Video and Audio Center Blog



Thursday, March 08, 2018

KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES: UPDATING YOUR HOME THEATER!



A home theater allows a family to experience a similar experience as found in a movie theater. But unlike going to the movies, everything that makes up the home theater must be put into position by the homeowner—or by a professional home theater custom design/installation company like California’s#1 rated Just One Touch. As a result, complacency can set it, even though there have been leaps in the new emerging technologies available to today’s consumers. So let’s check off what a home theater must have to function, and in what ways it can be updated.
THE DISPLAY
The Television
The television has been the basis for watching at home ever since the days of the cathode tube. Thanks to flat panels, TVs now are lightweight enough to fit onto walls even though they contain electronics far superior to what was available just 5 years ago. HD TVs have become commonplace but are now being upgraded to 4K TVs — with resolution 4X that of a high -definition television. This enables a quality picture that is far superior to what has been available in the past, with the size of the TV display now being 55” or larger on average (remember the days of the 40” flat panel?) 

THE Front Projector
The size of the display has always been an issue, and it’s for this reason that many have brought a front projector into their home theater. A screen mounted to the wall is a necessity, but the projector itself has become more compact while still enabling a high quality picture, like Sony's LSPXP1 Life Space UX Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector.  A 1080p resolution (HD) is now the default for home theater owners, but newer models improve on the all important brightness levels. In addition, 4K projectors are now becoming available at much more affordable prices than their initial appearance for tens of thousands of dollars. 


THE VIDEO SOURCE
Content is everything for the home theater — because you have to have something to watch. Movies and TV shows are available in three formats: there’s cable boxes and satellite receivers which require a monthly subscription; there are discs playing on a disc player which you have to buy what you want to watch (but it also means that you have immediate access to the content whenever you want); there is streaming, which in most cases requires a subscription to a service like Netflix.


Playing the content can be done with a disc player.  These players also allow streaming as well as playing discs — for HD viewing there are Blu-ray Players and for 4K viewing there are 4K Blu-ray Players, like Samsung's UBDM9500 4K UltraHD Blu-Ray player. The quality of the streaming is geared to the player, HD for Blu-ray Players and 4K for 4K Blu-ray Players, and works by connecting to the display. The other option is a streaming device using the home network and the Internet. They do not provide the content themselves, but instead access web services to provide it.

THE AUDIO SOURCE
SPEAKERS
A set of stand-alone speakers can convey the audio coming from the content; a 5.1 system means that you have left/right speakers, a center speaker and a left/right surround. Plus a subwoofer. Adding more speakers enables greater surround capabilities and this can be a sensible upgrade to the home theater’s audio. But in all cases an amplifier is necessary in order to make this work, and the amplifier must have the type of sound system desired (for example. DTS:X or Atmos). Wireless capabilities are possible for the subwoofer and also for the surrounds, in some cases, but in general the speakers must be physically connected with wiring.

THE SOUND BAR
Sound Bars have graduated to high-resolution audio status, compared to the old days where they could only do simple stereo. Sound bars now provide surround sound while maintains their single horizontal bar design. As they contain their own amplifier, the same requirements as to surround sound technologies exist — they must be built into the sound bar from the get-go. Subwoofers are generally included with the sound bar, and these now provide a wireless connection complete with a simple pairing to work together. 


Putting together a home theater does take thought, time and effort and anyone who’s accomplished this task should be applauded. But that’s no excuse for not taking advantage of the latest technologies that will increase the enjoyment when it comes time to watch. 


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