Lights, music, action
If the last time you went to see the latest blockbuster movie and the man in front annoyed you by eating popcorn loudly, the answer could lie in your own home.
Home theatres provide a cinematic experience in your living room without having to set foot outside.
A good home theatre system can be found to fit even the most modest of budgets. The basics include a DVD player, standard definition large-screen television and digital surround sound speakers.
A more expensive option might include a Blu-ray disc player, media centre computer, or streaming device with a 10-foot user interface, high-definition video projector and projection screen, and half a dozen surround sound speakers and subwoofer. The newest technology includes a 3D television and Blu-ray 3D players.
When looking for a home-theatre system, at least 30 watts per channel is needed for a small lounge, whereas a large room might need 100. A more powerful subwoofer could help boost explosive sound effects on a lower-powered unit.
Having a Blu-ray player, receiver and tuner in one unit cuts back on cable clutter, and makes sure the speaker wires are long enough. You will want to tuck them discreetly out of the way and still be able to put the speakers where you want.
The typical home theatre system has more than five speakers, each of which plays a particular role. As with any stereo, speaker quality is the key. Look for a bit of weight. In general, solid-feeling speakers sound better and it's best not to have them on the floor. Front speakers should be on the same level as the television. And rear speakers should be screwed to the wall or put on stands, slightly above and behind the viewer. Doug Lankford, director of home theatre product marketing for Bose, says: 'Today, consumers have players for music, movies and video games, but getting them to work with their television has become so difficult, they may avoid adding a home theatre system altogether.'
The VideoWave entertainment system, combining a home theatre sound system, 46-inch 1080p LCD display and music system into one product, has been launched by Bose. There are no separate speakers, bass module or speaker wires and, for the first time, a single enclosure delivers a high-definition picture and the audio experience of a high-quality home theatre system.
All connected devices are controlled by a one-click remote pad, and an interface on the screen.
'We first combined picture and sound without compromising either. That gave us an opportunity to solve another problem: the complexity of using multiple remotes to manage separate devices - like a Blu-ray player, cable box, iPod or DVR,' says Santiago Carvajal, business director for Bose Video Products.