You LOVE watching movies, but don't always
have the time to roundup the family and journey to the local
theater, or can afford to shell out the money for the cost
of the tickets and the criminally priced greasy popcorn.
So, you often resort to renting videos from your local store,
but watching them on your 27" TV just doesn't quite
have the same impact. Not only is the picture quality awful,
the sound is even worse through those 4" speakers in
your TV set. You've been hearing a lot about "Home
Theater", and both your neighbor and your brother-in-law
have the huge, new, big screen TVs, powerful surround receivers,
and gargantuan speakers to shake the entire house. The kids
are begging for a similar system, but your spouse is saying
"no" to remodeling the front room for a wall full
of techno gadgets. So, how do you keep everyone happy?
Perhaps the answer lies in a home theater system. Whether
you are considering a home theater-in-a-box for $200, or
are adding a entire room to house your $25,000 state-of-the-art
equipment, there are hundreds of options and choices in
the design and construction of your ultimate home cinema.
Home theater design has reached record levels of stylishness
and complexity. Having a private theater used to mean you
were either a wealthy celebrity, CEO of Paramount Pictures,
or president of the United States. Today, however, with
the advanced audio-visual technology (think DVD players,
powerful new speakers, and digital high-definition projectors)
nearly everyone can afford a stylish home entertainment
environment that can rival your local movie theater.
The term "home theater" refers to any combination
of audio and visual equipment in your home that attempts
to duplicate or surpass the sights and sounds of the movie
theater experience. This definition can vary widely, however.
On the high end, you can have a custom designed (and built)
home theater that costs thousands of dollars--complete with
high end video projector, state-of-the-art DVD player(s),
separate amplifiers for each channel, dozens of in-ceiling
speakers and some subwoofers that can shake the paint off
your neighbor's garage.
In reality, home theater in most households does not consist
of major room re-modeling, expensive custom installations,
or a lot of money. It can be as simple as a 27 inch TV,
a basic DVD player, inexpensive stereo receiver and a set
of modest speakers. You can have a home theater in just
about any room of the house, a small apartment, office or
even a dorm room. The options are nearly endless and the
choices are yours!
Any home theater starts with a fantastic television screen.
Screen size is no longer the only choice you have to make.
You now have the option of standard tube televisions, flat-screen
plasma displays, rear-projection televisions, in addition
to the high-end front projector systems and pull-down wall
screens. To add to the confusion, each of these types of
screens is available in standard quality or the new high-definition
The second, and some would say most important piece of equipment,
is the sound system. If you are truly looking to recreate
the movie sound in your home, surround sound is your best
bet. It is a recording technique that, when paired with
a speaker system, puts the viewer in the center of the action
with sounds that move front to back, and side to side. It
is not about louder sound, rather, it is about sound that
envelops the listener and provides directionality to off-screen
A media player is another component to your system, and
most people today choose DVD as their preferred format.
When connected to a receiver and speakers, or when connected
to a home theater system, most DVD players can play audio
CDs. If you plan to use your DVD player to play CDs on a
regular basis, you may want to consider a multidisc player
over a single disc model.
Other necessities and accessories range from speaker choices,
lighting controls, auto-retracting curtain (to conceal the
screen), and certainly comfortable seating. Seating choices,
like everything else, vary widely. Your biggest decision
in this area is whether you want your home theater to look
like a "home" or a "theater." If you
want the miniature theater look, you can get stadium type
seating that closely resembles your local theater. For a
more "homey" look, you may wish to go with more
About the Author
Larry Denton is retired history teacher having taught 33
years at Hobson High in Hobson, Montana. He is currently
Vice President of Elfin Enterprises, Inc., an Internet business
dedicated to providing valuable information on a variety
of important topics. For a theater full of additional information
to help you create that "perfect" home theater,