Introduction to Home Entertainment
Good news! With the continued advancement of technology, a home entertainment system is no longer expensive. You probably expected the term home theater system rather that home entertainment system. Home theater system is too narrow a concept to cover the variety of implementation available today.
A home entertainment system is simply a setup of audio and video equipment that attempts to produce an immersive movie theater like experience in your home, no matter what the medium. It can be quite simple, with a TV and a video source. In its most elaborate form it can consist of a HDTV display, an AV Receiver, a sub-woofer plus 5 or more speakers, a video playback device ( DVD,HD- DVD, Blu-Ray Player), a digital video recorder (DVR), a broadcast TV source (Cable, Satellite, over the air), a gaming console, a computer and a litany of accessories to tie it all together.
When it comes to HDTV, there is an overwhelming amount of choice available and confusing techno-babble used to describe everything. Rest easy, your eyes and ears are all you need to get the “best” home entertainment system for you. What is “best” is very subjective. There is no agreed upon standards to measure “best”.
I spent a few years selling audio-video equipment in a retail store and on slow days the conversation would always turn to what to buy to build the ultimate AV system. We never agreed on what system would be “best”. The same thing happens in the Audio-Video magazines or websites when they publish a list of the “best”. The experts can’t agree either. Now, I am not trying to convince you that all AV equipment is the same, but I do want to know that no rigid standard or yard stick exists. As well, the technology is advancing so rapidly, that what’s “best” today will be surpassed tomorrow by a new and improved model and probably at a lower price. .
We all want to make an intelligent decision when choosing what to buy, so here’s my advice: When all other things are equal, if you can’t see or hear the difference, there is no difference. Buy what your judgment tells you to buy, not what the salesperson recommends. Salespeople are not usually trying to achieve the same goal you are.
Before you begin to shop, consider the following to help you decide what you need. Are you planning to just watch Broadcast TV? Are you trying to bring the movie theatre experience home? What about movies on demand, through the internet, satellite or cable provider? Do you plan to record broadcast TV? Playback home movies or stills from your digital camera? Play video or internet games? What you need will depend on how you plan to use your home entertainment system, and what you already own. Remember, you don’t have to replace all that you have at once.
The next thing to consider is your budget. Unless you are fortunate enough to have unlimited funds, your budget will determine what you will be buying. Be practical, the latest, biggest flat panel plasma TV will not be available at bargain basement prices. Do not try to assemble a system that will take you to the ceiling of your budget, as there are thing like taxes, delivery and setup charges, and connecting wiring that will eat up as much as 25% your budget.