Home Theater: Transforming home entertainment... by Kathy Scott
Over the years, the world of home entertainment has radically changed. Twenty-five years ago, only a small percentage of households in the U.S. had cable television, and VCRs were merely a luxury item. Today, most U.S. households get at least 50 channels and have a good-sized TV accompanied by a variety of electronic components. Many people are opting to create their own home theater systems, a combination of electronic components designed to recreate the experience of watching a movie in a theater.
While the prospect of building your own home theater may seem like an overwhelming task, look no further than your local retailer. A Home Theater In a Box (HTIB) is offered by nearly every electronics manufacturer. For as little as a few hundred dollars, HTIBs are available for nearly every pocketbook and come easy to install. The essential components needed to create a home theater system include a large screen television (27+ inches), equipment to split up the surround sound signal, a device to play or broadcast movies in surround sound and at least four speakers.
Before buying an HTIB, take inventory of all the audio/video components that you already own and any A/V components that you might purchase in the future. Be sure to use the proper digital audio/video cables to maximize your audio and video performance. Many HTIB systems are home network ready, so you can even listen to the music stored on your PC.
Remember to purchase a home theater system with enough inputs available on the back of the receiver to allow you to enjoy the maximum number of home entertainment options both now and in the future. Ultimately, the performance of your home theater system will depend on how much money you are willing to spend and how important certain areas of performance are to you.