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A surround sound setup doesn't need speakers everywhere. Here are 2.1 reasons why.

I'll admit it, as enticing as it is to have a surround sound setup all around you, delivering the cinematic punch of a movie's soundtrack, it's not for everyone…or every room for that matter. For what ever reason, the layout of the room may be prohibitive, or a member of the household may not like the idea. The answer may lie in a 2.1 channel system. Simply put, 2 speakers and a subwoofer.

Please do not confuse simplicity with cheap home theater systems. I defend this by stating that I have heard even a computer surround sound speaker system with 2 speakers and a sub sound better than a poorly built 5.1 channel system.

A good quality surround sound setup depends on the quality of the gear, not the quantity. The sonic improvement of adding two powered speakers and a subwoofer to an HDTV, a blu-ray, or DVD player will knock the socks off of many folks. It is such an improvement over the TV speakers that many will be content with a 2.1 channel system.

For those households who may have someone opposed to a huge 5.1 channel, or 7.1 channel system, it is a welcome compromise. A 2.1 channel system is much easier to hide, connect, and once again, the sonic improvement is hard to argue against.

You may be wondering, can 2 speakers be considered surround sound, since there are no speakers "surrounding" you? The answer is, absolutely! You see, many of today's acoustic technologies provide a surround effect through the use of only two speakers. This audio effect creates the illusion of more than 2 speakers using unique processing algorithms, your room's acoustics, or a combination of both to create a convincing soundstage. For those unconvinced, the simple upgrade to 2.1 channel stereo sound compared to your TV speakers will be a revelation.

Home theatre speakers don't have to surround you. Experience a 3.1 channel system and hear for yourself.

As many people love the idea of thrilling surround sound in their home, there are those who lack the space for lots of home theatre speakers. There are also those who don't want to place speakers all around the room. Enter the 3.1 channel home theater systems.

Depending on the room layout or size, it may be difficult to place surround sound speakers. Under these circumstances even wireless surround sound may not be an option.

Whether a small den or how about the bedroom?

A 3.1 channel home theater system might just fit the bill.

This setup consists of 3 speakers across the front and a subwoofer. Rear speakers are not used; however, using acoustical processing technologies, which vary depending on the manufacturer, a simulated surround sound speaker effect is achieved through the front speakers.

These may be separate left front, center, and right front speakers, or a single speaker array, called a sound bar, which is usually long and narrow placed above or below the TV. Inside this speaker array will likely be three or more separate speaker drivers (one for each channel) along with a connection to a separate subwoofer for the low bass effects. Often, the amplifier, inputs and outputs, as well as all of the audio processing circuitry is housed inside the subwoofer to keep this system super easy to hookup.

High definition DVD recorders let you archive your HD videos on DVD media!

Home movie-makers rejoice! High definition DVD recorders are here! Wouldn't it be great if there were a device that allowed you to transfer all those home movies from now and the past onto DVD? Without a computer? What about burning those high definition videos from your HD camcorder?

Now you can. In fact, if you have a Sony High Def Handycam with memory stick or hard drive storage, you can burn HD video at 1080i resolution on a DVD disc! Enjoy those home movies, digitally preserved, while you are relaxing in front of your HDTV.

Although a Blu-ray player is required to view those DVDs you record in high definition, the cost of a blank DVD vs. a blank Blu-ray disc is far less expensive. Using AVCHD or advanced video codec HD, this high def DVD recorder can burn videos recorded in a high definition format known as H.264. This special type of video compression allows approximately 90 minutes of HD video to fit on a 4.7 gigabyte single layer DVD.

Surround sound speakers in a 5.1 channel system put you in the center of it all!

When it comes to surround sound speakers, the most popular configuration is a 5.1 channel setup. This consists of a front left and right speaker, a center channel speaker, a left and right rear speaker, and a subwoofer. The basic configuration is shown in the diagram to the right.

When installing surround sound, this setup allows a bit more flexibility when it comes to positioning the rear speakers versus a 7.1 channel system.

The rear speakers in a 5.1 channel system can be placed directly behind or off to the sides of the listener (i.e. behind the sofa, on two end tables on either side of the seating position, on the rear wall behind the listener, on the side walls to the rear of the room, and even in the rear corners of the rear/side walls at a forty five degree angle to split the difference.)

The point is, you can experiment with the sonic differences and with what is more aesthetically pleasing for the room in question. You will likely find the perfect place for your surround speakers.

For those looking at a wireless surround sound system, the 5.1 channel configuration will prove an easier install as well as far easier to find when shopping around.

For those who feel that they are selling themselves short by not going for the full 7 speaker setup, remember that today's sophisticated surround sound receivers that utilize 7 channels are designed to convert all content recorded in 7.1 surround sound to 5.1 speaker systems when needed. The sound for the additional speakers is simply routed to the two surrounds and you still get to hear everything. This feature found on pretty much every 7.1 channel receiver can be easily configured in the first time set up of your system after which you need not worry about it again. This is a great feature for two reasons:

First of all, most all HDTV broadcasts, DVDs,video games, and even Blu ray discs to date are encoded in 5.1 surround formats so you won't be missing a thing. Second,if your home theater system consists of a 7.1 channel amplifier/receiver, as more content becomes available, you can add the two additional surround sound speakers to your system if and when you wish to do so.

The surround sound receiver. The brain behind every word, note, and noise you hear.

One of the most important parts of home theater systems is the surround sound receiver, also commonly referred to as a home theater amplifier. It sends power to each speaker and processes the signal, providing the brawn and the brain of every voice, sound effect, and musical cue.

Not only providing the power to drive every speaker, this device is also the hub, or central nervous system wherein all of the components, often including the high definition television, are connected.

