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Although HDTV offers awesome video quality, it also includes a wonderful audio experience as well! Dolby and/or Digital 5.1+ surround sound audio is included in the HDTV signal. To enjoy the full immersive effect of this audio you will need some form of Home Theater System.
Most Home Theater Systems come with a Progressive Scan DVD Player. This is an not an advantage to you if you already own a DVD player. If you already have a nice DVD player I recommend saving some money or getting more features in a system without a built in DVD player. However, just because a DVD player is included does not mean the system is lacking any advance features.
Please feel free to browse our large selection of Home Theater System reviews. You should be able to find reviews for all the main models from the all major brands. We will also provide you links to any online only discounts and specials.
Are you planning to improve or overhaul your entertainment room at home? Are you thinking of converting it to a more innovative and more enjoyable home cinema which would let you and your kids bond to the fullest? If yes, it is essential that you know the nature of the appliances that you are going to put in your room, especially the television as this would determine the performance and functionality of your entertainment area.
What is a Home Theater System?
A Home Theater System consists of a main monitor or television, with a large screen HDTV or High Definition Television Set, a DVD Player or some other digital video and audio output source, a Dolby Digital Amplifier/Receiver, and a 5.1 (five speakers and one sub woofer) or higher surround sound speaker system. Although you can receive very nice virtual surround sound from a built in audio system in your HDTV, a multi-speaker system will give you the "theater" type feel and really immerses you into the "movie" or HDTV content.
Each speaker, in a surround sound setup, produces different sounds. There are basically four channels and five main speakers plus a sub woofer in a typical 5.1 surround sound audio system. These include a center speaker usually designed for the dialogue (voice speaking) and "up front" sounds,, two front left and right speakers, which are for the front stereo effect, and two left and right speakers for the surround sound effect.
The main front speakers are what produces the main action sounds and create an effect of what side (left or right) the sounds are coming from. Along with the center speaker, these are the loudest of all speakers. If you are listening to a music source, the left and right front speakers are usually the only speakers active. Although a low version of dialogue might be produced in all speakers, it is typically only played on the main center speaker.
The surround left and right speakers give you the true cinematic experience by adding distance and depth to the over all sound. These can give you the effect of hearing things going past you or noises behind you. These speakers generally have less volume then the front speakers, unless there is specific action that needs to be played from behind or near listener.
The last part of a typical surround system is the main sub woofer. The sub woofer only produces the Low Frequency Effects or LFE. Because LFE type sound does not have a distance or direction to where they are coming from, there is typically only one sub woofer in a Home Theater System. The sound from the sub woofer tends to bounce off objects in the room which give you a more feel of the sound. Because of this, the speaker is typically located low to the ground near the center of the room.
What is the difference between a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 Speaker System?
The simple difference to 5.1 through the current 7.1 Home Theater Audio System, is the number of speakers and channels in the digital audio. As discussed earlier, there are 5 speakers plus a sub woofer in a 5.1 audio system. Most digital output such as from a DVD or HDTV signal are currently only 5.1. However this is changing and 6.1+ digital tracks are being created in new DVD movies for example.
A 6.1 Home Theater System adds an extra rear center speaker. This speaker is positioned right behind the listener. If the digital output is only 5.1 this speaker merges signals from the two rear surround speakers. Although this speaker in this system does not create any different sound effects, it will immerse you into the over all sound.
With a 6.1 setup, it is important to know that when listen to a DVD encoded in 5.1 channels (the norm) then the 6th speaker does not actually have any new sounds. The rear speaker combines the signals from the two surround speakers and creates a balance for the overall rear sound. Although you don't hear anything extra, you do get a better feeling of immersion into the sound.
A 7.1 system adds two rear left and right speakers. This type of system gived you a total immersion cinematic experience. Similar to the 6.1 system, these rear speakers use a balance of the left and right surround effects. Many move theaters use this form of speaker and surround sound system.
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