Thursday, October 30, 2014

Home Movie System Buying Guide

Welcome to our latest guest post on choosing the appropriate sound system for your home theater. I love the suggestions for different price-points, as well as the introduction of the clever soundbar. Don't forget to click through cashback sites and use coupon codes for the greatest online savings.

Home cinema system buying guide

If your speakers look like this, it might be time for something new!

Thanks to the rise of on-demand content coupled with ongoing technological advancements, more and more consumers are looking at buying a home cinema system to watch their favorite TV shows and movies at home.

However, with a wealth of technical jargon to understand and several different options available, it is difficult to know where to start. So regardless of your requirements or budget, here is a quick buying guide.

What to consider

Sound quality

The biggest reason to buy a home theater system is to improve the sound quality of your chosen movie or TV show. Surround sound effects make you feel fully immersed in a show or film, but clear dialogue helps you to follow the plot more easily too.

Ease of installation and use

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of cabling some systems require, while setting up speaker levels and delay times can be a nightmare. Then when it comes to watching content, the sheer number of sound options can be very confusing. So try and look for a system that has an easy to understand instruction manual, auto set-up modes and individual sound profiles.

Price and usage 

There is no point spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a home cinema system if you’re only going to use it once in a while. Therefore, think about whether the amount of TV series and movies you watch justifies the price. You may also want to consider how your neighbors will feel about any potential noise, as some systems can be heard through the walls.

What Speakers to Buy

All-in-one system

The easiest and often cheapest way to replicate cinema quality sound in your living room is to buy an all-in-one system. This usually includes an amplifier, speakers, cables and maybe even a DVD or Blu-ray player. When you see 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 and 7.1 systems, this refers to the number of included speakers.


If money is no option and you want to achieve the best sound possible, then buying every component separately is the answer. You’ll have complete control over the amplifier, sub-woofer, speakers, cables and additional equipment like media players or games consoles. This bespoke option is undoubtedly more expensive, but those on a budget can buy cheap components to start with and upgrade over time.


Perfect for those with limited space, a soundbar features several speakers in a single rectangular box, which is placed below or alongside your television. Each speaker is electronically processed in order to recreate virtual surround-sound. While this doesn’t compare to actually having rear speakers, it is still a decent option.

While your choice of home cinema system will depend on space, price and usage, some broad conclusions can still be made.

Occasional movie watchers with a limited budget should look at an all-in-one system to satisfy their sound requirements. However, it is recommended that audiophiles and film enthusiasts buy separate components for greater personalization and superior audio quality.

Then again, some consumers want to give their viewing experience a little boost, while others don’t have much room for a full-blown system. If this is the case, a soundbar is the way to go.

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