If you’re about to go out and buy yourself a home theatre system, the two most important things you need to take into consideration are budget and space. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started.
There are four basic types of home theater audio systems to choose from:
- Home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems- Usually 5 surround sound speakers, a subwoofer, a disc player or amplifier inclusive of all wiring. This system is sold as a single unit packed up in one box, hence the name.
- Sound bars- A long, thin bar made up of several loudspeaker units. Sound bars offer virtual surround sound and is usually designed for mounting on the wall below a TV.
- Component systems- An audio/video receiver, speakers and any source components like disc players.
- Separates- Component systems with a separate pre-amplifier/processors and power amplifiers that basically replace the receiver.
Home theatre systems are available in a range of prices depending on what you want to get. Here are some general guidelines:
- Rs. 40,000 – Rs. 100,000: This will get you most HTIB systems, but there are a few deluxe models which are more expensive. Brands like Yamaha offer affordable HTIB systems which include A\V receivers with Bluetooth technology, cinema DSP, DTS and Dolby surround format decoding coupled with a 5.1 speaker system.
- Rs. 50,000– Rs. 300,000: This price range will get you a sound bar. Sound bars are great alternatives to bulky home theatre systems when you don’t have space for the latter. A separate subwoofer is usually included. The YSP series from Yamaha is the pioneer in this category with its award winning superior sound bar technology as commended on prestigious review magazines such as Whathifi. So if you’re looking to buy a high quality sound bar, even on a budget, why settle for anything less?
- Rs. 140,000 – Rs. 450,000: These are component home theater systems which are based on an Audio / Video receiver and compatible speakers. Yamaha has some of the world’s best when it comes to component home theater systems with features including a 7.1 channel discrete amplification, advanced Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi, music enhancer, cinema DSP, DTS HD, Dolby True HD etc…
- Rs. 450,000 and up: Component home theater systems with top-of-the A\V-line receivers or preamplifier/amplifier separates and large speakers. This is the crème de la crème of the home theatre world and Yamaha tops it off with a cherry with the latest CX-A series preamplifiers, MX-A series power amplifiers and AVANTAGE series A/V receivers. Using cutting edge technology, Yamaha offers the best features including 3D audio, multi-zone capabilities, 4K up scaling, 11.2 channel discrete amplification, DTS-HD, Dolby True HD, DTS-X and Dolby Atmos surround format decoding.
Essentially, for all home theatre systems and its counterparts, the more money you spend the more features you get. If you’re planning to buy a component system, save at least 50% of your budget for the speakers.
Where you plan to set up your home theatre system will automatically tell you what you’ll need. A large or bulky speaker system can overwhelm a tiny room. Likewise, a sound bar won’t be able to fill a large room with enough sound thus reducing your experience drastically.
When planning your setup, remember to mentally prepare routes and lanes for the wires to the surround speakers and electrical power, keeping your furniture layout in mind.
Choosing the right system for your room
Here are some basic equipment guidelines for room sizes:
Dorm room or a small room: Consider a HTIB system, a sound bar or component systems with smaller speakers.
Apartment living room: HTIB, sound bar or a small component system. Depending on how well the system fits in with the living room furniture of course.
Larger living room: Definitely a component system. To create a separate home theater space in the room an HTIB or sound bar may be just what you need.
Dedicated home theater room: This goes without saying, but you could basically design the best component system you can fit and afford.
Although the ideal setting to watch a movie or play a game is a dedicated home theater room, this is not strictly necessary to set up a home theater system you’ll love. Even the cheapest sound bar or HTIB system will sound infinitely better than your regular TV speakers.