Home cinema characteristics: what you need to know

A home cinema system can enhance your viewing experience and make you feel as if you’re in the thick of the action. But which one should you go for? We’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a brief guide below.

The basics

Before you start your search, it’s worth highlighting what makes a good home cinema system in the first place. We’ve boiled it down to three simple features. Ideally, your system will not only have great sound quality; it’ll also be easy to set up and easy to use. Auto set-up modes and a well laid out, user-friendly remote control can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


What type should I buy?

There are several different options here. An all-in-one-system will contain everything you need to get started and certain packages may also include a DVD or Blu-ray player. However, you will need to decide whether to go for a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 or 7.1 system (the numbers refer to the amount of speakers). Go for a 5.1 system, which includes speakers placed to the left, right and centre at the front of the room, as well as two rear speakers and a subwoofer. The 2.1 system may be a good option if you don’t have a great deal of space. A 7.1 system, meanwhile, is really only for enthusiasts. As most Blu-rays are mixed for 5.1 sound, the additional two speakers won’t necessarily make a difference.

Another option is to buy the components of your system separately. This bespoke approach will appeal to the committed audiophile, and it’ll be easier to upgrade individual components when the time comes. However, the cost is likely to be significantly higher.

Finally, sound bars can be an excellent space-saving alternative. Speakers are fitted into a long, bar-shaped box, which is then mounted below your TV. Nevertheless, the absence of the rear speakers means that the sound quality is probably never as good as more traditional models.


Is going wireless an option?

In a word, yes. Wireless rear speakers use a radio transmitter to receive sound from the amplifier. Going wireless is a great way of cutting down on cables.

Once you have the sound system sorted, further enhance the cinematic experience with a full HD TV, dimmed lights, comfortable seating and a good bag of popcorn.


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