I am a self-proclaimed sci-fi nerd. Give me a space movie or anything with dinosaurs and I bec-
-ome captivated — especially when I can take in a flick on my home theater system. Watching a movie in surround sound puts me right in the thick of the space battle or Tyrannosaurus Rex chase.
My goal is to help you enjoy the same sense of fun and adventure with your surround sound system. This guide walks you through the key factors to consider while you’re planning your home theater.
Nothing brings a family together like a great movie, TV show, or playoff game in a cozy home theater. Suddenly, your house is the cool house, and a rainy Saturday night at home is everyone’s first choice.
In this guide, you'll learn the ins and outs of home theaters. And if you still have questions at the end of it, we're here to help. So without further ado, let's dig in.
So, what is a home theater system?
Typically, a home theater system includes the following components:
A TV or projector and screen.
A video source. (Like the signal from your cable or dish provider or a Blu-ray player.)
A home theater receiver. (Where the power and the brains originate. Also what everything connects to.)
Speakers, including (but not limited to): a center speaker, right and left forward speakers, right and left rear speakers, special effect speakers for Dolby Atmos, and a subwoofer or two.
Now, let's take a closer look at all the different pieces that make up a home theater system, while lending some advice.
The first thing to consider as you’re designing your Home Theater System is the room itself. How big of a space do you have? A large, open living room with vaulted ceilings needs different gear than a small- or medium-sized room with 8’ ceilings.
Choose speakers that match the size of your room. Floor-standing speakers are ideal for large, open spaces.
Stand-mounted, on-wall, or in-wall speakers are well-suited for smaller rooms.
If the total area of your room is less than 150 sq ft then your area is smaller and you have to go with on wall or satellite speakers. If your area is greater than 150 sq ft then you can go with tower speakers. But there is no such rule. if you want better sound then you can place tower speakers in small area too.
Building your home theater system.
Projector Or TV ?
If you’re dedicating a particular room to a home theater alone, that’s not only really exciting, it means you can go really big with a projector and screen that measures 8 feet or more across for true theater-like imagery. Today’s newest 4K projectors are razor sharp and whisper quiet. Typically, the projector is installed in the ceiling at the rear of the room, and the screen remains stationary or is made to hide away like a motorized window shade. (Sometimes we add automated movie curtains to the mix. )
If you don't want a projector then you can go with High Definition TV also. TV usually provide smaller screen compare to Projectors. Tv generally used in living area , bedrooms etc.
AMPLIFIERS ( What is an AV receiver?)
An AV (Audio/Video or Home Theater) receiver not only powers your whole home theater system, it’s the brains behind the whole system. The AV receiver’s job is to receive, interpret, and then process the TV audio signal (via the cable or dish box, for example) coming into the house, before sending it along to its ultimate destination: the TV and speakers.
An AV receiver contains five or more amplifiers (at a minimum) to drive five or more speakers. Why so many? A typical home theater system has 5 speakers that, together, create surround sound… and each speaker requires its own separate audio signal from the AV receiver. These days, many home theaters have more than 5 speakers, including those that are Dolby Atmos-enabled. In fact, for the best-possible, mind-blowing effect, many home theater systems now include a dozen or more speakers, many of which are hidden and/or are built into walls and ceilings.
Available AVR in the market is 2.1,5.2,7.2,9.2,11.2,13.2. Selection of AVR is always dependent on the number of speakers. If there are total 5 speakers and 1 or 2 woofer then you have to select 5.2 AVR.
Your favorite shows and movies can come from any number of devices in addition to your set-top box. Blu-ray players and 4K media players give you a gorgeous viewing experience and extremely rich home theater sound, and the same is true with devices like Apple TV and Roku, which connect to the Internet and stream content from an ever-growing list of providers (e.g., Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu). Also, unlike some older TVs, devices like Apple TV and Roku automatically update themselves whenever new apps, games, and/or shows become available.
Home Theater Speakers.
When it comes to audio, it makes sense to choose your speakers first, because your speaker choice helps determine your receiver choice. Big speakers need big power, little speakers need less power, that sort of thing. Also, more speakers means you'll need more channels on your receiver. And for the most immersive sound possible, you may want to consider adding the latest in home theater technology: Dolby Atmos. (We’ll get into Dolby Atmos in a moment, but we mention it here because a Dolby Atmos system requires a few more speakers.)
