A cozy couch, dim lights, a large screen TV, and an exciting home theater; they all make up the perfect elements for complete home entertainment. A great home theater adds a unique ambiance to your room. When turned on to watch a movie or see a sports event, the audio can be quite captivating. But not all home theaters are capable of delivering excellently. We won’t be happy to see you burn your hard-earned cash on some crappy, old sound system that takes delight in squealing rather than booming out loud, clear audio. That’s why we’ve taken out time to write this article so you can look out for the best home theater systems when you’re ready to shop for one.
There are several varieties of home theaters. There are the high-priced ones that could blow you into a new dimension and then there are the more affordable variants fit enough for just a small room but still capable of quaking your little apartment. With the many connectivity options available, you could transform all your rooms into a musical paradise. This guide will take you through all you need to know before buying a home theater system.
What Is a Home Theater System?
Let’s start with the basics. What is a home theater? What comes to your mind when you think of a home theater?
In a nutshell, a home theater system is a collection of common devices tasked with the job of amplifying audio. Although they can stand alone on their own, they are usually made to couple with other electronics like TVs, cable boxes, PCs, etc. You can think of them as the icing (home theater) on a tasty cake (your other electronics).
What defines a home theater is its audio. It is the core of the device. Forget about the other features like the DVD player or Radio that usually comes with it. If the sound is wack, then call it something else and not home theater.
TVs today are manufactured with less focus on audio and more emphasis on video and unit size. That’s why it has become a necessity to own a sound system. Failure to do this and you’d be left to endure the unpalatable sounds from your TV set.
A complete home theater system should include components like the home theater itself, a TV or projector with screen, a video source like your DVD player or cable box, and the speakers which should be situated at different strategic positions in the apartment.
Home theater systems are also built to be easily set up by any novice. Simply put, you don’t need to own an engineering degree before you can set up the system on your own.
Types of Home Theater Systems
Whether you live at the Taj Mahal or you live in a bunker, there’s a home theater solution that is just perfect for you. However, you’ll still need to consider what type of home theater to purchase in relation to the size of your living room and its décor. For instance, if you live in a rented apartment, there’s a limit to how you can configure your home theater. In addition, it won’t be a great idea to leave wires out in the open or drill holes just to keep the wires out of sight. The ideal type of home theater for this setting would have to be the wireless variety.
If you have a large room, then opt for huge speakers. If the room is smaller, then shoot for a low-profile soundbar. You can add a subwoofer to it and end up with a 3.1 speaker setup.
The types of home theater systems available include the following below:
Well, we can’t accurately deem soundbars as systems but they are ideal alternatives, especially when space and budget are in short supply. All the major speakers that make up a sound system are incorporated into one soundbar (left, right, and center speakers). What you’ll need to add would be a subwoofer, and perhaps 2 rear speakers. With this combo, you’ll get a true home theater surround experience without consuming much space.
Pre-packaged home theater systems
Also known as home-theater-in-a-box, the pre-packaged home theater systems are the cheapest alternatives and the easiest to set up. Unfortunately, they do not often deliver the best audio quality. This type of home theater is packaged with everything you need (except the video sources) in a box. Included in the box are color-coded cables as well as easy-to-follow instructions on setting it up. Although you can consider giving the job of setting up the system to a professional, it really is something anyone with basic knowledge of electronics can figure out on their own.
Home theater systems made up of separates
Here, you have to buy individual speakers, subwoofers, etc. They can be quite pricey, however depending on the quality you’re interested in, you can get some them for lesser prices. One cool thing about this type of home theater system is that you get to customize it the way you desire and according to your taste. It is perfect for bigger rooms. Indeed, it means you’ll expend more energy trying to figure out the different systems and set them up. If you eventually succeed at setting up the home theater system, you’ll testify that it was all worth the stress.