Even wireless home theater systems have a receiver that connects the front speakers, the blu ray player, a high definition satellite system, and many other home theater components.

The surround receiver is responsible for decoding many of today's sophisticated surround sound formats found on the latest blu ray movies and DVDs.

Make sure that the amplifier/receiver you select has sufficient power for all of the speakers in your surround sound setup. Also make sure it has the most up to date decoding for the latest surround formats.

You will be amazed at the connectivity of today's components. A high quality home theater receiver will allow almost every component in your system to be hooked up to it; thereby simplifying the operation of your system and making it all the more enjoyable.

A wireless surround sound system keeps the wires out of your way! (kinda/sorta)

We live in an increasingly wireless world. Why not a wireless surround sound system? For many, the thought of installing surround sound with all of the speakers and the subwoofer, placed anywhere in the room without any wires is very enticing. Sadly however, with current technology, this dream remains unrealized and incomplete.

Currently, the options are limited to subwoofers and the rear speakers. Even in these instances, although the audio signal information is transmitted to the sub wirelessly, the subwoofer still requires power from an AC outlet. The wireless surround speakers need to be powered as well. Most likely in this case, a separate, smaller amplifier, plugged into an AC outlet is connected to the rear speakers with speaker wire. This enables surround sound without the need for wires running across the room from front to back.

wireless vs. wired

The small amplifier can be hidden in the back of the room near the speakers, or under the home theater seating if you place the speakers directly behind the listener.

Depending on your home theater design, wireless surround sound may be the right way to go.

For those situations, where wires across the room present the biggest challenge when installing surround sound, this "wireless" option should be helpful.

Today's dts surround sound and Dolby Digital surround formats sound incredible!

dts surround sound and Dolby Digital surround formats continue to push the envelope, providing an audio experience to remember. The brilliant sound is enjoyed in both movie and home theaters worldwide.

Dolby™ Digital is a surround sound audio format created by Dolby™ Laboratories. The company was founded in 1965 by Ray Dolby and first designed professional recording equipment. They pioneered a method of audio compression and expansion that greatly reduced the hissing sound often heard in tape recordings at the time, while maintaining the clarity of the recording itself.

Years would pass and the company would continue to develop ways to improve sound. Movie theaters around the world would have Dolby™ equipment to provide a grand listening experience. In the 80's the company would enter the digital era, and offer surround sound, and in the early 90's, digital surround sound would be born. Until 1993, Dolby™ Labs was the preeminent provider of digital surround sound in the theater, and the home.

dts™ stands for Digital Theater Systems and was founded in 1993 in Agoura Hills,CA. It was designed to improve on the current digital surround format at the time called ac-3 (audio codec 3) by Dolby Laboratories. The use of lower data compression would result in a richer audio experience than the current technology.

Today, both Dolby™ Labs and dts™ continue to advance surround sound audio quality. Thanks to the advancement of technology found in today's surround sound software like blu ray discs, video games, and DVDs, and the remarkable sophistication of today's advanced surround sound receivers, we have the privilege of hearing the director's and sound designer's sonic vision exactly as they intended.

Not long ago, dts surround sound and Dolby Digital, or ac-3 as it was originally called, gave us 5.1 channel digital audio on our home theater systems. This allowed for 5 discreet channels of sound coming from 5 speakers plus a low frequency effects channel for a subwoofer. For the first time, surround sound speakers were as full range as the front speakers, and independent of each other. This meant that a sound designer could place sounds all around the listener and manipulate them anyway they wanted. This allowed for very realistic panning effects and a greater sense of immersion into the film, game, or show. Well if that was not awesome enough, now there are newer more advanced audio formats brought to the home theater scene.

Why would we need something better?

Although the aforementioned dts surround sound and Dolby Digital surround formats sounded great, they were digitally compressed in order to fit on DVD and video game media available at the time. Now, that is no longer the case. Thanks to newer media like blu ray movies and their vast storage capacity, the producers of today's movies can include uncompressed digital soundtracks which are identical to the studio master recording and the ones we hear at the movie theater.

Now called dts-HD Master Audio and Dolby True HD, these latest formats from the two companies are able to provide home theater lovers with sound quality that compromises nothing.

A great system needs great sound! The home theater speakers you select are as important as the picture.

A great system needs great sound! The home theater speakers you select are as important as the picture.
Rich, clear sound is such an important part of a home theater system.

Recognizing the importance of a high quality picture, it's George Lucas who said the sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.

Since it is equally important as the video, make sure you select home theater speakers that suit you, your family, and your home theater design.

Thankfully, there are several speaker options to choose from including a wireless surround sound system, and I will explain the features and the differences so you can make the right choice.

The first thing you can decided upon is how many speakers do you want? The most elaborate setups will consist of seven speakers and a subwoofer for a configuration called 7.1 channel surround. The next and currently most popular surround sound setup consists of 5 speakers and a subwoofer called 5.1 channel surround.

Other options forgo any rear speakers called 3.1 channel and 2.1 channel systems These consist of 3 speakers plus a subwoofer, and 2 speakers plus a subwoofer respectively. Finally you can simply have 2 speakers and no subwoofer, for stereo listening otherwise known as a 2.0 channel system.

  • 7.1 channel system 
  • 5.1 channel system 
  • 3.1 channel system 
  • 2.1 channel system

The best home theater systems place speakers all around you in a 7.1 channel system.

If your home theater room design allows for it, the placement of more speakers can offer a more immersive sonic experience. Many of today's surround sound receivers are equipped with the necessary connections and amplification requirements for the connection of 7 individual speakers and a subwoofer, hence the designation, 7.1 channel system.

