Home Theatre Shopping Guide

If you don’t have a home theatre system yet, you’re missing out on a lot of fantastic TV at home. Even if you have an HDTV, it doesn’t end there; buying a home theatre system can add a lot of enjoyment to your living room or recreation room. While the cost may seem a little high, it will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Why make a trip to the movies when you have an awesome system sitting in your house? There are a lot of different options for home theatres, so here is a handy home theatre shopping guide to help you find the perfect system.

The cost and scope of your home theatre system will depend on several factors, including the size of the room it’s going to sit in, and how much power you actually want for your system. Regardless of what you can accommodate, a home theatre system is comprised of three very basic areas: the television set, your DVD (or blu-ray) player, and the audio system. All three can be argued as more important than the other, but it’s best to view them as integral to each other.

If you already have a television, that’s great. For others it may be time to upgrade to an HD set; you’ll get a much better picture than standard definition and prices are definitely coming down for HDTVs. Size is a big concern, since you’re probably looking for an effect similar to going to the movies – but your main concern should be with getting a widescreen television. Widescreen sets have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the standard for most DVD/Blu-Ray discs. HD programming provided from your cable company is also generally in 16:9 ratio, because that ratio looks best in HD. Standard sets have a ratio of 4:3, so look for the ratio on the box. Most HDTVs over 27 inches are widescreen, so you may not even be able to find a 4:3 HDTV.

Picking your disc player is important: are you happy with standard DVDs, or would you prefer Blu-Ray discs? If you’re getting an HDTV, you definitely want to go with Blu-Ray. Most players are backwards compatible with DVDs, meaning they will still play your old movies and sometimes even enhance the quality. To find the right player you’ll need to do some basic research, but a sales associate can sometimes suffice when finding a new player. You definitely won’t get HD quality picture on your HDTV if you get a regular DVD player, so keep that in consideration when shopping around.

Audio is the last huge component to consider when buying home theatre systems. Standard full systems provide you with 5.1 surround sound, and often come with 5-7 speakers. The number of speakers should be determined by how much space you have available. If your TV room is smaller, as little as two speakers will greatly enhance your viewing and listening experience. You can always add more speakers to your system if you move your system to a larger space. In general though, 5 speakers should be sufficient in getting quality audio, and you don’t need to get expensive speakers either. A middle-of-the-road system, as long as it’s treated well and not constantly at full blast, will last you a long time.