What Is Home Theater and What Does It Do for Me?
A Working Definition Of Home Theater
The commonly used term “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
How the concept of home theater is applied can vary widely. 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, Blu-Ray Disc/Ultra HD Blu-ray player(s), a media server, cable/satellite, 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 and sound bar, or a DVD/Blu-ray Disc player combined with stereo receiver or home theater receiver, speakers, and a subwoofer.
However, with plunging prices, upgrading to a large screen LCD, Plasma (discontinued as of 2014 but still in use) (55-inches or larger) TVs, 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.
Also, if you have a little more cash, a 4K Ultra HD LED/LCD or OLED TV might be options to consider.
Another option that can be included in a home theater setup is internet streaming. Most TVs and Blu-ray Disc players can also stream TV shows and movies from the internet. Even if you don’t have a TV that has this capability, there are many inexpensive add-on media streamers that can be purchased that provide access to an abundance of internet streaming content, that includes movies, TV shows, user created content, and music.
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 TV and movies at home with a little extra excitement than you normally get just watching a plain-old TV by itself.
In fact, for many, going to the local cinema is a distant memory, as it is less expensive and more comfortable to stay at home. Also, with the ever decreasing time between theatrical and broadcast to home video and streaming release, waiting a couple of extra months to watch that big blockbuster movie or TV show is not necessarily a big deal, as long as you avoid spoilers from those that have already seen that content. In addition, for TV shows, there is the fun of “binge watching” – instead of watching to see the next episode, you can watch several during one viewing period.
By borrowing from both the image and sound technology of the movie theater and adapting it to the home environment,TV and audio manufacturers have provided the consumer the ability to actually approximate the movie theater experience at home, based on the equipment and content access options chosen.
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 our companion articles:
- The Ten Essential Elements of a Well-Balanced Home Theater
- Common Home Theater Mistakes
- Things About Home Theater You May Not Know
- How A Home Theater System Can Save You Money