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Buying a good home theater system – general know-how for beginners

Buying a good home theater system – general know-how for beginners

Investing in a home entertainment system could mean serious money. In this day and age, consumers are bombarded with information about the product that they buy, but many of them do not know or fully understand how that information should be handled in order to get the most out of their purchase. I’ll be explaining the general terms and how to interpret them when buying a home theater/entertainment system. There are many manufacturers that have “all-inside” types of home entertainment systems, basically giving you the full package, just like buying a prebuilt computer, but if you want a better experience for your home and are not bothered by the technicalities, you can buy components separately, just like you would with computer components and then assemble them together to achieve precisely what you want from your money.

1.  Main components of the entertainment systems

First thing to know is, of course, what does an entertainment system contain? Rather, what makes it an entertainment system? There are a few things you should know about this. Your typical entertainment system usually means having a TV (flat and big, preferably), an audio receiver, speakers, a DVD/Blu-Ray player and, of course, cables.

2.  About the components

When it comes to the TV, it usually is the bigger the better, but not all the time. You need to look for one with a good contrast ratio (>2000:1). Contrast ratio refers to how much times whiter the whites are compared to the blacks, meaning that a higher contrast ratio will give you deeper blacks and clearer whites.

The audio receiver is the component you want to buy and take note of the tech stuff, especially its wattage. You don’t want to buy a high-powered receiver running 120 watts per channel only to discover that your speakers can only handle 80 watts, thus frying them the instant you try to use it. You want to look for a receiver that can output a certain amount of watts, which express exactly how loudly your speakers will blast the music or movies you will be throwing at it and then buy matching wattage speakers, or even a tad bit over the limit, just to be sure. If you get a 120 watt receiver, then you should get 120 or little higher wattage speakers.

Talking about speakers, they usually come in all shapes and sizes, but most common seem to be tower ones. They range from 5 to 7 speakers, including center channels, two front speakers, and two rear speakers for the surround effect and a subwoofer to give extra bass and quite possibly make your room tremble.

The DVD/Blu-Ray player is quite optional if you will connect your laptop or PC to the TV and audio receiver. This one is really a matter of brand preference, but you can get them really cheap, too.

The cables are highly important and you should always ask for assistance from an expert when buying them, mentioning your current setup and asking for extra tips. Most generic cables work fine, but only a few go the extra mile and deliver a truly great experience.

Now you know the basics of how to buy your home theater, go build that room of your dreams now!

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