Not so long ago, watching films at home was a hopeless experience. You could only buy or rent poor-quality videos with a grainy picture and bad sound. The experience was terrible when you compared to the big-screen, surround-sound cinema.
Now, though, the advent of DVD and home surround sound means that watching movies at home doesn’t have to be inferior to watching them in the cinema. In fact, many people now think it’s better – after all, it’s cheaper, and you don’t have to put up with other people making noises while you’re trying to watch the film. Home entertainment systems (also known as home cinemas) are getting cheaper, better and easier to construct all the time.
So what are the ingredients of a home entertainment system? Basically, there are three things: a source of high quality video and audio, a display for the video, and speakers for the audio. To begin with, you should look for a DVD player. Although you can get DVD players for nothing now, you should get a good one if you’re going to use it as part of a home entertainment system. Cheap players may output inferior quality picture and sound, and might even have trouble playing some DVDs at all.
The next step is a big television, either flat with an LCD or plasma screen, or perhaps even a projection TV – be careful with projection though, as it can break if you plan to use your TV for video games. You should consider getting an HDTV version of whatever you choose if you need to future-proof your system and make your films look just that little bit better.
Finally, you should get some good surround sound speakers, together with an amplifier or stereo system to drive them. Although you can get systems now with ridiculous numbers of speakers, Dolby 5. 1 is still the best system to go with, as it is the most widely supported.