This home theater reviews page is designed to give you all the help you need in finding the reviews of kit you’re interested in so you can make the most informed decisions on what to buy.
We’ve tried our best to make sure that the reviews we link to are all from reputable publishers whom you can trust. However, when reading any review, including these home theater reviews, you should bear in mind that the opinion in the review is that of the individual reviewer and no-one is infallible.
Therefore you should read as many reviews as you can of the products you’re interested in buying before committing your cash. Also, double-check the facts quoted in reviews, especially those relating to the specifications of a system.
And if any feature, of any product you read about in these home theater reviews is particularly important to you, check with the manufacturer that it actually exists and does what you want it to do, before buying. The more research you do now, the less likely you are to spend hard-earned cash on a product that turns out not to be what you thought it was.At the bottom of this page, you’ll find links to sites that publish reviews.
Want to know how to compare DirecTV to Dish Network? If you’re planning on getting satellite TV in order to receive HDTV, that’s a question you’ll probably ask yourself at some stage. DirecTV and Dish Network are the two main satellite TV providers in the USA.
Rapid Satellite has a table on its website which outlines the differences, but we’ve outlined them below, to make it easy for you.There are, as you would expect, number of similarities between the two satellite providers, but to compare DirecTV to Dish Network, it’s important to note some subtle, but significant differences.
Excluding time limited special offers, a typical DirecTV subscription is $41.99 for 15 channels, or 33 cents per channel. A Dish Network typical plan is $31.99 for 50 channels, or 60 cents per channel.
DirecTV has plans where you get the equipment free and own it with no upfront costs. Dish Network has plans with no upfront costs but you don’t own the equipment, alternatively you can choose to own the equipment but there are upfront costs.
Both companies quote install times of 5-7 days.
DirecTV has TiVo systems, NFL SUnday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, and March Madness NCAA Basketball, Dish Network has none of those.
Both companies have local channels available, depending on where you live.
DirecTV currently insists that new subscribers sign up for a minimum of a year, there is no minimum for Dish Network. Also Dish Network has more satellites than DirecTV and offers a maximum of 500 channels, compared to DirecTV’s 250.
When you compare DirecTV to Dish Network, you need to bare your own needs in mind as everyone wnats and values different things in a satellite TV service, but hopefully the above has given you a few pointers to help you make a decision.
Plasma TV is the ultimate choice for those home theater fans who want the best possible picture and space-saving design in their home theater room.
Because it is so thin, you can mount a plasma screen on a wall or ceiling or put them wherever you want without having to be afraid of taking up too much space in a room. Their versatility and competency to connect to HDTV, DVD, computers, and video games are making plasma TVs the perfect substitute of the huge TVs. In addition, plasma TV’s appearance of being thin, wide screen, rectangular and large enough to loom over you, makes it even more alike to a movie screen.
Furthermore, plasma screens offers more in color accuracy and sharpness. Their exceptional color accuracy in which it is capable of displaying 16.77 million colors providing superb color realism with exceptionally delicate gradations between colors. This color accuracy and sharpness allows plasma TV to display the most bright and vivid images in any room.
Once you’ve got the plasma TV installed, then just sit back and enjoy your new vastly improved home theater system. Once you experience the quality of the display with the rest of you home theater system equipment, you’ll enjoy a high quality and impressive movie watching experience.
Buying one of the available complete home theater systems is a great way to get into home theater if you don’t want to buy all the components individually.
While purists will always insist that the only way to get the best sound quality is to choose each component, including the cables, separately on its own merits, for the rest of us a good all-in-one system represents the most economic route. It’s certainly the best way to get started.
A home theater system will usually consist of a home theater receiver, five or six speakers plus a sub-woofer, and all the necessary cabling. The receiver is responsible for amplifying and processing the sound from your DVD player. The processing part decodes the multi-channel signal and sends the correct audio channel to the correct speaker. Receivers usually also include an AM/FM tuner.
Home theater systems vary enormously in cost, and most manufacturers have a range which covers a broad spectrum of budgets. Generally speaking, the more expensive the system, the better quality the signal processing, cabling, and speakers. More expensive systems are also likely to support a wider range of surround formats, and have more powerful satellite speakers and sub-woofer.
Once you’ve bought a system and lived with it a while, you may decide to upgrade it. One way of doing this is to replace the cabling, which on inexpensive systems is likely to be of pretty low quality, with higher quality cables and connectors. This is a good, although not cheap way, of improving the sound quality of a system.
The idea of a wireless home theater might seem like something bordering on science fiction.Multi-room, or multi-zone set-up systems are one area where all the major manufacturers are focusing at the moment and given the expense and inconvenience of creating wired solutions, much is being done to make these systems wireless.
