Friday, July 08, 2016


There was a time when not going to the movies meant watching on a small TV at home; that it was boring was obvious because you never chose doing it over going to a movie theater where a big screen and a big sound could be found. Times have changed and the “home theater” now means more than just having greater choices in what to watch when the TV is turned on. You can even own movies in high resolution to watch when you want to, and take advantage of the latest 4K technology to let your 4K Blu-ray player stream movies or spin discs at will. But to really enjoy watching at home means stepping back and considering just how the experience can be enhanced. Doing so requires taking a hard look at how you watch and how you listen and decide how they both can be improved.

There are two areas, picture and sound, to enhance and improve on so as to make watching more enjoyable and exciting.


In the old days you picked a TV to take home — 19” being the most chosen — and that was it, there wasn’t anything else to choose from because the cathode tube-based TV was a big, ugly square beast. Today’s TVs are thin and attractive, yet filled with modern technology designed and devoted towards making a picture that attracts and holds the attention. Today’s TVs give you 2 distinct choices to make for personalizing what you will see:

Size of TV
There are many different sizes of TVs to choose from, yet even large TVs are no longer priced sky-high. Additionally, the size of the TV doesn’t dictate that they must be heavy or awkward to place in the home: most will find putting them on a cabinet an easy job, while others will marvel at how simple it is to mount a large flat-panel television on a wall. 

Resolution of the TV
When the television signal went digital, it was accompanied by the appearance of the high-resolution (HD) flat panel TV. This resolution was many times that of the no-longer-standard “broadcast signal” and opened up detail and colors like was never seen before. The results are that a HDTV flat panel TV provides a detailed and attractive picture that everyone can enjoy. 

The advent of the 4K television — having a resolution that is 4 times that of a HDTV — opens up the display to provide a picture that is even more immersive and inspiring than those that came before. The 4K picture allows for a greater color palette to be seen, and for blacks to be even more “inky.” As the latest evolution in the increase of resolution for TVs, a 4K TV is one way to take the “home theater” experience even farther visually. 
A great picture has to be accompanied by great sound if it’s to break through the barrier of “just watching” and turn it into “movie time.” The TV speakers are good for listening to talk shows and casual listening, but they’re too small physically (due to the thin chassis of today’s TVs) to really set the sound loose. That’s why there are two choices for enhancing the overall sound quality:


There are many advantages to having a soundbar as the main audio system. Designed to be svelte and easily put in place before the TV (or under it if wall mounted), a soundbar has all the technology needed to drive the speakers that are also within its chassis. Besides offering surround sound options and audio enhancement/calibration, a soundbar can also have “smart TV” functions built in like accessing music and other applications, playing music from a smartphone or tablet (via Bluetooth). Many soundbars also include subwoofers for deeper bass and has them connected to the soundbar wirelessly too.

Amplified sound
The advantages of having an AV Receiver (a.k.a., amplifier) is that there’s a great deal of power for precisely “driving” the speakers connected to them. These speakers can be as simple as just the left and right for stereo, or create a 5.1 system (adding a center channel, left and right surrounds and a subwoofer) or even higher configurations such as 7.1, 9.2, etc. The AV receiver doesn’t just provide power as it also has enhanced technologies for creating a greater immersive sound experience: these include Dolby Digital and others, including new audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos. A wide range of enhancements to the “sound” will be possible, due to the focused nature of the receiver dealing exclusively with the sound (although most now feature video transfer functions as well as “smart TV” abilities as well).

It’s not about duplicating the movie theater experience but about creating a wholly unique “home theater” experience rivaling the best seat in the house. And now that best seat will be in your house every time you and yours sit down to watch.


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