The Most Entertaining Room in the Home
From watching 15” TVs in the 1960’s to enjoying theater-like experiences watching movies on a screen as big as a room, home entertainment options have come a long way. In previous times, the TV was usually crammed into our living areas, perhaps sitting on a shelf in the main living area in a space not very suitable for private viewing, or too small for large groups of friends and family.
Well, all that has changed. Today’s new home builders are in touch with the idea that we are becoming a society of “Nesters.” After a long day at work, we don’t want to go out and party; we just want to relax in our homes and catch the news, watch the game, or see a good movie. We also don’t want the disturbance of kitchen clatters, loud conversations, or phones ringing in our own homes while we are watching our favorite show.
WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOME THEATER SYSTEM
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Every home is different, and every person is different. Figure out what is most important to you. Is it music, video, gaming, or all of them? What you value most should determine where you should spend your money. Most importantly, even if you buy a smaller system because that is all you can afford, remember that you can always add to it as time goes by. That’s the nice thing about getting a customized system designed by professionals as opposed to getting an “in-the-box” product.
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There are high-end home theaters that can duplicate the IMAX experience and there are very affordable options that can still give an amazing theater experience, even in a spare bedroom. Whatever your needs and your budget allow, remember this: you will be able to enjoy your home theater every day, unlike a purchase like a swimming pool, outdoor jacuzzi, or a boat, for example. Most importantly, make sure you get a system that can be upgraded for future needs.
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BASIC COMPONENTS OF A HOME THEATER SYSTEM
#1: The Screen
While most people would be satisfied with a large flat-panel TV, especially a 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) TV as their screen, the obvious choice for an authentic theater-like experience with a “big screen” effect is the projector/screen combination. This option requires a dedicated theater room where a screen—sometimes as large as the room-—can be installed as fixed-frame, pull-down, or motorized.
#2: Video Source
A video source is what delivers the audio and visual content to your screen. It can be physical media such as cable, Blu-ray players, 4K media players, gaming consoles, and others, with many connectivity options including Wi-Fi connectivity to stream media from a growing list of providers such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and others. For the highest quality audio and video file, you need to look at Kaleidescape, a 4K media server that gives you something you can’t get from Apple TV or streaming Netflix—lossless audio and video. What this means is that you are getting the exact same file sent to IMAX containing every single bit of audio and video detail of the original recording.
#3: Sound Speakers (channels)
The main question here regarding sound is: Do you want to hear it, or do you want to feel it? A basic home theater system includes 5 speakers, also called channels: two in the front (left and right); one center speaker; and two in the back. Adding a subwoofer channel (typically in the back) is recommended to capture low frequency bass effects like explosions and provide a true surround sound system where you can feel the action. Adding two channels in the ceiling would provide an impressive 3-D sound effect. The label 5.1.2 means five channels as described above, one subwoofer, and two ceiling channels. It is important to know that the actual number of channels is best determined by the size of the room. If possible, an ideal combination would be 7.2.4 for an authentic home theater experience you will be able to feel in your chest.
#4: Audio/Visual Receiver
An AV receiver interprets all the audio and video and assigns it to the appropriate channels. It is the hub of all operations and is the “brains” of the entire home theater system. Think of the receiver as the conductor in an orchestra, responsible for making sure all of the components are synchronized and working properly for a successful performance. Make sure your AV Receiver includes 4K video switching, even if you don’t need it now. Also, make sure the receiver can accommodate HDR10, DV, and HLG formats and comes with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X for total immersion in the ultimate 3-D surround sound.
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Deciding on a home theater system can be overwhelming if you don’t have the facts. The best advice would be to rely on the experienced professionals at Echelon Home Theater and Security to help make choices that are right for you. Echelon HTS, one of only 270 SAVANT Ambassadors in the country, offers the full line of SAVANT’s home automation products (savant.com) featuring the highest quality and most up-to-date innovations in home automation. In addition, Echelon HTS is the exclusive dealer in South Texas of Kaleidescape, a 4K movie server with “IMAX quality” movies streaming directly to you.
Echelon Home Theater and Security is a proven leader in: home entertainment systems; smart home technology; and state-of-the art security systems for residential and commercial properties.
Call 361-429-6453 or visit www.echelonhts.com for more information. Echelon HTS is located at 5159 Everhart Road, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Top photo courtesy of Savant, a leader in home control and automation—the preferred brand for the most pristine video and exceptional sound quality.