The most advanced surround sound formats can send discrete information to each speaker. The best home theater systems will usually consist of 3 speakers up front, the left, center, and right, plus a subwoofer. In a 7.1 channel setup, you add two speakers to the sides of the listening position as well as two speakers behind the listening position as shown in this diagram.

When a soundtrack of a movie, game, or any other source takes advantage of all 7.1 of these channels, a more discreet listening experience can be had. Now you don't just have two surround sound speakers, but four!

Imagine… directly to the right side of you a door creaks open as a breeze is heard from the left rear. A window slams shut on your left side while a crack of thunder erupts from the right rear. You are completely immersed in the eerie storm as each of the four speakers envelops your listening position. Let us not forget the front channels which provide the on screen action and dialogue from the center while the front left and right offer the dramatic score and any other sounds coming from in front of you. The subwoofer provides the thunder its impending growl, while bolstering the powerful score's lowest notes...

In a 7.1 channel system, the sky is the limit when it comes to getting a prime listening experience.

A home theater seat that's just like those at the theater!

Yet another home theater seat to consider is potentially less comfortable, but also potentially more expensive. Classic or modern movie theater seats. These are either original or replicas of actual movie theater seats. They are usually connected to each other in rows and will vary in cost depending on whether they're replicas or originals from an actual theater.

They are available in specific quantities which you can discuss with your seating provider.
These seats may not have the comfort factor of a reclining plush or leather chair, but the sense of nostalgia and "movie theater feel" will be off the charts!

Creating a home theater plan that involves the decor of an actual cinema, whether an original idea or recreation of a classic, is one of the coolest ways to enjoy movies at home. If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room or area of your home that you can devote entirely to a home theater system, and you have budgeted accordingly, than you are one of the lucky ones!

Originals, replicas, classic, and contemporary theater designs! If your home theater interior design calls for that "movie theater in my house" look and feel, then adding actual movie theater style seating is the icing on the cake!

Relax in a home theater recliner and enjoy the show!

When it comes to the best home theater design plans, great seating is an important consideration. A home theater recliner is built specifically for this purpose and is available individually, or in rows of 2, 3, and 4 seats.

This type of seat usually has armrests (usually with integrated cup holders and some have remote control storage too). Depending on your home theater layout, they can be custom built to your specifications or purchased from vendors as 1, 2, 3 or 4 chair setups.

They are usually quite comfortable and provide that custom made home theater design feel. Some models let you recline so far back that you can lay horizontally, a nice feature for those occasional boring movie nights Zzzzzzz...

Depending on your living space, this option might be better for those who have separate rooms dedicated for home theater systems.

Reclining loveseats: These home theater recliners offer cozy comfort for movie-duos everywhere!

A popular choice of home theater seating for those who may not have the space or desire for traditional home theater recliners is a reclining love seat. This item is available at furniture stores online or locally, and is an extremely comfortable and practical solution. It is designed for 2 people and offers the ability to sit upright, or fully reclined. Although it is a one piece design, both sides usually recline independently of each other, so one person can be upright while the other lays back.

One of the key differences between these and home theater recliners is they do not have an armrest in the middle to come between you and your movie date.

This snuggle-friendly option is affordable and comes in a variety of styles and finishes. Leather, fabric, and even micro suede are among the available options of which many have stain repellent features too.

It is a great choice for those whose home theater layout must be in a living room or den. This allows the room to share functionality for both use as a theater or just a place to relax without impacting decor.

Home Theater projectors using CRT technology, the pioneer of tried and true hi def picture quality.

Back when home theater projectors first hit the market, CRT Projectors were the first type introduced. Just like a television, this technology was based on the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), on which the viewer sees the television image. The technology may have been around for a while, but it is still interesting to see how it works.

Three small CRTs (one for each primary color), coupled with a light magnifying lens, can project a color image onto a large screen in a darkened room. With the proper video processing circuitry, CRT size, and lens combination, a CRT projector can produce excellent high resolution images. To this day, the clarity and detail of a CRT projector still can hold its own; however, DLP and LCD can match it, and at a fraction of the cost.

Although this form of projector is still in use in some commercial and industrial settings, it is generally unavailable and no longer marketed for the home consumer. The market has moved in the direction of LCD and DLP projectors.

Home theater projectors featuring DLP technology can bring the movie theater to your door!

Whether you are watching your favorite sporting event, or a blu ray movie, if your home theater plan calls for the largest screen available, it may be time to look at home theater projectors. This option known as DLP looks very similar on the outside to LCD projectors, but use an entirely different technology.

What is DLP you ask? DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, a technology developed by Texas Instruments in 1987, becoming commercially available in 1996.

At the center of this technology is an optical semi-conductor called the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). It contains a rectangular array of up to 1.3 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors; each of these micro mirrors measures less than one-fifth the width of a human hair, and corresponds to one pixel in a projected image.

These mirrors are capable of switching on and off thousands of times per second and are used to direct light towards or away from a dedicated pixel space (one space for each mirror). The amount of light or darkness of the pixel is determined by the length of time a pixel is turned on or off. This part of the DLP technology will only produce various shades of grey from white to black.

To add color, a color wheel is places in the light path. Depending on the expense of the DLP projector purchased, this wheel will contain from 4 to 7 segments of red, blue, and green. It spins from 150 to over 250 times per second. As light passes through a point on the color wheel, the mirrors switch in accordance with the light.When a DMD chip is coordinated with a digital video or graphic signal, a light source, and a projection lens, its mirrors can reflect an all-digital image onto a screen or other surface.

LCD Home Theater Projectors are a great way to bring the movie theater experience home!

Have you ever been to homes where the people have their very own home theater projectors? Why not you? Depending on your home theater design, LCD Projectors are a typically less expensive method of getting a fantastic home cinema experience! LCD is an abbreviation of 'liquid crystal diode'. These projectors contain three separate LCD glass panels, one each for red, green, and blue components of the image signal being transferred to the projector.

As the light passes through the LCD panels, individual pixels can be electronically opened to allow light to pass or closed to block the light. This activity modulates the light and produces the image that is projected onto the screen. Since the primary colors: Red Green, and Blue make up the entire color spectrum that is visible to us, effectively modulated this technology can display a very accurate image.

Home theater projectors bring huge cinema sized images into your home!

Home theater projectors come close to the movie theater experience by beaming the image onto a wall or screen! They offer the largest potential picture size depending on your space. Here is some useful information about this great technology for home theater systems!

Talk about providing the biggest picture with the smallest space! Home theater projectors are a great solution for those of you who want a screen size typically bigger than what todays picture tube, rear-projection, and flat screen TVs provide. The biggest tube TVs top out at about 40" diagonally. LCD and Plasma TVs currently on the open market top out at around 70 inches, although larger ones are on the horizon.

The cost of a 70" flat screen TV as of this writing is upwards of $10,000. Now if you prefer to have a flat screen TV and do not mind the cost, then enjoy it! For the rest of you, a home theater projector may be just the ticket.

There are a few different technologies available in these devices which I will explain; however, there functionality is the same. They are:

DLP , LCD , and a larger more antiquated type called CRT .

Both DLP snd LCD Projectors are a typically less expensive method of getting great home cinema. They can range in size from about the size of 3 loaves of bread side by side to a device you can place in the palm of your hand. Those on the smaller scale are designed more for business presentations and will not likely have the features to maximize the high definition movie experience.

You can mount it on your ceiling, and aim it toward a white wall, or better yet, a screen that can be fixed, retractable, or even motorized to descend on command. The best part is, depending on your room size, seating distance from the screen, and projector, your image can be larger than 200" diagonally! Just imagine a screen so big that you feel like you are actually in a theater.

Combine this technology with the spectacular image of blu ray and the cinematic experience is simply breathtaking!

How do these technologies work? Well, there are some differences to consider:

Projector Technology:

There are three principle technologies available with variances and improvements made in all of them over the years.

  • LCD Projectors
  • DLP Projectors
  • CRT Projectors

There are advantages and disadvantages of LCD and DLP and CRT technologies when compared to each other. Color accuracy, brightness, contrast ratio, image clarity, among many other picture attributes are constantly compared between them.

When added to home theater systems, the end result for LCD, DLP, or CRT home theater projectors is a beautiful projected image that, depending on your budget, room size, screen size, and seating distance, can rival the impact of your favorite cinema.

LCD TV brings the amazing flat panel high definition experience to your home theater.

Just a few years ago, having a flat screen television to home theater systems meant spending a large sum of money on a technology that was still in its early stages of development.

Now, prices are a fraction of what they were, and the technology has seen vast improvements over the years. So what is LCD TV? How does it work?

An LCD TV is a flat panel television containing LCD panels made of two layers of transparent material, which are polarized, and "glued" together. One of the layers is coated with a special adhesive polymer that holds the individual liquid crystals. Current is then passed through individual crystals, which allow the crystals to pass or block light to create images. LCD crystals do not produce their own light, so an external light source, such as LEDs (light emitting diode) or florescent bulb is needed for the image created by the LCD to become visible to the viewer.

Unlike standard CRT and Plasma TV, since there are no phosphors that light up, less power is need for operation and the light source in an LCD TV generates less heat than a Plasma or traditional television. Also, because of the nature of LCD technology, there is no radiation emitted from the screen itself.

In today's consumer electronics market, sizes range from 19 to 70 inches.

If you enjoy video games along with your movie watching and television viewing, then an LCD TV might be just the ticket!

Depending on your home theater design, another option to consider is a home theater projector if you need an even bigger screen presence.

No matter what technology you decided to go with, so many great options for your home theater system are available for you to choose from!

Choose home theater seating that fits your lifestyle and desired comfort level. It's your theater, you decide.

When you are watching a movie, or your favorite team play on the big screen, are you seated comfortably? Now that you are thinking about your overall home theater design, have you considered what type of home theater seating would be appropriate?

The type of seating you choose can really have an impact on your home theater experience. You may decide that your couch and/or love seat that you currently use makes for the perfect viewing experience. If that's the case, well congratulations! You do not have to worry about choosing and purchasing home theater seating.

I use a love seat for my home theater and it works just fine. For those who are considering the purchase of a new seating option,

Here are some suggestions:

A reclining love seat. This item is typically designed for one or two people and can serve in a dedicated home theater, a living room, or den with minimal design impact on the room it resides in.

The next option is a home theater recliner. This type of home theater furniture feels right at home in a more dedicated theater setting. Upon first glance, its purpose is clear: Keep you comfortable, with your feet up, and have your beverage at the ready. A convenient cup holder is common on many models and adds convenience.

These selections so far can be quite inviting, but there are those movie buffs who may long for yet another option....

Original or replica, classic or modern movie theater seats!

The choice of many home theater afficianados for their authenticity and charm, they can provide the "official movie theater feel" that many of us can appreciate.

And let us not forget this option: your existing sofa, love seat, or chair. That's right! Your existing furniture may be perfect for enjoying your home theater system exactly the way it is. You can focus your budget on other home theater furniture for your electronic gear.

In the world of flat panel televisions, a Plasma TV provides excellent picture quality.

A plasma TV is a flat panel television which looks very similar to an LCD TV but consists of an entirely different technology.

