Whether you’re building a new home theater or planning to upgrade an existing one, understanding how the components work is essential, this will allow you to plan your setup and keep everything running smoothly.
The components of a home theater include video output, audio input devices, and speaker cables. A receiver is the central hub of your system, connecting all media sources and providing power to your speakers.
Video is a big part of the home theater experience. Many people use their large-screen televisions to watch Netflix shows or sports games with friends and family.
Some video enthusiasts like to watch movies and television programs independently, especially if they have a DVD player or gaming console. Again, this can be a great way to avoid paying a lot of money for movies at the cinema.
In the early and mid-1990s, a typical home theater used LaserDisc or VHS players fed to a rear-projection or front-projection system. A new generation of video technology allowed consumers to upgrade their home cinemas with high-resolution LCDs, CRT front projectors, and multi-channel audio systems.
With 4K TVs and lower prices, professionals who work remotely can also repurpose their home theater space for business purposes. This includes connecting a computer to a smart TV for a dual-screen experience, according to Namita Dhallan, chief product officer at Brightcove.
A custom home theater system is an audio system replicating the experience of a movie, game, or show in your own home. Typically, a TV and speakers are placed in various locations throughout your room to provide a surround-sound experience.
The audio signal comes from the video and is sent to a receiver, which interprets and amplifies the sound to drive your speakers. A receiver is a must-have component for any home theater system.
An AV receiver does more than receive and amplify signals; it also interprets and processes audio, visual, and other inputs before sending them to your television and speakers. Generally, an AV receiver combines several different components into one package, which makes the setup more efficient and less expensive than buying separate audio and video components.
In recent years, the way audio is engineered and mixed has changed due to immersive sound technologies like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. Instead of assigning specific sounds to individual speakers, engineers now use object-based systems that place those sounds in more precise locations.
Speakers are a vital part of any home theater system, and understanding how they work will help you select the best speakers for your setup. There are a few different speakers, but each class is designed to deliver a specific sound.
The left and right front speakers are the most important in any surround sound system, as they deliver 75-80% of the speech in movies. They also provide the most bass when listening to music in a surround sound setup.
Center channel speakers are another essential element of a surround sound setup. They deliver the spoken words in movies and TV shows, and if you can’t hear them properly, your experience will be frustrating.
A speaker driver vibrates air to create sound, amplified by a receiver or audio-visual receiver (AVR). This sounds like an elaborate scientific equation, but it’s pretty simple and based on physics.
Whether you have a small home theater or an elaborate system designed to replicate a commercial theater experience, several pieces work together to make the whole thing run smoothly. These components include a video source, display device (TV or projector), and receiver.
A video source stores movies and shows for playback. It can be a DVD or Blu-ray player, a digital media player, or a 4K media player with HDMI ports that can stream content from the Internet.
You can also get a home theater in a box, or HTIB, an all-in-one package containing everything you need to have a great movie experience. This is an excellent option for beginners and can help simplify setting up a home theater. But first, you should research and ensure the components work well together to provide a top-quality home theater.