We love movies. Since their inception in the late 1800’s, films have captured our imagination like no other art form. While the technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the intervening years between then and now, it is the experience that draws us in, that escape from our daily grinds into a world of fantasy. But how do we bring the experience of seeing a film in a movie theater into our own homes?
To use a simple definition, home theater, or home cinema as it is sometimes called, strives to recreate the movie theater experience in a home environment. In order to do that, there are some required pieces of gear one needs. So grab some popcorn and kick back while we explore the technologies that allow us to enjoy our favourite films in our homes and how they interact to bring us that theater experience, without the sticky floors and overpriced food!
The goal for this series of articles is to explain, in simple terms, what one needs, how to set up, and how to use their own home theater system. In this first installment, it would seem necessary to outline the components one needs to create a home theater. The basic components can be defined as follows:
- A large format video display. The technology used by the display is a function of picture quality preference, image size and, of course, budget. The current competing technologies include plasma, LED, LCD, and various front projection technologies (e.g. DLP, D-ILA, LCD).
- One or more audio/video sources. Blu-ray players, satellite/cable TV receivers, and gaming systems (e.g. Playstation 3, Xbox) would be among the most common examples of this.
- A surround sound audio system capable of reproducing at least 5.1 channels of discrete audio. As films are mastered by the studios with 5.1 channels of audio, this allows the home system to emulate how the director wanted the viewers to hear the film.
- Comfortable seating for all viewers.
In future installments, we will explore each of these in detail as well as home theater design, setup and configuration. Welcome to the wonderful world of home theater. Stay tuned!