Question: What Is Home Theater and What Does It Do for Me?
Answer: A Working Definition Of Home Theater
Home theater refers to an audio and video equipment setup in your home that tries to duplicate the movie theater experience.
Application Of Home Theater
The application of this definition can vary widely, however. Many consumers are intimidated by the term "Home Theater" as they think this means a lot of money, equipment, and cables running all over the place.
Custom Home Theater
At its most complex, you can indeed have a custom built home theater that costs tens of thousands of dollars with a high end large screen TV or video projector, upscaling DVD and Blu-Ray Disc player(s), network media player, separate amplifiers for each channel controlled by a master preamp or controller, in-wall speakers, and a couple of subwoofers that can just about shake down the entire neighborhood.
Practical Home Theater For Everyone
However, in reality, home theater as actually applied in most homes, does not necessarily consist of an expensive custom installation, nor a lot of money. A modest home theater setup can be something as simple as a 32 to 55-inch TV, combined with at least a DVD player, sound bar, stereo, or home theater receiver,, speakers, and a subwoofer. However, with plunging prices, upgrading to a large screen LCD or Plasma HDTV (60-inches or larger), and/or Blu-ray Disc player does not require a big wallet - even a growing number of video projectors are becoming reasonably-priced home theater options.
Whatever type of system you end up with, as long as it provides the entertainment options you need and like, then it is your "Home Theater". You can have a home theater in just about any room of the house, a small apartment, office, dorm, or even outside. The option(s) you choose are up to you.
Home Theater As An Entertainment Option
In the final analysis, the application of home theater is intended to provide the consumer with an entertainment option that is suitable for watching television and movies at home with a little extra excitement than you normally get just watching a plain-old TV by itself.
By borrowing from both the image and sound technology of the movie theater and adapting it to the home environment, the consumer can actually approximate the movie theater experience at home, based on the options he/she chooses.
For a more detailed look at the what goes into a good home theater and some of the pitfalls of putting together a home theater, check out my reference articles: The Ten Essential Elements of a Well-Balanced Home Theater, Common Home Theater Mistakes, Things About Home Theater You May Not Know, and How A Home Theater System Can Save You Money.
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