What do the channels mean & their role ?
There’s 5.1, and 7.1, and 11.2, and 5.1.2 and so on. What’s that all about? If you think of channels as speakers, the first number (the 7 in a 7.1 system for example) = the number of speakers, or seven speakers in this example. The .1 refers to whether the system has a subwoofer or not, so the .1 in a 7.1 system = one subwoofer. The last number, for example the .2 in a 5.1.2 system = how many Dolby Atmos speakers are in the set-up. So a 5.1.2 home theater means 5 speakers, 1 subwoofer, and 2 Dolby Atmos speakers.
At a very minimum, you’re going to want 5 channels… but we highly, highly (that’s two highlys) recommend getting at least 7. With 7 channels, you will experience – at home – the same thing you do in today’s state-of-the-art digital cinemas: big, thrilling, hang-on-tight, theater sound.
Let’s break down benefits by channels:
• A good old stereo system is now referred to as 2.0 (Two channels, two speakers).
• Add a subwoofer for impactful bass, and now you have 2.1. The "2" refers to the two front speakers, and the subwoofer is the ".1".
• Add a center channel speaker, so the dialog always seems to come from the center of the screen (especially important if you sit a little to the side) and we have "3.1".
• Add two more speakers near the back of the room for wrap-around surround sound, and we’re at "5.1". (5.1 was the surround sound standard up until a few years ago, when things started getting crazy good.)
• Larger rooms, especially where your sofa is a distance from the back wall, may call for side and rear surround speakers, which takes us to "7.1".
• The coup de grâce, and the latest thing: Dolby Atmos, where we place 2 or more speakers in the ceiling. Now we’re talking actual 3D sound, where any sound can hover at any point in space. To recap: a "7.2.1" system has three speakers in front, two on the sides, two in the rear of the room, and a pair in the ceiling. Plus the subwoofer, which is typically in the back, but can go anywhere.
5.1 Home theater systems.
The basic, traditional home theater setup is a 5.1 home theater system with 5 or more speakers: a center speaker, a left and a right speaker, a rear left and right speaker, and, of course, a subwoofer. A typical setup looks like the image below.
5.1.2 and up? Now you're talking.
For years, a 5.1 home theater system was considered the crème de la crème. Not anymore. A slew of recent technology breakthroughs now take home theater to a level equal to (and in some cases, even better than) the world's finest cinemas. And one of the biggest breakthroughs came by way of Dolby Laboratories.
A few years back, the sound gurus at Dolby figured out a way to make what some call “3D surround sound" via a new technology called Dolby Atmos ("Atmos" as in Atmosphere.) What Dolby Atmos really does is create a layer of sound that not only hovers above the audience, it hovers in different areas above the audience. And it does it so well, you can actually pinpoint specific sounds in specific places in the air.
How to describe it? A great example of everything working together in a home theater with Dolby Atmos might be the 2017 movie, “Dunkirk”. (In this example, the home theater = 5.1.2, where the ".2" = two upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers.)
You're part of a quiet conversation between a small group of worried soldiers on the beach (center speaker). On your left, in the background (left speaker), you hear other soldiers drilling. On the opposite side (right speaker), the steady roar of waves rolling up the beach whlie gulls circle above (Dolby Atmos) and dive for fish. In the distance, behind the beach (left and right rear speakers), the steady pounding of German 88s is getting closer. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an explosion only 50 yards away and so loud (subwoofer + every speaker), your knees buckle. And then – before you even see them, you hear them – the sounds of a half dozen Messerschmitt 109s coming in low, passing directly overhead (Dolby Atmos) with a deafening roar, as thousands of 30mm shells whistle by before hitting the sand. (Everything, but especially Dolby Atmos.)
We’ve seen folks turn their heads and/or duck when reacting to sounds above by way of Dolby Atmos – it really is that good. To make it happen, you’ll need a Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver and a minimum of two Dolby Atmos enabled speakers (in addition to your other home theater speakers). Dolby Atmos speakers include in-ceiling variations (flush to the ceiling with the bulk hidden behind drywall), on-wall, or toppers that rest on top of your rear speakers. (Today's better movie theaters are Dolby Atmos-equipped, and most new amplifiers come with Dolby Atmos already onboard.)