This type of flat TV produces a picture using a number of cells that are fed a steady stream of neon and xenon gas. The cells are contained within panels of glass and coated with electrodes. The electrodes charge the cells, which fires up the gas, transforming it into plasma. This process results in ultraviolet light. The light then sets off the phosphors in the TV, and the phosphors in turn radiate light.

A group of phosphors is known as a pixel. Depending on the size, a single plasma TV set may contain nearly 3,000,000 pixels, which are responsible for producing the television’s crystal clear picture. Each pixel consists of three cells of red, blue, and green light, which combine to form an image. By uniting these cells, these TVs have the ability to display more than 67 billion colors.

They are different from traditional TVs in that they don’t use the old-fashioned cathode ray picture tube. But, like standard sets, plasma TVs do produce heat, because they burn phosphors. Plasma TV screen sizes vary, from 32"" to 84"

The picture quality on this type of TV is terrific, but it is important to be aware of certain issues:
Because of the necessity of a glass front, glare from ambient light can be distracting and wash out the picture in a bright room.

Because of the technology used to create the detailed picture, it is possible that long standing images, i.e. channel logos, stock tickers, and video game screens can cause "burn in" in which case, the static image is permanently burned in and can detract from the viewer's enjoyment. (note that as technology improves, this has become less of an issue but the risk is still present).

If your home theater design is not in an overly bright room, and video gaming is less frequent, then a Plasma TV may be the perfect choice!

When you go to your local home theater store whether in person, or online, make sure to check out the latest features and advancements to determine which home theater screen type is best for you.

A great blu ray player, dvds, games, music, internet, and so much more on the PS3!

The Playstation 3 or PS3 is the home gaming system from Sony which came on the market in November 2006. This device is very unique, versatile, and, in my opinion, one of the greatest values in home entertainment today. As someone who owns one, I can tell you this, it is much more than a video game console. In fact, In comparison to its use for watching blu ray movies, I rarely play games on it. It is a highly rated blu ray player, dvd player, and has the ability (when connected to the internet) to download movies and games (prices depend on item downloaded).

It has a large hard drive which can be used to store and view photos, store and play your music, and can even store and show home videos from your video camera. It also offers free downloads of movie and game trailers, playable game demos, and more. It is a high definition powerhouse, and can be continually updated to the latest blu ray standards so it will always be able to take advantage of what blu ray technology has to offer, with 3D gaming and blu ray 3D compatibility right now!

The price is only $299 for the base model, and it is a great addition to any home theater system.

Tune into HD with a high definition box.

Do you need a high definition box? If you have cable and you want to receive all of the high definition TV channels offered, you will need a high definition cable box from your provider. There will often be an additional charge for it, but many of these boxes also act as a high definition video recorder which can help justify the monthly fee increase.

Another important type of HD box comes in the form of an high definition tuner or set top box. If you have an HD ready TV or a video monitor capable of displaying a high definition picture, then this device will enable the reception of free, local, over the air HD broadcasts.

Most of the HDTVs sold in the last few years have these tuners built in; however,there are those sold in the past decade that are called 'HD ready'. These TV's had the technology to display the resolution necessary to show HD, but lacked the built in tuner to receive the signal and decode it. Another name for them is 'HD monitor'. By adding a high definition tuner and a high definition TV antenna, you'll be watching your favorite local high definition television stations free and clear.

3D HDTV, the next dimension of high definition!

If you've been in an electronics store and perused the flat panel TV section, chances are you've seen 3D HDTV demonstrations from most or all of the TV manufacturers out there.

So what is 3D HDTV? It is the latest evolution in 3D technology. For the longest time, in order to watch 3D, we were forced to wear paper glasses with red and blue cellophane in front of our eyes. This did give us the illusion of 3D, but at the expense of inaccurate color reproduction and major image ghosting problems. Alas, this was the technology available at the time… so we endured. Enter the present day, and read the latest high definition television reviews and we have to applaud technology for ushering in an entirely new 3D technology!

When you combine the crisp clean imagery of high definition television broadcasting, hi def satellite, or blu ray 3D, with the new glasses that don't need to filter colors out in order to work properly, you get a visual experience that blows away the older technology in every way!

Yes, you do need to wear glasses, but the amazing technology in most LCD and Plasma TV's use their high frame rate to show left and right images in succession. Using a process known as active shutter technology, the glasses are synchronized to these alternating frames and are able to show the correct frames to each eye hundreds of times per second. The picture remains in high definition while providing the illusion of a three dimensional image.

Although the technology tints the glasses, thereby darkening the image ever so slightly, the color remains true, and the image razor sharp. By the way, Most manufacturer's 3D glasses are designed to fit over prescription eyeglasses, if you need to.

One interesting and common misconception is that if you were to buy one of these new HDTVs with 3D, you have to always wear the glasses and always watch everything in 3D. This is entirely false. These TV's are first and foremost 2D HDTV's with the ability to show 3D content as well. Think of it like pondering a sunroof on a new car purchase, "but what if it rains?" You don't have to open it if you don't want too. On a beautiful day or moonlit night; however, it sure is nice to have the option to open that sunroof if you have it. A 3D HDTV simply adds an additional entertainment option to enjoy, only if and when you so desire it.

If you like going to the movies to watch the latest hit films in 3D, then you should enjoy the latest offerings from the various 3D HDTV manufacturers. and the latest blu ray releases in 3D. Lets not forget about 3D gaming, a more immersive experience, now on the Playstation 3.

Watch HDTV on your schedule with a high definition video recorder.

High definition video recorders today are the new VCR of tomorrow.

On June 12th, 2009 television changed across the United States and the difference was clear...literally! The amazing clarity of HDTV broadcasts simply blows away the standard definition analog signals we have enjoyed for much of the past century.

