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.