Do you remember that last time your family got your first
color television? Compared to our old
black-and-white sets, this “big screen” (21″ diagonal) color set was
extremely cool. It was so neat to watch Batman and Get Smart and all my other
favorite shows in “living color,” as RCA called it back then.
Of course, things have gotten better in the 40 or so years since then. My friend’s father owned a television/appliance store, so we were always one of the first familes on the block with all the latest technology. After color TV came solid state TV (much more reliable!), videogames (I played Pong for hours on end), videocassette recorders (the first one in the store sold for $1,400!), stereo television (great for music programs), videodiscs (much better picture quality), projection television (lousy picture at first, but really big!) compact discs (I couldn’t wait for all the Beatles’ albums to be re-released on CD), and on and on and on.
Fastfoward to today, all these technological advances have combined into something we call home theater. You take a big-screen TV (probably a high end LED TV or even a rear projection, but a big direct view TV will do), connect it to a powerful sound system (complete with surround sound, of course), and feed into it high-quality programming (DVD or digital satellite broadcasts are best). The result is an experience that approaches—and in some cases exceeds—that of watching a film in your local movie house. I have to admit, re-creating a movie theater experience in a normal living room is something I couldn’t have imagined as I watched Batman do the Batutsi in living color back in 1965.
Fortunately, it’s not only easy to imagine but it’s also easy to do—and without breaking the bank. You can put together a minimal home theater system for around $1,000, and can build something really impressive for less than $5,000. Just make sure you have enough money left over to buy all the custom modifications you want. What do you get for your money? If you build the right system, you get an entertainment experience second to none. Just start streaming from your preferred provider or pop in the DVD of Apocalypse Now, crank up the volume, and hold onto your chair when the helicopters blast by to the thrilling strains of “Ride of the Valkyries.” You’ll swear you’re in the middle of the action as the choppers swoop from front to rear and back again; bombs explode all around you, causing your furniture to shake from the force.
Trust me—it’s an experience unlike any you’ve had watching traditional TV. How do you get started with home theater? First, you have to understand what home theater is, and what equipment you need for a first-class home theater experience. That’s where this book comes in. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Home Theater Systems will help you understand, choose, purchase, and use the best home theater components for your budget.
Whether you have a $1,000 budget or a $100,000 budget, you’ll find out what you need to know to build your own personal home theater system. Of course, to understand home theater, you have to understand the audio and video technologies and equipment that comprise today’s state-of-the-art home theaters. As you read this book you’ll learn more about all these audio/video components, including …
➤ Direct view and projection television.
➤ Digital TV and HDTV.
➤ DVD players.
➤ Audio/video receivers.
➤ Surround-sound speakers and subwoofers.
➤ Digital satellite systems.
➤ Videocassette recorders.
➤ Personal digital video recorders.
➤ CD players, changers, and recorders.
I hope you’ll have learned a few things on how to shop for the components, and how to assemble them into a high-performance home theater system. The only thing missing is an expert to make it a reality worth re-living everyday.