What You Need For a Home Theater
Whether you are creating a man cave in your newly refinished basement or just getting settled in your studio apartment, one of the most important investments will be your home theater system. After a grueling day of work, finding time to relax and escape is extremely important. When you have your favorite TV show or movie playing on a giant screen with a perfect picture and sound that can blow you away, you’ll know that you have something that will impress your visitors and entertain yourself day in and day out. From the television to the Blue Ray player, we’ll address everything you need to create a home theater experience you’ll be proud to showcase. Follow this how to guide and you’ll be sure to have everything you need.
So assembling a perfect home theater system may seem like a daunting task. It is important to remember that these things take time. Sure, you may be inclined to purchase every item you need in a single trip but shopping around and doing your due diligence is more important than setting up your theater tonight. You will want to ensure you have the essentials and build from there based off of your interests.
- HD-TV- The television is going to be your focal point of any home theater so choosing the right one for your area is important. The size of the television should be relative to your room and how far away the furthest person will be seated from the screen. Remember, this is an investment and not the place to skimp! For a room where the furthest seat is 16-20 feet from the screen you want to have a television of 44-49 inches. If your room is larger, and has expanded room for guests, then you can move to the 60-69 range and above. Remember that with HD televisions to look for 1080p or the 4K ultra HD as these will give you the highest quality. Tip: If you can get a deal on the TV itself without smart capabilities, you can easily hook up an Amazon Fire Stick or Roku player and have all the function you need on a steal of a deal.
- Sound– What you hear is equally important to what you see when it comes to getting started with a home theater. Picking up something like a Logitech Z506 surround sound system is affordable and will give you enough power without your neighbors complaining. The sound is always better when you have it situated correctly around the room and is great for those horror movies with the killer lurking around the corner and for those weekends when the fellas are over to plan Call of Duty. Tip: Look into picking up a sound bar as these can add extra clarity and really enhance the sound quality of your viewing or gaming experience.
- Components– Take stock of what you already have! Most folks will have a gaming system and DVD player already so those are things you can check off the list. Although you might think your DVD player is fine, you will definitely want to pick up a Blue Ray Player. The quality between a Blue Ray and a DVD is like comparing a fine wine and a bottle of Five Buck Chuck. With the effort that movie studios put into special effects the few dollars more per film will be worth every cent come time for your big movie night. Be sure you keep your DVD player for the kids or your old DVD collection, but the Blue Ray player is the one item you cannot do without. Tip: Your best component might also be a closing stand that allows you to have everything situated properly, able to be hidden when not in use, all while allowing you access to your equipment if necessary.
Following this basic checklist will give you everything you need to get started. Put a few dollars out of each paycheck away and buy each item as you can afford it and you’ll be fully set up by winter. Remember, you can always get the next item when your budget allows but going out and buying a too small of a television or low quality speakers will only set you back further and leave you longing for the experience you could have had.
Choose the Best HDTV For You
If you’re like most people, you have a television in at least half of the rooms in your home and possibly even a spare or two in the basement or attic. Have you ever stopped to wonder why you’ve purchased so many? If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve been searching for the right set for your area and each time you’ve been a little off. Follow this guide and you’ll feel great about the television you buy and will be relieved to finally clear out a few of those old floor model sets you’ve been stockpiling. This will ensure that you choose the best HDTV for you.
- Size– Size isn’t everything and the old adage of bigger is better does not necessarily apply. Have you ever seen someone who overestimated the size of the television they needed? Too big of a set and you’ll find your neck turning back and forth. Too small and you’ll forever be squinting and leaning forward to see. You should estimate the size of the set you’ll need relative to the distance from the TV you’ll be sitting. If you are adding a TV set to the breakfast nook or your office then you might be able to get away with a 32’’ or so. These are relatively inexpensive. If you have an average sized room then 50-59’’ will give you plenty of view without overwhelming the area. For larger spaces, you can of course increase to 60’’ and beyond. Before you buy that giant TV though, get a tape measure and mark the area to see just how big of an area it will take. You’d be surprised to see that most homes only require the 50-59’’ range.
- Quality- The quality of the set is extremely important and where you need to focus on getting the most for your money. When you shop for your new HDTV you want to get the best resolution for the money. Look for sets that are 1080p or 1080i. These sets have the best resolutions around. The 1080p basically means that the entire image is seen at once. The 1080i comparatively has interlacing lines. The differences can be negligible with most sets but are drastically different that 720 resolution models.
