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HDTV – Immerse Yourself in the HD Experience

HDTV – Immerse Yourself in the HD Experience

There is no doubt that high definition televisions can offer a fantastic viewing experience when compared to older TV standards. However, the visual aspect is just one part of the goal of creating a realistic home theater set-up. Good audio is the other vital component, and no matter how good the speakers in your TV may be, they won’t compare to a proper surround sound system.

There are two main options, both widely available: 5.1 and 7.1. The numbers refer to the amount of channels, and therefore speakers, provided. A 5.1 system supports 6 speakers. The ‘.1’ is the subwoofer, designed to reproduce low frequencies, such as thunder and explosions. The other 5 speakers (sometimes called satellites) are divided into left and right, placed in front of the listener; left and right surround speakers, placed slightly to the rear on either side; and center front. 7.1 systems are the same as the 5.1 set-up, with the addition of two extra speakers situated behind the listener. There is a less popular 6.1 version, adding just one extra rear surround channel.

Most people agree that a 7.1 system provides a more realistic audio experience, with more depth and immersive qualities. This is especially true for large rooms. However, 5.1 is a perfectly adequate option for the majority of applications.

If you decide to buy a surround sound system, you may choose to purchase an A/V receiver and speakers separately, or opt for one of the many packages on the market which include everything you need. Both options have their advantages, for example it’s usually easier to set up an all-in-one package; but buying separately allows you to choose the best individual components for your particular requirements. The receiver is the heart of a surround sound system, supplying the amplification and providing inputs and outputs. Don’t be too concerned with buying a particularly high power receiver. Vendors often quote impressive-sounding wattages, which many people translate into meaning high volumes; this is not necessarily the case. If you’re concerned about all the cabling involved, it may be a good idea to consider a wireless system. While these are not a true cable-free option, they do eliminate the need for cabling to the rear (surround) speakers.

Once you have purchased your system, take time to plan the location of the TV and other components. Proper speaker positioning can have a dramatic effect on the overall audio experience.

For those who, for reasons of cost or available space, do not wish to jump on the surround sound bandwagon just yet, there is always the option of ‘virtual’ surround sound. Many newer TVs come with the ability to simulate the surround experience with only two speakers, using systems such as SRS Trusound.

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HDTV – Immerse Yourself in the HD Experience

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