Back in 90s I thought about starting my own company installing Home Theater. Oh well…Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Today everyone wants a Home Theater to watch movies, sports, play video games or just watch TV. However the average Joe doesn’t know much about picking a TV, Blu Ray player or Surround Sound system. Then with the new streaming capabilities that now come built in, it can be downright overwhelming. I have heard friends and strangers speak on how intimidating it can be when you go to a box store and you’re looking at a wall of TVs! Where do you even begin? Many folks would simply buy whatever is on sale. Nothing wrong with that, just make sure you are buying a quality product! I always tell people when they try to go the cheap route, It can cost more to pay less. Just think about how much time you will spend using your TV, Blu Ray and Surround system? Wouldn’t it be nice to get the purchase right the first time?
We can start with TVs…When it comes to TV’s there are basically three types out there now. There is Plasma, LED and LCD. Many will say get the TV with the best picture in your price range? However since picture quality is subjective I fell it is more important to focus on what you watch and where your TV/Monitor will go.
A plasma TV might be for you if:
- You like rich, warm colors and deep black levels.
- You do most of your viewing with low or modest room lighting.
- You or others will be sitting off-axis when watching TV or movies.
- You want the smoothest, most natural motion with fast on-screen action, like sports or video games.
- Pros: excellent contrast and black levels; effortless motion; uniform illumination over the entire screen area, good picture depth; often priced lower than LED-LCD models with similar screen size and features
- Cons: limited screen sizes: 42″-65″; some models not as bright as most LED-LCD TVs; not as energy-efficient as LED-LCDs and typically generate more heat; a plasma panel is usually a bit heavier and thicker than an LED-LCD panel
An LED-LCD TV might be for you if:
- You want an ultra-thin TV — LCD TVs, especially LED-backlit models, tend to be thinner than plasmas.
- You do a lot of daytime viewing in a room with windows lacking blinds, curtains or drapes. An LED-LCD’s bright picture will still look crisp and colorful in bright light; some LCD screens also resist glare.
- Low power consumption is a priority — LCD TVs are more energy efficient than plasma models with the same screen size.
- Pros: models with advanced local dimming backlights can have black levels rivaling plasma; LED-LCD panels are thin and lightweight — especially models with edge-lit backlights; this is the most energy-efficient display technology
- Cons: picture may look a bit flat and less “film like” than plasmas; when viewed off-axis the picture may lose some contrast and color.
Details to pay attention to;
Resolution. Most current TV’s either show 720 or 1080 lines of resolution. You will see it listed as 720p, 1080p. These are the lines of resolution and the higher the better. I would only go with 720p if you are going with a 40inch or smaller. In my humble opinion I think 720p is fine for a small space. While looking you will also see 4k, which is the latest technology. With 4k we are talking 4,000 lines of resolution! That’s about 4 x the resolution of High Definition video and Blu Ray. The only problem…it’s still new and there is not really any content yet. Stay tuned!
Refresh rate. You will hear different things; I will just say you want at least 120 Hz. If you can get higher do it, even though they say your cable signal is only at 60 Hz.
Keep this in mind when trying to determine the size of TV/Monitor;
Viewing distance range
Here are a few I would recommend;
Panasonic 60” Plasma #TCP60ST50 Viera 1080P 600Hz $1,699.99
LG 60” Plasma #60PA6500 1080P 600 Hz $999.99
Samsung 51” Plasma PN51E530A3FXZA 1080P 600Hz $699.99
LG 50” LED #50LS4000 1080P 120Hz $699.99
LG 47” LCD #47CS570 1080P 120HZ $597.98
LG 42” LED-LCD 42LN5400 1080p 120HZ $449.99
Samsung 40” LED-LCD UN40F6300 1080p 120HZ 679.99
Next is the Surround Receiver. This is a key part of your set up because it’s the brains. Make sure it provides the features you are looking for and is compatible with current and future technology. More than likely you will use its remote to control all your devices and switch between various media. It will power all your speakers except your sub woofer and likely be in the family longer than other electronic purchases. The surround receiver was created to present the movie audio the way its creators intended. Movie Theaters use them with front/center/rear speakers and sub woofers to give you that incredible sound! The sound of something flying over your head, a rushing river in the distance or a loud explosion. Many surround receivers can even provide sound to multiple rooms. There are a lot of choices out there. Make a list of the media/devices you use most often and pick a receiver that will best work for you. Here are some I would recommend…
Cambridge Audio 751R
Emotiva UMC 200/UPA 500
Denon AVR – 4520CI
Denon AVR 3805 7.1
Yamaha RX A3020
Yamaha RX Z1 5.1
Sony STR – DN840
Denon AVR – E400
Next is the Blu Ray player. I think they are pretty self explanatory but just in case you don’t know. Blu Ray is the latest form of media that movies are placed on for home viewing. All blu ray players play DVDs and CDs. Some players even play HDCD (Hi Definition CD) and SACD (Super Audio CD). Visually blu ray players can deliver 1080 lines of resolution. Lately I have been seeing blu ray players as cheap as $50.00. I tend to believe this is because of the new 4k technology? Even still I say you get what you pay for. A Geo Metro drives like a Geo Metro and an S Class Benz well…like an S Class Benz. The better the technology and build quality, the better it is at accurately reproducing the video on disc.
Blu Ray Players:
Oppo BDP 105 $1,200.00
Denon DBP – 1611 UD $499.00
Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD $799.99
Panasonic DMP – BDT500 $300.00
Samsung BD F7500 $179.99
Sony BDP S5100 $99.99
This is too large of a topic to really tackle now so briefly…
6 speaker set up
Fronts Speakers: Music and special effects.
Surround: Ambient sound, Moving sound.
Subwoofer: Bass! Rumble and Explosions.
These are starting to get popular. If you are short on space and want to keep it minimal this is for you. You won’t get the same level of sound but is a decent substitute.
Vizio S4221w-C4 $249.00
Pioneer SP-SB23W $399.00
JBL Cinema SB400 $549.00
I give props to all my sources…Sound & Vision, Home Theater and Crutchfield.