- Features– Features of the television are important but should not be the deal breaker in your shopping decision. I’m sure we’d all agree that having a Smart HDTV with built in capabilities is sure to be cool and impress the guys at work, but it isn’t always in your best interest. When you shop for your new television look at the cost differences between the models that have the Smart capabilities built in versus those that don’t. You may be tempted to pay the extra few hundred dollars now, but for less money you can buy an item such as a Roku, which will wirelessly pick up Netflix or Amazon Prime, but allow you to move it to other rooms as well. In addition to being less expensive, when the wife wants to watch her romance flick on the big screen, you’ll be able unhook your device and hide in the basement with the old floor model TV or the office with the 32’’ until the coast is clear.
Following this basic how to guide will ensure that you choose the best HDTV for your needs while escaping with a few bucks left in your pocket. Remember that this purchase will be something you will likely look at every day and should not be rushed into. Check out a few items in a store like Best Buy or Walmart and see the resolution differences for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few makes and models and know what you like get online and search for the best deal on the model you want. You’ll already know what to expect that way, and you can take advantage of the best deal that is available on that model. You’ll know you’re getting the best price on the picture you want and you’ll know that you made the best choice for your HDTV.LEARN MORE
Vizio P-Series 2016
A perfect fusion of price point and quality, the Vizio P-Series clocks in at a competitive $996 to deliver a top notch quality picture that competes very well with many of its fancier and more expensive competitors.
On the flip side, if you just feel like setting fire to piles of money like Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight then the LG OLEDB6P might very well be the one for you. Some men just want to watch the world burn…READ MORE
For those who still want an LCD TV (for some reason), you would be hard-pressed to do better than the Sony XBR-X930D. At close to $3,000 this is a bit pricey and (believe it or not) not even the highest-end…READ MORE
Choosing the best speakers for you.
Before starting this article remove all ideas of brands and price tags from your mind. If it isn’t your first time buying speakers, pretend it is and factor in all aspects of these speakers. Do you want the biggest speakers to add to your home theatre? Do they match your room’s decor? Are you limited on space but don’t want to sacrifice quality? These are clear questions you should ask yourself before even looking at speakers. more info
A/V Receiver: Next Level of Home Theater
With home theater technology getting better and better, it’s getting easier and easier to approximate a theater-like experience in your living room. Out of the box combo systems, called integrated systems, that include Blu-Ray or DVD players, and an A/V receiver are user friendly; but if you really want to take your home listening and viewing to the next level, a separate A/V receiver is the first step toward a complete home theater. Of course, there are a few things that you need to be aware of, before you make the purchase. more info
Sound Bar Shopping: A Sound Investment
If you are shopping for an alternative to expensive, clunky surround sound, but still want to augment the basic sound from your television, sound bars are a great choice. A sound bar is not going to provide the same experience as surround sound, but it will give you better sound than what your television can provide, straight from the package. Having the know-how allows you to choose carefully, and avoid the common pitfalls and purchasing blunders of audio-newbies. These tips will help you not only pick out your new sound bar, but also fit right in with the audiophiles. more info
Before starting this article remove all ideas of brands and price tags from your mind. If it isn’t your first time buying speakers, pretend it is and factor in all aspects of these speakers. Do you want the biggest…
If you really want to amplify your home theater, a high quality soundbar is essential. Maybe you have your HDTV screen dialed in the way you want it. You have your Roku or Apple TV plugged…READ MORE
Fact: no matter how amazing your television is, it’s all for naught if you have subpar sound equipment. Bad, tinny sound from weak reedy TV speakers offer a poor contrast to the stunning picture…READ MORE
Home Theater Video
Bluray players are deep in their life cycle and are readily affordable, therefore we won’t be talking about a range of models too much in this article as we’re focussing on the best of the best. As quality began to peak in 2015 blu ray players are now combined with other features to attract customers, such as streaming apps, games, 3d, extra processing power and as of 2016, true 4k. It’s important to remember that blu ray players also play music and are an important factor for some consumers. I’ll be showcasing 3 different players, one on the lower end with many features, one family orientated model and the final is the top end of the scale without any competitors. Lets begin our journey on choosing the blu ray player for you.
