• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



If you’re reading this book, chances are you’re a movie lover. And that means you’re used to going to the theater to enjoy great movies. But it also probably means that you’ve grown a little tired of all the hassles that are involved with the theater-going experience: driving to the theater, worrying about parking, finding a good seat (and craning your neck or squinting your eyes if you don’t), listening to noisy teens talking or popcorn eaters crunching, and, of course, paying the ever-escalating prices for admission tickets.

No doubt you would like to enjoy the movie-theater experience in your own home, without the aforementioned drawbacks, which is probably why you picked up this book to begin with. I’m sure you’ve contemplated the idea of creating your dream home theater system, and now you’re ready to turn those mere wonderings into actualities. Congratulations—you’re making a wise choice.

Interest in home theater has been gaining momentum in the past few years and it shows no signs of slowing down. With rapid developments in technology and a growing number of enthusiasts purchasing the latest equipment, the biggest beneficiary in home theater is the budget-minded consumer. Although it used to take thousands of dollars to obtain big, movie theater-like sound, these days it’s not so difficult. In fact, a smart-shopping budget consumer (you!) can achieve a great-sounding home theater system for much, much less than was previously possible. It really is possible to obtain an awesome home theater experience while not breaking your bank.

In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter how much you spend on your home theater system. What counts is how much you enjoy it. With some thought, careful selection, and the help of Home Theater Solutions, you’ll build a great system you can enjoy fully. Before long, you’ll find yourself waiting for theatrical releases to wrap up their stay in first-run theaters so they can make their way to DVD, which is when you can watch them in the comfort and privacy of your own home—without waiting in ticket lines, fighting crowds, or paying exorbitant admission prices.

What You’ll Find in This Book

Home Theater Solutions provides you with:

  • Instructions on how to identify, select, and set up the necessary equipment for your home theater system

  • Hands-on examples with illustrations that show you how to work with your system, from connecting speakers to programming your remote control

  • In-depth knowledge on the components, surround sound formats, and video technology that make up a home theater system

  • Guides for establishing a budget, sticking with it, and maximizing your dollars to obtain the best home theater experience possible

  • Cost-effective solutions to typical home theater problems, from steadying a shaky subwoofer to selecting a capable-but-affordable universal remote control

  • Advice on how to distinguish home theater technology facts from marketing propaganda. Do you really need to buy a component that’s THX certified?

  • Recommendations on how to achieve the best sound and video from your system

  • Techniques that break down the sometimes daunting task of building a complete system from scratch (we carve it into small, simple, easy-to-follow bits)

  • Descriptions of home theater system components and their functions

  • Real-world home theater systems that not only offer you a little inspiration, but also practical pointers on how to make the most out of quirky room arrangements

Who This Book is For

Unfortunately for most of us, the grand home theater ideas we dream about tend to exceed our meager budgets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a capable, enjoyable home theater system. You can, and I’m going to show you how. Let’s face it: Home theater systems aren’t cheap. But they can be within your reach, especially if you know how much you plan to spend, what you need for your system, and what you can do without. This book will help you build the best home theater system possible for your dollars.

This book is for you if:

  • You’ve ever considered building a home theater

  • You feel overwhelmed by the thought of owning and setting up a home theater system

  • You want to build a great home theater but must do so on a shoestring budget

  • You love movies but are tired of all the hassles involved with going to the theater

  • You’re torn about whether to emphasize the audio or video aspect of your home theater

  • You want to become an informed home theater enthusiast who makes wise buying decisions

  • You want to know about the best websites, manufacturers, and online retailers in the home theater industry

  • You are dead set on getting the best components for your money

  • You at one time opted for a Home Theater in a Box solution but now are ready to upgrade—on a budget, of course

  • You’ve built a home theater system but are looking to get better sound and video out of it

How This Book is Organized

This book contains eleven chapters, two appendices, and a glossary. Now let’s take a look at the contents of each.

  • Chapter 1: “The Home Theater Difference.” This chapter offers you an overview of home theater and its technologies. You’ll be introduced to the many home theater components and offered tips for making the most of your system.

