Video and Audio Center Blog

Friday, October 9, 2015


Having a home theater isnt about just aggregating a whole slew of electronics in one place. The total environment that is to be created should be pleasant to the eye and ear, as well as physically comfortable to those who will be seated in front of it. But the hidden reality that few think about is the electricity that the various components must consume and what this means to their workings and longevity. Understanding the issues involved, as well as how to combat/deal with them will help to make your home theater perform at its best. For those who want the safest and most effective means, DIY should be replaced by that of professional installation services (for example, Just One Touch) who will be able to conform all thats needed for a particular home theater.

Beware The Grid

The electric grid has two major issues, one which cant be addressed at the source and the other which can. The one that cant be addressed is power drop-outs, also known as brown-outs or minute outages. What this means is that the electric power suddenly cuts out for a very minor amount of time, for example a 1/4th or 1/2 second. This is long enough to disengage those electrical devices like TVs and other which maintain a standby or always on status; in some cases causing the electronic device to reset itself (i.e., reboot/restart). Typical devices where this happens are cable modems and computers. The other issue related to this is that the return of the electricity hammers at the device think of it as the surging of the tide going out and then coming back in with a great force. Such ongoing events (as these minute outages can happen daily or even multiple times in a day), the result can be the shortening of the life of the electronics being affected.

But since no one can control the electricity coming into ones home (other than those using solar panels or other alternatives instead of the grid), the only solution here is to have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This device is basically a super-charged surge protector that incorporates a battery supply. The electronic device plugs into the UPS and gets its power from the UPS, while the UPS itself gets its power from the outlet. So when an outage occurs, the UPS continues to supply power to the device as if nothing has happened. Acquiring a UPS requires knowing how much power it needs to put out, as well as for how long it can deliver power when an outage occurs, should a more serious time-frame be needed for example, having an outage occur when a front projectors bulb gets immediately turned off without the normal shut-down cycling will negatively impact the life expectancy of the bulb (and projector bulb are costly).  Again, for those wanting the best results, going to a professional installer might make the most sense overall.

Beware The Interference

The other issue with electrical power is one that can be addressed at the source this is the issue of interference. That is to say radio frequency waves (RF) which by their very nature impact on the video and audio that is being watched and listened to. Video and audio interference can also come from an HDMI cable attached to an audio receiver or a Blu-ray player. So for example, having a cheap HDMI cable can fall prey to interference and so should be avoided. There are many types of quality HDMI cables available, and in varying lengths (although using the shortest length is always the best) which provide superior shielding against interference, This can be especially true when the HDMI cable is attached to a high-resolution 4K TV, which needs to be shielded so that it can provide the highest quality video picture it is capable of.  And the drive towards quality and reduction of interference should also be done as regards any speaker cables being used also.

But it is the electrical grid itself that is filled with interference. To avoid this from the source (i.e., before any device gets plugged in), the solution is to have a power conditioner. These electronic devices filter the AC so that it conforms to the needed amount that electronic devices need to consume, while removing the garbage that has come along for the ride. As with UPS devices, power conditioners are available on the open market, but a person looking to use this might find the services of a professional installer the least off-putting way to go about it.

Controlling the electricity that ones home theater consumes might seem a thankless and unnecessary task, but doing so will not just enhance the life of the TV and audio receiver and Blu-ray player and speakers, but enhance the picture and sound they present. 


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