The All-round On A Budget
If you have finally decided to get a blu ray player after the craze has plateaued but don’t quite want to invest a large deal of money, then this is the one for you. For just over $100, the Sony BDPS6700provides more than an entry level blu ray player with 4k scaled, 3d, HD sound and access to some playstation games. On top of that, it comes from a reputable brand and has bluetooth connectivity so you can have your own choice of accessories and remote which often put many people off due to over complex remotes. Ideal for a small home set up with a mixture of uses, you simply can’t go wrong with this entry level Sony.
Playstation 4 The Family
Being one of the Playstation 4’s primary features, it has an integrated blu ray player superior to its predecessor. It’s stood the test of time and still a very admirable piece of kit with the bonus of a huge library of games, movies, streaming and communication. As the PS4 is in its late cycle it can easily be found in bundles for $300 new, making it a bargain for what comes with the package. With not only Playstations own media store, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime are all available. The PS4 can even keep friends and family entertained which helps justify spending more money than the smaller Sony player. Best suitedl for a family or social household.
The Best Of A Blu Bunch
For those who know exactly what they came for there is the Samsung UBD-K8500. This is currently the most powerful and expensive blu ray player at over $300 new. I hear you asking “why would I get this when I can get a ps4?” Simple, this is the only blu ray player to have real 4k and not a scaled chip. If you’re serious about your film, have a 4k tv and the right cables then this is the only blu ray player for you. Not for the faint of heart and certainly not for those who won’t appreciate 4k or the 7.1 dolby surround sound compatibility, this is the top of the scale and doesn’t look like it will be moving any time soon.
See on Amazon
Small, medium or large there are countless blu ray players available but some clearly stand out from the rest. Stick to big brands to rely on quality while weighing up the best features for your situation. Price isn’t just for the right to play blu ray, but for the accessibility to a library of media in blu ray or more.
Avoid Common Setup Mistakes
So you finally made the plunge and got some new electronic gear. Before you unpack it and hope for the best, following these simple tips will help you avoid the most common setup mistakes.
- Even before you buy the gear, plan ahead. Sometimes we get so excited about buying the gear that we forget to take a look around the place where you’re going to install it.
Since you probably can’t change the room, you can change the type of gear you get. Smaller rooms can get by with 5-inch or smaller woofers. A large room can accommodate 8-inch or larger woofers. While some want the biggest speakers possible, those speakers won’t produce good sound in the wrong –sized room.
- Think where the pieces will go. This is best done before you start unpacking and get your heart set on a specific location. Look for any odd structural obstacles, that might make ir difficult to set up your gear. It’s important to not place anything between you and the speakers. Even a small table near the listening area can reduce clarity. If necessary, re-arrange the room to optimize the sound quality.
- Don’t place your speakers against walls. While this may seem like a good out –of-the-way spot, you’ll pick up reflections in the sound and reduce the quality. By pulling the speakers out a couple feet from the wall, the sound will improve.
- Don’t put your favorite chair in the middle of the room. The best seats for sound are a few feet off-center.
- Your equipment needs to breathe. Some people want to hide the equipment in a piece of furniture. While this may be necessary, make sure the system is placed in a well-ventilated area. Remember, your system will produce heat and that heat can cause some problems with your equipment, even leading to overheating, which can shorten its lifespan
- Don’t leave wires exposed. Sure you can’t wait to hear your new system and you know where the wires are running, but your friends may not. You don’t want someone tripping over the cables. Racers along floorboard or walls are perfect for keeping wires hidden.
- If using surround speakers, place them 2-3 feet above where the ears will be when listening. Usually the speakers can be placed at a person’s standing height, which puts the speakers a few feet above that person’s ear level when sitting.
- Don’t overspend on cables. If using HDMI cables, make sure they support “high speed” internet. While higher priced cables may seem better, usually the difference is negligible.
- Buy surge protectors. After spending the money to buy a system and installing it, be sure to protect your gear with a quality surge protector. A small electrical spike can wreak havoc on the delicate audio gear. When buying a surge protector, look for the UL seal and make sure it has enough outlets for your needs.
By avoiding these common setup mistakes, you’ll not only save yourself the frustration of installing the system improperly, but will create a better environment for your listening pleasure.