June 24, 2008 by Arlen Schweiger
Usually when you go to a big-box retailer, what you get is video, video, video. Since that’s where a lot of beginners go, armed with only a basic knowledge of A/V, they don’t often get a good taste of what audio can do to enhance a media room.
Dolby Laboratories, whose audio has been stamped on receivers, DVD players and now Blu-ray disc players—with it’s uncompressed Dolby TrueHD soundtracks—has provided sort of a beginners’ basics of audio for consumers on its website. It’s in PDF form, called HD Essentials: Get in the Middle of the HD Action.
If you know all about 5.1 surround sound, or know that you can get 7.1 surround and understand glossary items like HDMI 1.3 or ATSC, then you’re probably past the level of this guide. If you haven’t replaced your TV in 15 years and are still receiving your audio through the TV’s speakers, then step right up.
Dolby’s guide runs from digital TV to surround sound to cable types, and there’s a checklist and an area for notes so you can head to the local big-box store or other retailer armed with a bunch of questions.
Dolby has also included the setup for a basic surround system, some glossary terms and common questions for you. So remember, audio can be half the enjoyment of home theater, whether you’re upgrading to stereo speakers, soundbar, 5.1 or even 7.1 if you have the room for it. Yeah, 7.1, Blu-ray and Dolby TrueHD decoding isn’t a bad upgrade from your old tube TV and its speakers.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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