Wireless home theaters
Although wired home theater systems are considered to be more reliable and, to an extent, a necessity, however, if seeing wires in the open drives you nuts, then you’ll heave a sigh of relief with wireless home theater systems. No need to drill holes in floors or walls. No need to run wires through walls, cracks, and crevices, behind photos and curtains, etc. Installing is very easy and completely stress-free. You can conveniently move your speakers anywhere without the hassle of stretching out wires. The best thing with wireless systems is that your components are all connected to your home network. This makes it possible to stream from almost anywhere to anywhere. (for example, you could stream from your music library or any online radio stations using an application installed on your smartphone or tablet and have it boom out through the wireless speakers anywhere). You get to control the music volume and change music tracks conveniently.
Custom-designed and installed home theaters
Here, the kind of sound you hear when you’re in a cinema hall fall under this category. You probably won’t get to visibly see these speakers but you can definitely feel their impact. The audio comes at you from virtually everywhere. These types of home theater systems are not for the average Joe. They are super expensive and their installation is usually done by the manufacturers themselves or other experienced professionals, at least). If you can afford to own a pool in your home, then it won’t be a problem to get custom-designed home theaters installed in your home.
What You Need to Design Your Home Theater System
If you’ve finally made up your mind to buy a home theater system, you’ll want to consider its layout for your room. Remember, a sound system is made up of different components working together as one. They should include:
- A home theater receiver: Ideally the brain for powering your speakers.
- Center channel speaker: This should sit comfortably either below or above your TV.
- Left and right front speakers: These ones should occupy the flanks with your TV in the middle. The best type of speakers for these are the floor-standing/bookshelf varieties.
- Rear (surround) speakers: 2 or 4 speakers (bookshelf/floor-standing) positioned at the sides or at the back of the room (opposite the front speakers/TV).
- Subwoofers: 1 or 2 powered subwoofers that can be placed in front of the room or at the back, beside the couch.
As we reiterated earlier, you should first consider your room or apartment when laying out your home theater system. Your speakers just have to match with your room. First, take a look at how much space your room can spare for the home theater system. A large living room will need a different sound component than a medium or small-sized living room. Thus, the speakers’ size should sync with the room’s size. Floor-standing speakers work best with large, open spaces rather than smaller ones. Smaller rooms should make use of in-wall or stand-mounted speakers.
You should also think of what other things the room can be used for. If you live alone or with a loved one then it’s fine. However, if you have kids and the room space serves as the family room where the young ones frequently play, it will be best to have the speakers mounted on the walls to keep them out of their way. Aside from kids potentially damaging the component, it can also pose a hazard to them or pets.
Home Theater System Accessories
Call them the little stuff and you won’t be wrong however, they are still as important as the system itself. Cables, remote controls, and power protection make up the home theater system accessories.
If you intend to continue using your sound system for a lengthy period, then it’d be wise to make pair it with a power protection appliance. Although some sound systems have built-in surge protectors, there’s still no reason why you should not consider adding an extra safeguard for your sound amplifier.
Unless you’re using a wireless home theater, ensure the cables are just right for the home theater system. Connecting devices with subpar cables can stunt the device’s performance and dull the entire experience.
You should be in a relaxed mood while operating your home theatre system but having to switch between TV and cable box remotes while still holding your home theater controller can make you look like you’re trying to practice circus tricks. Dump all those remotes in the cabinet and get a universal one that commands every other electronic you own. You not only keep your mind focused, you also get to save money on buying batteries.
Home Theater System Furniture
In recent years, home theater furniture has gained popularity. This is because a lot of people prefer to invite loved ones over to watch movies together. Thus, when shopping for a home theater system, keep in mind that to complete the perfect home entertainment experience, emphasis should be placed on technology, comfort, and style.
Some luxurious homes have specific rooms dedicated to serving as a home theater. However, regular home furniture may not be as comfortable for watching your favorite shows and movies. It would be an unpleasant thing to experience if after every few hours of watching your movies you have to go for massage therapy sessions. That’s why home theater seatings are designed to recline with armrests in-between. This allows the back to relax and rest comfortably on the chair while watching the screen.
