Home Cinema Reviews Explained


Home entertainment has come a long way over the past twenty years. Those of us of a certain age might still refer to ‘taping’ and ‘videoing’ but it’s probably some years since those terms actually had a literal meaning in our homes. Nowadays we’re more likely to be talking about hard drives and discs than VHS and tape. If you take the time to read a few home cinema reviews in any newspaper or magazine you’ll understand that the technology behind home entertainment today can be quite confusing.

It used to be that a TV and a player were the only requirements for a home cinema experience. The bigger the TV the better the cinema experience and if you were lucky you might be able to wire up the TV to your dad’s Hi-Fi and make the volume louder. Digital technology and the advances in the home entertainment market have now made this once sophisticated approach look positively ancient. If you really do want a home cinema experience there’s nothing stopping you.

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So where to start? Well there are all sorts of products on the market to suit whatever you expect to get from your viewing experience. Reading home cinema reviews will help you decide what is best for you and will also give you an idea of what price range you might be looking at. Most weekend papers have technology sections and there are now specialist magazines devoted to home cinema reviews, films and audio equipment that will also help. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Calling the bottom end of the spectrum entry level is a bit of a misnomer. If you’re on a budget though this is where you’ll start and if that’s the case then you’ll more than likely be looking for additions to the equipment you already have. Most home cinema reviews do concentrate on complete packages but if you look around you’ll also find good reviews of individual components.

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The first thing you need is a HD ready TV screen. The latest HD discs have a much clearer picture but can only be appreciated on a HD set. Lots of TV is now broadcast in HD so it’s worth the investment. Next you need to decide what sort of player to get. Again I’d say get the best player you can; Blu Ray are the latest kind, in fact go for one that plays a wide range of formats as you may want to one day connect your computer or games console to the TV and watch other file formats as well.

Finally you need speakers. Surround sound is now obligatory if you’re trying to create a home cinema experience. Luckily this is one of the cheapest items you can buy now, but be warned, as with most things you get what you pay for. If you are starting completely from scratch the whole thing will probably set you back between five hundred and six hundred pounds.

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All of the components I’ve mentioned are available from various manufacturers and at various prices. The more expensive generally means the better the quality. Reading home cinema reviews will help guide you through this minefield and it’ll also pay dividends to get customer reviews of products you are interested in. You’ll find these online.

So you can end up with the basic components but have much better makes and models and pay anything from one thousand to two thousand pounds. What you eventually decide to choose will of course depend on your budget. If you have enough money you may even think about a top of the range projector and screen for the ultimate cinema experience.

Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the home entertainment industry.
Find out more about home cinema reviews and home entertainment.
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