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Posted by George P. Goulas on 3/11/2020

Technologies for home theater audio are rapidly changing. At one time if you wanted a good listening experience in your living room you have to spend hundreds on surround sound speakers, subwoofers, and receivers. Then, you had to run wires throughout the room and try programming your remote to make it all work.

While surround sound speakers are still a good option, there are other ways to experience quality audio in your home. In this article, we’re giving you a guide to choosing a home audio system that fits your needs and, more importantly, your budget.

Sound bars 

The latest addition to home theater audio is the sound bar. These are slim, sleek speakers that usually come with a small subwoofer.

Sound bars come in several varieties. Some are plug-and-play, meaning you don’t need to worry about purchasing amplifiers or devices, you just plug them into your television via an HDMI cable or connect to your TV through Bluetooth and you’re done.

Other sound bars are more like bases that your TV sits on top of. Sound bases aren’t as popular as they once were, so there are limited options. Furthermore, they typically don’t include a separate subwoofer so they can lack deep bass.

The other benefit of sound bars is just how simple they are to use. Even the cheapest sound bars often come with Bluetooth, so you only have to worry about one outlet spot for the power cord.

For most homeowners who want sound quality far better than their television’s internal speakers can provide, sound bars are an easy way to vastly improve your audio experience without breaking your wallet.

Before buying a sound bar, try them out at a local electronics store to gauge what quality you need. You also might want to measure your television to find one that matches its width.

Surround sound

The classic home theater experience is a bit more complicated. However, you can often buy a “home theater in a box” which includes everything you need for an audio system.

Most commonly, you’ll find 5.1-channel surround sound. This means there are five speakers and one subwoofer included in the box. These systems have one central speaker, two speakers that are placed to the left and right side of the television, and two rear speakers. However, you can also find 7.1-channel systems which include two extra speakers.

Many “home theater in a box” packages include an audio receiver. However, if you already have one, your money will be better spent on buying a higher quality speaker system than replacing your receiver.

The downfall of buying a speaker/receiver package is that their quality is often only marginally better than a (much simpler and easier to set up) sound bar. To get the optimal experience out of a surround sound system, you’ll need to spend more and do your research.

So, if you have a high budget and want a dynamic, high-quality surround sound system, your best bet is to buy a quality receiver (usually somewhere in the $600 range) and then spend the bulk of your budget on speakers.




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Posted by George P. Goulas on 8/15/2018

Whether you’re a movie buff, like playing the latest video games, or just appreciate high-quality video and audio when you’re binging shows in Netflix, your experience can be greatly enhanced with a home theater system.

 Technologies are ever-changing when it comes to home audio and video. The quality of DVDs now seems laughable next to 4K resolution HD videos. Similarly, bulky home audio systems that once required several huge speakers have been reduced to small “sound bars” that sound excellent and take up hardly any room at all.

 If you’d like to turn your living room, basement, or any other room in your home into a home theater, read on.

Location of your home theater

The obvious choice for many when it comes to choosing a location for their home theater is the living room. And that might make the most sense for people who have small or mid-sized houses who spend much of the time in their living room.

However, if you’re looking for an immersive, distraction-free viewing experience, you may want to consider other rooms in your house, such as a finished basement or office.

What you’ll need

 If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to invest some time and money in your home theater. First, you’ll need an HDTV or projector and screen. Projectors can be a fun way to achieve the movie theater experience and are particularly useful in large rooms where you’re sitting far from the screen. However, quality projectors are quite pricey ($600 or more, not including the cost of a screen).

Choosing a television

If you go the television route, you have several options. Shopping for a TV is no easy feat. There are LED, OLED, 4K Ultra, and curved televisions. If you’re looking for the highest video quality and plan on streaming HD video with a high resolution, a 4K Ultra would be the best option.

 However, if you aren’t particular about video quality and will be happy with anything that plays your old DVD collection, most LED televisions will do the trick at an affordable price point.

 Home audio

When it comes to audio quality, you might be surprised with the variety of systems on the market.

For the classic home theater experience, a multi-speaker surround sound system is the closest you’ll get to the cinematic experience. Since the rise of the sound bar, home theater systems have become much more affordable.

However, with most surround sound systems you’ll need to buy a receiver. You’ll need to set it up and find a place to put it (they tend to be pretty large).

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing speakers around the room and finding a place for a big audio receiver, a sound bar could be a great alternative. Starting at around $100 and scaling up to $1,000 depending on your audio quality needs.

Most decent sound bars come with a small subwoofer, but other than that they are small, lightweight and typically Bluetooth-ready, so you can just plug them in and start listening.




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