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THE BIG(GER) PICTURE: BUYING A HOME THEATER

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At its simplest, a Home Theater system is a DVD/Blu-Ray player connected to a TV and at its most sophisticated execution - it’s the closest possible replica to the multiplex cinematic experience. What you’re aiming for will be determined by the space in your house and the number of zeroes in your bank balance. You could have a home theater built around the TV in your bedroom or have a dedicated acoustically perfected room that houses a state of the art HT to fulfill every movie fantasy you’ve ever had.

To Project or not

That’s the first question you really need to answer. The answer is actually pretty simple. If you have a dedicated room for movie watching and have the space (about 18 feet or more in length), only then consider a projector. For all other situations – the only way to go is the biggest flat panel TV you can afford and can fit on a wall.

More inputs, More fulfilling

The higher the amount of HDMI or component-video inputs on your TV, the he better it is for your HT. With so many components to set up – a HD DTH box, a Blu Ray or DVD Player, a Gaming console and a Media Streaming device becoming an essential part of your viewing entertainment essentials, go with minimum 4 output HDMI rule. If you run out of HDMI ports on your TV then you’ll have to use a HDMI switcher (a big pain) or a AV receiver that has more HDMI ports.

The core of your HT

While the big picture is what most of us concentrate on – eventually its the sound that will determine the true HT experience. So, put in as much effort on getting that right. And the first part is the last mile – the speakers.

Don’t go for cheap speaker options, if you can't afford the full surround-sound setup, then start with the center, left, and right speakers. The other additions like subwoofer or satellite surround speakers can be added at a later stage for a full surround-sound effect.

Do your own comparisons: Audio systems are supposed to sound good in the store, make sure you take your own CDs and DVDs with you - to hear what they sound like with various speakers. In the end what matters is how music and movies that you are familiar with sounds like on the equipment you’re trying out.

Home Theater in a box

The quality of HT 'speakers in box' has improved a lot. While its still better to try and put together a system from different components – you can still get brilliant sound from companies that provide you the whole package in a box.

Cable conundrum

While it will remain a never ending debate on whether it is necessary to purchase very high priced cables for your home theater system, make sure you draw a fine line between price and performance, as thin, cheaply constructed cables may offset all the investment in heavy duty equipment. A heavy duty cable can provide better shielding from interference, and will stand up to any physical abuse that occurs along the way. But you don’t need to fall for things like nitrogen flushed and robotic twisted – those are all marketing terms. As a rule, spend 5% of your budget on cabling

Barring none

And finally if your room size is less than 300 sqft then choose a highly quality sound bar instead, as a 5.1 speaker set up does not justify as value for money proposition. Its more like an expensive elephant in the room.