On top of that, many computer pereipheral manufacturers are getting in on the act and making boxes thst will stream content from a Mac or PC wirelessly to your receiver, television or hi-fi system wherever it is in your house.And, indeed, if you are the kind of viewer and listener who insists on the highest quality images and audio at all times, wireless entertainment is a long way off.
However, for those of us who are prepared to sacrifice a little quality for the sheer convenience and wow factor of a, at least partially, wireless home theater, there are a number of solutions around to help us achieve wire-free entertainment.
In this section we’ll look at some of the key wireless products and technologies and help you create a system that uses as few wires as possible. Whether it’s Sharp’s wireless Aquos TV, Netgear’s audio streamer, Phillips Streamium range, Advent’s wirless speakers, or Apple’s brand new (at the time of writing) Airport Express we’ll explain how they can help you achieve your goal of a nearl wireless home theater. And we’ll look at some of the best solutions for streaming music, video and photo slideshows from your Mac or PC to your home theater system.
We’ll also explain the technologies behind the system so you can identify wireless technologies by name and tell the salesman in your local store when he’s talking nonsense !
Paradigm speakers, manufactured by Canadian company Paradigm Electronics, have a reputation worldwide for excellent quality.
The company’s website says that they have “stunning accuracy, a spacious soundstage with pinpoint localization, powerful, well-defined bass and thrilling dynamics.”
The reviews these speakers have had in publications worldwide are testament to that.
The Paradigm speakers of most interested to home theater enthusiasts are in the company’s Cinema range. The basic Cinema set-up consists of four satellites, a center speaker, and the company’s PDR-8 subwoofer. T3 magazine said in a review of the Cinema “Assuming you haven’t invested in surround sound speakers, the Cinema system is a surprisingly pleasant way to take the plunge.”
The positive reviews of these Paradigm speakers don’t stop with T3. Paradigm has a number of reviews available for download in PDF form from its website. Among them is one from DVD Home Theater which has this to say “…the Cinema system’s ability to reproduce all sounds authentically and with precision is what distinguishes it from the competition…”
One of the key features of the Cinema system is the small-size of the satellite speakers. There are other manufactures who produce palm-sized speakers but usually the quality is suspect to say the least. Paridigm speakers manage to combine small-size with a solid construction and the result is excellent quality of sound.
The Cinema series aren’t the only speakers Paradigm makes. The company makes a whole range of speakers for audiophiles and home theater fans alike, for indoor and outdoor use. Our favourites are the On-Wall series designed for use with LCD televisions. These speakers are mounted on a wall alongside the television and in a surround sound set-up, the center speaker can be mounted above or below the website, with the left and right speakers on either side.
Paradigm speakersare showcased on the company’s website, which is a wealth of information, not just on the company and its products, but on speakers and home theater in general. And there’s a great explanation, with diagram, of the company’s recommendation for an ideal home theater set-up.
Home theater projectors are becoming increasingly popular as prices tumble and consumers appreciate that picture quality and size are usually the most important part of the display.
If you are setting up a home theater, you need to make some basic decisions right up front to allow you to enjoy the best of the movies. One of the biggest issues that you will face when planning a new home theater is whether to get a TV (CRT, LCD or plasma) rear-projection TV (RPTV), or a two-piece system – a projector and screen.
Rear-projection televisions usually range from 36″ to 80″. If you are aiming for a movie experience just like those in a movie theater then a projector is what you should opt for. Projectors are similar to rear-projection TV, except for the fact that the “TV” is a projector that throws the picture on a screen or a all.
With home theater projectors, you can have screen size as big as 80 inches with the projector only a few feet from the screen. However, a larger room is needed for bigger image sizes. Why?
home theater projector
One of the reasons is because when you are using a home theater projector, you also have to consider the viewing distance. Projectors with XGA or WXGA resolution need a viewing distance of 2.0 times the screen width or greater. With this distance, you can enjoy movies with beautiful image integration in which pixels are invisible, artifacts are minimized, and the picture appears as a solid unified video image.
The viewing distance yields large screen drama with just enough distance to cause the image to be fully integrated and resolved visually. On the other hand, if the viewing distance is less than 1.5 times the screen width, it will get you into the trouble zone where pixels and artifacts become more visibly intrusive.
The Phillips Streamium product line ranges from hi-fi audio system to the high tech TV sets.
