Buying Tip: Home Theater Done Right

buying tip

Buying the right home theater equipment the first time will save you time, money, and lots of aggravation.

Feb. 01, 2006 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

A quick list to help you plan and purchase the best home theater for you.

Don’t let anyone set standards for you. The best home theater is one that satisfies you and the others using the room on a regular basis.

How can you tell if it’s an HDTV? It should have a vertical resolution of at least 720. This is expressed in its native display format of 720p or above. Or, it’s the second number in a set’s native resolution, such as 1280 x 720.

Don’t be sold on tiny or cheap center-channel speakers. The center channel is the most important speaker in a home theater because it reproduces all the dialogue.

Want to protect your home theater investment from damage and get the best performance from your audio and video equipment? Get a power conditioner that can provide a clean electrical signal to your components, and you’ll see the difference in clearer audio and video. At the very least, protect your equipment from electrical surges with surge suppressor strips.

Remotes with touchscreens can look great, but small screens can be difficult for larger hands to operate. You may want to look for a remote that comes with a stylus pen for greater key-pressing comfort and accuracy.

Plan for 10 percent to 25 percent of your budget to be spent on making the system easy to operate. Cut back on the performance enough to afford a good integrated control unit, and you’ll be much happier with your system in the long run.

It’s all about aspect. If you’re looking to buy a digital TV or HDTV that’s under 32 inches, you may want to consider one with a squarer 4:3 screen, like that of a traditional TV set. Small black bars will appear only when you view something in widescreen format.

Think you’ll be adding a flat-panel TV or speakers to your home-theater setup sometime in the future? Wire those locations with high-speed Category 5 or 5e networking cable in addition to power, video cable and speaker wire. Someday, that flat-panel TV and those speakers may be part of your home network.

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