Furthermore, home theater system furniture is developed using leather (or faux leather) and are well padded to add that extra fluff that will go easy on your body when you rest on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know that electronics, generally, can be quite complex for many people to get a hang off. So, we’ve posted some of the most common questions asked by customers and presented answers to them below.
How do you set up a home theater and how long should it take?
You’ll likely find a manual in your new home theater set. It will help guide you through the process of setting up your sound system. Depending on what type of home theater you ordered for, setting it up can take anywhere from between a few hours to up to a couple of days. Just remember that you’ll need to take time to run wires around the room.
You may also need to refer to your owner’s manual to customize the system for the components that came with it. The great thing with today’s premium home theater receivers is that they are usually built to self-calibrate. Self-calibration involves a process where the home theater receiver set includes a microphone which can be used to evaluate your room’s acoustics and set the distance as well as levels of the speakers to your location for listening – the entire process is automatic.
Note that everything in the universe is constantly moving or vibrating and this includes the area of space where you will place your home theater. So, the first thing you should do before you even start bringing out the sound machine from its pack is to consider how loud or mute your room is. Do this by clapping your hands. Do you hear an echo? If yes, then the room is probably too loud. This could be as a result of tough walls, tile floors, plenty of window glass, etc. On the other hand, if the clap’s sound is low, then it’s likely that your room is too dead or mute. Soft or cushy furniture, angled walls, tapestries, thick carpets or rugs, etc., can be responsible for the break up in the sound.
Essentially, your room needs to be acoustically neutral and so, you could try getting some acoustic panels or other sound-absorbing pieces of material to improve the acoustics in your room.
Is there a way to make the rear speakers wireless?
Running wires to the back of the room can be quite tasking or nearly impossible. But with the aid of a wireless adapter, you can attach wired speakers to the rear. However, it’s still considered as just a patch. If you need wireless surround speakers, there are some models designed to make the sound device feature optional wireless capability for the surround speakers. Be sure to look them up before deciding to buy a home theater system.
Which brand makes the best home theater systems?
No one brand can be considered as the best – especially when you realize that you can combine different components by mixing and matching them between brands (that’s if you’re going for separate components). We do not recommend mixing and matching different brands though. It is always better to stick to one brand for all your home theater components.
Quite often, most big brands will focus mainly on either receivers or speakers, never both. So, you won’t be surprised to find different brands for your speakers and receivers. However, if you were to purchase a home-theater-in-a-box system, it’d be obvious the entire set came from only one brand and we’d confidently recommend Royal home theater systems.
What wattage should i consider for my home theater system?
This will depend mainly on what performance you expect your home theater to deliver before buying it. The more the wattage, the better the performance, especially when turned up. Be sure to have the minimum wattage ideal for your speakers.
The fact is human beings can audibly hear volume changes of up to 3 decibels (and this requires a doubling of power). For instance, if you have 70 watts per channel but seek to increase the sound level significantly, you’d need 140 watts per channel to pull it off successfully. Do note though, that 125 watts per channel is the recommended level of power you can have that won’t run out.
How about the warranty?
Get your sound system from an authorized dealer and you’ll enjoy the full manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, you will likely also get the phone and email support from the dealer as extra support from the manufacturer. Lastly, in case you do not see what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us.
No home entertainment setup is complete without the addition of a home theater system. No matter how you look at it, you’ll agree that it does add a unique atmosphere to your room, especially when it’s turned on and your favorite movie or music is blaring out from its speakers.
A home theater is tasked with improving the audio from other electronic devices. There are several varieties of home theater, each delivering excellently in their specific capacity.
Also, most home theaters are quite easy to set up, however, you may need a technician to assist you with it in case you’ve got a busy schedule or just don’t see your self as a handyman. If you’ve got any questions or need more recommendations, you can contact us here.