  • Chapter 2: “Surround Sound Formats.” We walk you through the various surround sound formats and explain the differences of each. We evaluate why some surround sound formats work better in some situations than others. You may realize that you want to go with cutting-edge technologies, such as Dolby Digital EX or DTS ES, or you may come to the decision that your current room setup or budget mandates a typical 5.1 digital surround system. This chapter helps you figure out what format is best for you. We discuss the three primary audio formats.

  • Chapter 3: “Home Theater Audio Components.” You’ll be initiated into the mighty world of home theater audio components, such as receivers, amplifiers, and separates. We show you how to evaluate these components to ensure you get the sound that fits your needs. You’ll also be introduced to the different types of speakers in a home theater system, such as bookshelf speakers, bipolar speakers, and powered subwoofers.

  • Chapter 4: “Home Theater Video Components.” This chapter sheds light on the video components commonly found in home theater systems. The various types of television sets and video monitors are explored, as well as some alternatives for video display (such as projectors). In addition, we cover personal video recorders (PVRs) and VCRs.

  • Chapter 5: “Setting a Budget.” This is where we help you establish a budget for your system. You’ll learn how to appropriately determine what you should spend on each aspect of your system, including specific components (all the way down to the cost of wires and cables). By establishing your priorities up front, you can allocate the funds in your budget properly.

  • Chapter 6: “Selecting the Right Equipment.” You’ll be shown how to intelligently discern which home theater components you need. Do you want your system geared toward audio or video? What can you do to make sure you don’t shortchange one aspect of your system in favor of the other?

  • Chapter 7: “Shopping for Your System.” In this chapter, we explore not what to buy but where and from whom to buy it. The options for shopping for home theater components are many, and we walk you through these, from buying on the Internet from direct-to-consumer manufacturers to buying from your local merchants. This chapter also explores common questions, such as “Should all my components be the same brand?” and “Is it okay to buy refurbished items?”

  • Chapter 8: “Connecting All the Components.” We show you how to master the most feared aspect of assembling a home theater system—hooking up the various components. We demystify this connection process by breaking it down into easy-to-follow steps. You’ll learn about the different types of cables and connections, and we show you how to create a wiring diagram. It won’t take long for you to quickly and easily identify the type and length of cables you need for each connection.

  • Chapter 9: “Getting the Most Out of Your Home Theater.” We explore how to obtain the maximum performance out of your system. This chapter introduces you to decibel meters and calibration discs, and shows you how to properly tune the audio and video aspects of your home theater system. We also consider the ins and outs of spending money on having your system professionally calibrated.

  • Chapter 10: “Using Your System.” This chapter shows you how to use your system and gives you ideas on how to make your system easy to operate. You’ll learn how to program your remote to control your entire system, including how to make use of its advanced features, such as its macro-creation and learning abilities. We also discuss using your receiver’s video-switching capability, managing your cables, and selecting the best audio format for the given situation.

  • Chapter 11: “The Upgrade Path.” This chapter is devoted to helping you maximize your upgrade dollars. You’ll learn how to identify which components are most likely to need upgrading first. We also tap into how you can use your old components instead of tossing them in the trash. And we go over things you might want to consider if you plan on moving from a budget to a high-end system.

  • Appendix A: “Web Yellow Pages of Useful Home Theater Sites.” If you need go to the web to find out more information than what’s provided in this book, this chapter points you in the right direction. We’ve assembled a detailed appendix here, with the best product review sites, home theater forums, audio and video manufacturer sites, and online retailer sites. By consulting Appendix A, you’ll learn where to go on the web for all your home theater needs.

  • Appendix B: “Real World Home Theater Examples.” Have you wondered how you might make the most of the quirks in your home theater room? Have you wondered how others have made the most of their less-than-optimal rooms (with three-walled rooms, hardwood floors, and windows galore)? Read Appendix B to see and learn how everyday budget enthusiasts have set up their theaters, including what components they use and why. This appendix is a great idea generator for you, the home theater owner.

  • Appendix C: “Glossary.” The most commonly used terms in home theater are defined here, from anamorphic wide-screen and coaxial cable to Dolby Pro Logic II.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint