A home theater is an entertainment system used in the home for watching movies, television and online content with a little extra added excitement. There are different systems to choose from depending on your budget and requirements, from basic affordable options for smaller living rooms and up to top-of-the-line dedicated theater room technologies with a half-dozen or more speakers set up and calibrated just like they are in a movie theater.
With plunging prices for flatscreen HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players, upgrading from the built-in TV or stereo system to a full home cinema has never been easier or more affordable.
The most popular option for the average home user is to use a high-resolution media player, such as a Roku Ultra or Apple TV 4K (or a gaming console, like an Xbox Series X), to act as their primary video source and playback device for streaming, on-demand and DVD movie media. Some home cinema users opt for a HTPC, a special computer equipped with a specialized media center application to act as their primary media library and playback device.
Most of today’s AV receivers support audio input from a wide range of sources, including Bluetooth. Some also offer a built-in Blu-ray player or a HEOS multi-room music/audio streaming device that lets you connect a variety of external audio components and devices.
While there is no such thing as a wireless surround sound speaker, many home theater systems offer a convenient alternative to running wires for multiple surround speakers with a single multi-channel home theater receiver that incorporates several pairs of rear and surround speakers. These all-in-one home theater systems are sometimes referred to as a home theater in a box.
The main difference between a home theater and a regular television is that the latter offers surround sound audio output, while the former includes a separate power amplifier and speaker system for each of the multiple channels of the soundtrack to a film or TV program. This means that each of the surround or front, left, right and center speakers can be individually adjusted to deliver a more immersive experience.
The first step in choosing a home theater system is to determine the seating arrangement and screen size that will be best suited for your viewing space. Most AV receivers have a speaker selection menu that can help you select a speaker layout that will work best for your room. Alternatively, some all-in-one home theater systems come with a pre-matched speaker configuration that’s already configured to match with the receiver. This is a great way to start because the speaker configuration is usually very versatile and can easily be changed in the future as your home theater evolves. For a more sophisticated home cinema, you can add on optional surround sound accessories, such as soundbars or a Dolby Atmos-capable AV receiver. These provide additional sound cues, such as directionality and the ability to create a three-dimensional movie experience. home theatre