Depending on where you live, and how long you have had a high definition television, you might have noticed that HDTV signals were being simulcasted along with the analog broadcast. As of June 12, 2009, no more.

So how do you record these digital broadcasts? With high def video recorder!
They come in various forms such as a high definition dvr, or high definition box.

Companies such as Tivo, Moxi, Sony, and Hauppauge have released High definition video recorders that perform similar tasks; albeit with some key differences.

Tivo will record from cable or free over-the-air broadcasts, but requires a monthly fee to use its recording capability.

Moxi has no monthly fees, will record cable, but it will not record free over-the-air HD broadcasts.

Sony's recorder will record cable and free over-the-air HD broadcasts and has no fees; but it is discontinued. (As of this writing, they are available online from some merchants and auction sites such as ebay.)

Hauppauge's pvr (personal video recorder) can record HD from any set top box, with no fees, but not over the air broadcasts.

Regardless of which device you choose, expect to pay between $250 - $800 for any of these choices. If purchasing a unit is not a preferred option, and you subscribe to high definition satellite television or cable TV, then the integration of a HD recorder in your satellite or high definition cable box is available for a low additional monthly fee.

High definition dvd recorders can actually refer to two different products and is discussed here.

High definition dvrs are often available features built into high definition satellite receivers. This technology has been around for a few years with programming providers like high definition directv and dish network HD.

If you subscribe to cable TV, and you own or plan on getting an HDTV, make sure to upgrade to a high definition box so you can benefit from the awesome hi def experience!

Some many products! So many pixels! Which high definition television sets your home theater apart?

High definition television sets come in a variety of styles. If you have had a chance to research high definition television reviews, then you know that the standards for picture quality have changed dramatically for the better. Of course, as with any product, some models will excel over others, but even on value priced brands the picture quality can tower over their analog ancestors.

So what differentiates a high definition TV set from those that aren't?
Well, for one, HDTVs are usually more rectangular in shape. This is due to the fact that the high definition broadcasting standard uses a 16 X 9 widescreen format.

Notice the difference? On the left, the widescreen picture shows more information, whereas the older TV on the right shows a 4 X 3 image offering less picture information.

So what do these numbers mean? It's quite simple really.
The numbers '16 X 9' refer to the dimensions of the screen, 16 across, by 9 high. Older TVs have a ratio of 4 across, by 3 high or '4 X 3' Sometimes they are written as 16:9 and 4:3, but it means the same thing.

So you get more picture, but you also get higher resolution and more color. High definition television channels are up to six times sharper than standard definition ones, offering much improved color and clarity which must be seen to be appreciated. Additionally, many manufacturers offer models which include the option to enjoy 3D HDTV! Click on the links below to learn more about the various types of High definition TV sets available.

A high definition TV antenna may be all you need to see a brilliant picture.

A high definition TV antenna is one of the least expensive ways to enjoy local high definition television stations. It can cost as little as a few dollars at your neighborhood electronics store. The signal strength may vary, depending on your proximity, and the type of terrain between you and the broadcast towers; i.e. hills, mountains, etc. A TV antenna, connected to your HDTV may be the only thing you need to enjoy a large number of free over the air HD broadcast channels.
Unlike analog broadcasting, digital TV signals either come in crystal clear, or not at all. No grain. No fuzz. Surprisingly, the picture quality may be even better than cable or satellite due to the compression techniques used by these providers to give you more channels, despite bandwidth limitations. Of course if more programming choices are important then by all means, keep your cable or satellite provider and upgrade to their high definition box or high definition satellite receivers if you haven't done so already. For those who subscribe because you want a clearer picture when watching local TV, then give a high def TV antenna a try. The antenna you need may be as simple as a pair of rabbit ears, to a small powered antenna, to an outdoor roof antenna, depending on signal strength in your area. Once you see the picture, you will be amazed!

High definition satellite television unlocks a powerhouse of programming bliss.

High definition satellite television is a great choice if a high definition TV antenna is not an option, or you simply want access to more high definition TV channels! When it comes to getting a clear digital picture, satellite television enjoys a long history of providing just that.

High definition satellite receivers; however, take clarity and content to a whole new level when compared to their standard definition counterparts.

Whether you use a Dish Network or Directv high def satellite receiver or other provider depends on which one offers the best value and programming options for you.

Another thing to consider is the availability of 3D HDTV programs, which are arriving more and more as live sports coverage, popular movies, and other original 3D choices are showing up on program guides across the country.

Once you've made your decision on your program provider, make sure to specify that you want high definition to get the best possible picture on your HDTV.

Many satellite TV providers offer local high definition television stations for an additional cost. This is convenient; however, depending where you live, you may be able to get them for free by simply using a high definition TV antenna connected directly to your TV's antenna input.

Something else to note is that many providers offer high definition satellite recievers that incorporate a high definition video recorder built right into the box! This lets you watch TV on your schedule and in most cases, even record one program while you watch another.

DVD technology: An Important Part of Every Home Theater System

DVD technology has been around a long time, over fifteen years, actually. Even with the introduction of blu ray disc, DVD is still essential in your own home theater design. Todays display technologies have evolved, and so has dvd technology right along with them.

Even in the best home theater design built today, the DVD player is an important piece of equipment.
DVD technology was a breakthrough for home theater systems that allowed a disc the same size as a CD to hold so much more information. This enabled high quality standard definition video and multi-channel audio to be recorded on a single disc.

At first, DVD players were designed to replace VCRs as the new way to watch movies. In the mid nineties, there was no high definition TV in the USA, just regular standard definition picture. DVD players were able to offer a far superior picture quality to VHS tape with roughly twice the resolution. 720 X 480 (DVD) vs. 320 X 240 (VHS). These numbers refer to the vertical and horizontal lines of resolution the two technologies can display.

