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Home Entertainment Center

Aug 17, 2007
I remember that it seemed like only a few years ago that watching movies at home was second choice only to flossing or a root canal. The quality was poor, the sound was scratchy, and there was not even a close comparison to watching the same flick at the movie theatres. But today, home entertainment centers have come a very long way.

In fact, with today's home entertainment centers, watching a DVD at home with your surround sound system is a very enjoyable experience, and with your microwave popcorn only steps away and NOT costing you $8 a bag, that makes it even more enjoyable. Plus you don't have to put up with other customers making noise or somebody's kids running down the aisles during the movie -- it's just you and whoever you decide to invite over to watch the movie with you and your family. Today's home entertainment systems are every bit as good in quality and sound as the movie theatres, plus they are getting better and even cheaper as technology continues to advance.

Although you could invest literally tens of thousands of dollars into a home entertainment system, excellent systems can be had for a fraction of that. (See the portion of this site that discusses purchasing a home entertainment center). The primary components you will have consist of the screen or the display, the audio system and speakers, and of course the source of the video signal, which could be your cable TV system, your satellite TV system, or your DVD player or VCR player. With some of the more advanced systems today, it could also be your PC through wireless streaming audio and video, but that is an entirely separate discussion.

The video display or the screen is going to be the biggest investment. You could go with a television tube system, although those top out at around 36 inches, maybe 40 inches with some of the top manufacturers. You also have the option of an LCD screen or a plasma screen for your home entertainment center. Both of these technologies consist of screens that can be as little as 4 inches thick, and could be mounted securely on the wall, thereby possibly freeing up some floor space in your target installation room. There is also DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology, which is cheaper than LCD or plasma but can still provide a sharp picture on a big screen. "Big Screen" usually starts about the 40 or 42 inch level, and can go up to 60 or even 100 inch displays. Of these technologies, the one that provides the sharpest and crispest display with excellent color tones, in my opinion, is the LCD technology. Keep on top of the trends though, because technology is a fast-moving target.

No home entertainment center is going to be complete with a good surround sound system with amplifer. At a bare minimum, this should be Dolby 5.1 or even Dolby 7.1, and should consist of 2 (preferably 4) speakers for the high ranges, 1 or 2 midrange speakers, and a good bass sub-woofer.

When all these components are connected, you almost cannot help but enjoy your investment immensely, and you will enjoy it even more knowing that you made informed buying decisions.
About the Author
Jon Arnold is an author and computer engineer who maintains various web sites on a variety of topics. More info on this topic can be found at his Home Theatre web site at http://jag-info-resources.com/home-theatre/
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