In 2002, Phillips introduced Phillips Streamium, which is claimed to be the world’s first micro hi-fi system capable of connecting to multiple online music services by touching a single button. This consumer electronic product line from Phillips allows consumers to choose their online favorite music both by personalized radio stations or play lists of personally selected music, stored in a secure “on-ine jukebox” and then streamed to the system.
The good thing is that users can easily access all this music wirelessly from any place in the house, away from the computer or Internet connection without the need to run annoying and expensive cable. Phillips Streamium features five-line display on the system that continuously illustrates information about which song is playing, the artist name and also song title. Users can easily assess the information of the song just like looking the back cover of CD. Another convenience offer by Phillips Streamium is the remote control it provides. With remote control, users can request more information on music via 1-button press.
Not only does Phillips Streamium offer Internet audio system but it also offers a micro system with CD and MP3-CD playback from both CD-R and CD-RW discs plus a conventional FM/AM tuner. So, if users are bored with the online music, there is always CD or MP3 and radio to turn to.
Besides Phillips Streamium audio system, in early 2004, Phillips also introduced the Phillips Streamium TV, a television that brings Internet content from the computer to the TV with a click of a button. By clicking a button on a remote, users can switch the TV to broadband Internet content. Using Wi-Fi technology, the set also could be used to show photos or video stored on a home computer.
The Panasonic DMR-E100HS is the latest Panasonic DVD recorder to feature a hard disk drive alongside a DVD-RAM/DVD-R drive.
The 120Gb drive makes the Panasonic DMR-E100HS quite possible the most desirable DVD recorder on the market. Having a hard drive as well as DVD recording capability allows the DMR-E100HS to take onthe functions of a personal video recorder as well as a DVD recorder. So if you want to time-shift TV programmes or pause live TV, you can record to the hard disk. If you want to archive programmes to keep, you can record them directly to a DVD disk (the Panasonic DMR-E100HS, like other Panasonic DVD recorders, supports both the DVD-RAM and DVD-R formats) or onto the hard drive and then from the hard drive to a DVD disk. You can also watch one recorded program, while recording another.
The DMR-E100HS is useful for more than just recording from television. It has a digital video port (also known as FireWire and iLink) so you can connect a digital video camera and copy footage from it to the DVD recorder’s hard drive. You can then use the Panasonic DMR-E100HS’ basic editing functions to edit your videos, before viewing them on the television.
There’s also a PC card that’s compatible with standard PC cards, as well as Compact Flash, Secure Digital (SD), MultimediaCard (MMC), Smart Media, and Memory Stick formats, with the appropriate adaptor. There’s also and additional SD card slot. Photographs stored on these memory cards can be copied to the DMR-100HS’ hard drive and viewed on-screen.
Other inputs are; three video composite, three S-Video, three pairs of composite audio, and RF. Outputs are; two composite video, component (Y, PB, PR), two S-Video, and two pairs of composite audio. Playable disc formats are; DVD-Video, DVD-Audio (two channel), DVD-RAM, DVD-R, VideoCD, CD, CD-R/W. MP3 files stored on CD or DV can also be played back.
The Panasonic DMR-E100HS is an impressive DVD recorder, offering just about every feature you could want. It’s expensive, compared to say, the Phillips DVDR75, and if the DVD+RW format becomes dominant, it could be left out in the cold. But the functionality offered by the inclusion of a hard disk, not to mention the advantages of DVD-RAM over DVD-R and DVD+R, is worth the extra money.
Buying a home theater receiver is one of the most important decisions you’re going to have to make when building your home theater.The receiver has a number of functions including; connecting and switching audio sources; connecting and switching video sources; decoding surround sound formats; amplifying an audio signal and sending it to your speakers; tuning in to radio stations; and acting as the interface between you and your home theater.
The first thing to think about is whether you want a receiver at all or would you be better off buying a separate decoder, amplifier, and tuner?
Despite being a more expensive route – not to mention the extra space needed – separates do have some advantages. You can pick and choose your own combination of components, can upgrade each component individually and won’t lose all the functions if one piece develops a fault. On top of that, having each electronic component in a separate box does improve sound quality when compared with having them all on one circuit board.
However, the separates route is more expensive, more complicated and needs more space than buying a receiver. And for most people its uneccessary. Today’s receivers do a very good job in all of their functions.
So what should should you look out for when buying a receiver? The first thing is to make sure that it has ll the inputs you need for the equipment you need to connect to it. Sounds obvious, but its very easy to overlook. As a mimimum it should have digital audio inputs (optical and co-axial) for Dolby Digital and/or DTS. It should also have analogue audio inputs for CD player, set-top box and possibly DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD player (the last two currently don’t have digital outputs in order to make it less easy to pirate CDs).