With regard to picture quality, televisions have advanced, and DVD has advanced with them. First it was with progressive scan players. These players allowed playback of DVD discs to scan all of the horizontal lines in sequence vs. having to interlace the odd number and even number lines separately as televisions did to display their images. The process of displaying a picture with odd and even frames intermittently is called interlacing. To better understand this, visit the display resolutions page.

With the advance to high definition television (HDTV), DVD players have held on by improving their own capability to output higher resolution pictures. Some players even output up to 1080p resolution to maximize their picture quality on todays sophisticated TVs that can display it. This process is called up-converting or up-scaling, and it allows the DVD player to produce a sharper picture from a lower resolution source. Now while this picture will look great, it will not be as sharp or amazing as an image produced by a blu ray disc.
Remember, if you are concerned about the idea of purchasing both types of players, you don't have to. A blu ray player is also an up-scaling DVD player as well, sometimes referred to as a blu ray dvd player.

The bottom line? With thousands of great movie titles to choose from and prices falling all the time, DVD players and discs will be a mainstay of home theater systems for a while. Even with blu ray, high def satellite, and high def cable TV, an up-converting DVD player can be had for under $100!

Plan the home theater design that fits your space and budget and get it right the first time!

The best home theater design involves many important decisions:

  • Determine the amount of space you can allow for a home theater
  • The location in the home where your system will be set up
  • What if any home theater furniture would be most appropriate
  • the budget set aside for your home theater system investment


There is more than one aspect of space to consider. The first consideration is the size of the place you live in. The second, is how much space do you want to dedicate to your home theater design? These two variables can be very different depending on your taste and floor-plan, regardless of the size of your living space.

Lets use a small apartment for example. You might want to keep the home theater confined to a corner or one side of the main room. A separate dining area, a home theater area, and a home office space, each taking up a third of the space of one large room would be an example. There are so many great home theater systems that are small enough to enjoy without overpowering a confined area, but offer large theater like sound without compromise. Many 'home theater in a box' solutions are an ideal choice for this application. A compact audio system coupled with the appropriate size flat screen HDTV will make your movies at home simply breathtaking.

Depending on your taste, you may take that same room, but elect to have a system that uses the whole room. Imagine a retractible screen on one wall and small speakers beside it. On the opposite wall, small surround speakers. A subwoofer hidden in a corner. A home theater projector on the ceiling. If the speakers are wall mounted and small in stature, when your movie screen is up and away, you might not even know a home theater system exists here. Dim the lights and get comfortable on your sofa and be transported to another world when your system comes to life. This home theater design is ideal for both a house with a dedicated room for a home theater system, and the small apartment setting as well, provided the floor plan allows for the screen, speaker, and projector placement as described.


Although the topic of space and location can overlap each other, they are not the same. Where are you going to install this stuff? To get the maximum pleasure out of your home theater design, it is important to consider your surroundings (besides the awesome sound that will be surrounding you).

Do you have a baby sleeping in the room next to where you want to watch movies loudly? This is an important consideration, even if a baby is on the way, because installing the best home theater system, and then uninstalling it is not so much fun. You may not need to enjoy your movies at high volume levels, but babies are very sensitive. Why take a chance?

Another consideration is the people around you (particularly in an apartment or condominium setting). Is there someone's bedroom right below your subwoofer? This is sometimes hard to avoid, but if it is possible, set up your home theater system in a location that does not disturb other members of the household or the neighbors.

Will the sun be shining through the window right on to your picture that is so bright that even the blinds can't cover it all? The glare can be very distracting and lessen the impact of the beautiful picture on your TV or screen.

Is the area you are considering prone to high traffic where people will have to cross in front of the screen often? (This may be unavoidable depending on your space, but it can be very annoying) If you have another option, all the better. Of course if your living situation, including yourself, consists of just one or two people, then it shouldn't be too much of an issue.


Ah the furniture! Now don't worry, your existing stuff might be just fine. No matter what furniture you use, it will not affect the sound or picture quality. The right choice, however, can affect the overall experience when enjoying your home theater system. Click here to learn more about home theater furniture including equipment furniture as well as home theater seating and the role they can play in your overall home theater design.


This is something that should be determined as you plan your home theater. Remember, you do not have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get a good system. Also note that if you desire higher end gear, then you can build it piece by piece, over time, as your financial situation permits.

Blu ray burners let you record full HD content and uncompressed audio.

Blu ray burners, or blu ray recorders, are the next step in high definition recording for home theater systems. With all of the available recording options such as a high definition video recorder or high definition DVD recorders, the stage is set for the blu ray format to get in on the game.

Blu ray players and burners are currently used in computers across the industry. Although there are a few models out there, their entry into the mainstream home theater realm has yet to take place.

Fear not, blu ray fans! As of this writing, blu ray recorders with hard disk drives have been introduced in Japan for home theater use. These recorders allow the user to record full high definition content onto the hard drive and then burn it to blu ray disc.

A blu ray recorder that is available with an internal hard drive in various sizes, sounds like a great addition to any component rack! It should only be a matter of time, so check back here for the latest information on their availability status in the United States.

Thinking about a blu ray player? Learn about features & benefits.

If you are considering a blu ray player and want to get some information first, you've come to the right place! This page discusses the latest advances in blu ray players available to you. I have searched the stores and the world wide web to find what's out there.

Remember, they are sometimes referred to as a blu ray dvd player, but they are the same thing. As of this writing, all of the current models are backwards compatible and will play both blu ray movies and DVD movies too.

Chances are you already own a dvd collection. Whether it is just a handful of titles, or a library of hundreds. You might even be concerned that your investment in DVD technology is so substantial that you have no interest in upgrading to blu ray.

Well, one of the greatest features of every player is what it can do for your DVD collection too. Maybe you are not ready to invest in a whole new library of movies right now. In fact, if you have your DVD player connected to an HDTV, the picture looks pretty great anyway. So what's the point? When you add a blu ray player to your home theater system, it will upscale, or up-convert the resolution of the DVD to take full advantage of the High Definition capabilities of your HDTV! It's not quite high definition, because DVDs are not recorded that way, but the technology in the player can significantly improve your viewing experience without even putting in a blu ray disc. That is why these devices are sometimes called blu ray dvd players.

So even if you are not ready to invest in a high definition movie library, adding a blu ray player can improve your current DVD library, and if you rent movies, you can enjoy hundreds of blu ray titles from Blockbuster, Netflix, or your local video store. Once you see the picture quality of blu ray, you will really appreciate the investment in your high definition TV even more!

Today's blu ray players can do more than just play back movies. Depending on the title you are viewing, you can access interactive content that allows you to see the movie making process with picture in picture commentaries and behind the scenes material that you can see on screen while the movie is playing. Many titles offer a feature called 'BD Live', which allows you to download additional bonus content from the internet that is related to the movie you are watching!

Many of today's players are also compatible with blu ray 3D which will add the ability to playback content in 3D when connected to a compatible 3D HDTV!

Home theater furniture tips and ideas for your equipment. Where to put all this good stuff!

Welcome to the Home Theater Furniture page!

There are two main areas to think about:

  • Where do I place all of my great home theater gear?
  • What about my home theater seating options?

These two things are equally important because as far as your equipment is concerned, (unless you are able to hide it all away in a closet) you need to have easy access to it, but also make it aesthetically pleasing in the room. With regard to home theater seating options, there's a whole page dedicated to that too.

Some home theater systems have only one or two electronic components (not including speakers) and can thus be easily integrated into the rooms decor.

Other systems like those consisting of separate components may need to be neatly stored in a cabinet or shelf type system.

I myself use a wood cabinet with glass doors to store all 8 of my components. I place my 46" LCD TV on top of it and it looks great! It is a nice solution that was very inexpensive, and blends with the decor of the room.

If your home theater design includes mounting your flat HDTV on a wall, then you only need to be concerned about where to house your electronic components. Some people may not want to do this, however. Perhaps the construction of the wall, the hassle of performing the task, a rental property may not allow it, and of course, you may just not want the TV on the wall look. Whatever your reason for not mounting a TV on the wall, there are many great looking and practical choices of home theater furniture that can store your gear and support your TV.

Besides attractive and affordable cabinets that hold components on the inside, and allow you to place your TV on top, there are modular shelving systems that add a modern flair. Many of these offer metal and glass designs that keep your electronics visible, but well presented, topped of with a glass surface for your flat screen TV to sit upon.

Another type of home theater furniture to consider is becoming very popular for those who like the idea of mounting their flat screen TV, but not necessarily on the wall. This home theater design features a modern glass and metal design including shelfs or closed compartments for your home theater system electronics, but has integrated a fully supported mount for your flat LCD or Plasma TV!

They are also available in traditional wood varieties in sizes that range from small all the way to a large wall unit. This all in one solution is great because, it allows optimal placement of your entire system without compromising any walls, many can easily be disassembled, and with so many designs available, it is something the whole family can agree on!

Blu Ray 3D offers new depth and dimension for your home theater.

With the onset of 3D HDTV, a new way to watch movies at home is here. Enter blu ray 3D. Of course 3D technology has been around for some time, but not like this! Gone are the days of paper glasses, red and blue cellophane, and lackluster standard definition presentations.

Now, you can watch your movies in high definition and see clear, accurate color in 3D! With the introduction of 3D blu ray, you can enjoy both the 2D or the 3D presentation when viewed on a 3D HDTV.

You will need a 3D compatible blu ray player, or a Playstation 3. The firmware update on September 21st, 2010 made all PS3s fully 3D compatible for both 3D movies and 3D games.

There are other ways to get 3D programming, such as high definition satellite television, or high definition cable, or even with high definition antennas.

With the use of sophisticated stereoscopic cameras in both film production and installed in arenas, stadiums, and other venues worldwide, 3D programming is starting to take off. You'll also find the selection of 3D blu ray discs continues to grow at a healthy pace. You can check the upcoming blu ray release dates for more information on upcoming titles.

What is blu ray disc? How does it fit into the home theater system?

By now you have probably heard of blu ray disc. If you haven't, don't worry. By the end of this page you will have a much better understanding of this state of the art home movie format. If you know what a dvd is, then learning blu will be a breeze! You can learn more about the dvd format on the DVD technology.

Blu ray disc, also known as BD is similar to CD and DVD which are optical disc storage media formats. On all three of these formats, a laser is used to read and write information on the disc. These discs are the same size as a CD and DVD, but it can hold as much as 10 times the information of a DVD. The reason is due to the type of laser used in the process. DVD players utilize a red laser to read and or write information while blu ray players use blue lasers.

The blue laser can be focused to a much narrower point than the red, therefore much more information on the disc can be recorded since it can be placed closer together. The name is derived from the 'blue' laser 'ray' which makes the technology possible.

So what does all of this mean for you? Well, to put it simply, Better picture and sound take up more space on a disc. This technology allows the movie studios to put full length high definition audio and video versions of films on a single disc for you to enjoy and be blown away by. As prices of players continue to fall, adding one to your home theater system is easier than ever.

The library of movie titles making their way to this amazing format keeps on growing!

You'll see that plenty of high definition entertainment is coming to a home theater near you!