underpowered amp is likely to be very disappointing. For a moderately sized living room, look for an amp that provides at least 50W per channel, or 100W if you want amazing clarity at low volumes.
Components of a complete system are as follows:
A screen e.g LCD, Plasma or projector.
A DVD or Blu-Ray Player.
An A/V Amplifier.
A home cinema speaker package e.g 5.1 or 7.1
Ipod Dock to connect an ipod into the system.
HDMI, Scart or Component cables.
High quality speaker cable.
Learning remote control (to replace all of the existing remote controls.
Zone 2 speakers to listen to music in other rooms.
Games consoles e.g Ps3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii.