Up until the past few decades, if a movie lover wanted the total cinema experience, they were better off dressing up, getting in the car, and going to the movies. Sure it was more expensive than watching a movie on the TV at home, but televisions were small, their picture and sound offered an overall low quality, and it was just in the 1980’s that most Americans were able to afford VCRs, and later DVD players, so that they could even have a choice in movies beyond whatever ever programming their television network had picked for them that night.
Then, technology such as high definition television (HDTV) arrived. Suddenly, it was just as easy to watch near cinema quality movies in the privacy of your own home. No more driving out to the multiplex, no more spending more than your ticket on a popcorn and a drink. At first glance, many people would conclude that larger TVs, ones that looked more like a movie screen, were the sole reason for this shift. But actually, a large part of the shift had to do with the sound quality that HDTVs and their like had to offer to the general public due to new trends in home theater speakers. Once, if a movie love wanted to be treated to the sound of a helicopter circling his head or a train entering one side of the screen and exiting the other, he was better off going to the theater. Now though, with the advent of high quality home theater speakers, that same movie lover can recreate the experience in the comfort of his own home.
Of course, a home theater that can duplicate a cinema experience is not without its initial upfront investment. HDTVs can be hugely expensive, and high quality home theater speakers, as well. For a great home audio experience, it is important to have a set of matching speakers. In fact, buying a set of matching home theater speakers instead of trying to gradually build up your home theater speaker collection one by one can be much more cost effective in the long run. Recognizing this, many electronics companies have packaged a bundle known around the industry as “home theater in a box.” These can range from the very low end in price (generally “2.1″ units which include a combination DVD player/three channel amplifier with only the most basic features, a remote control, left and right speakers, and a small subwoofer speaker and can be purchased for under $100 USD) to extremely sophisticated, technologically advanced, and of course, expensive. At very highest end are Lifestyle systems made by renowned audio equipment manufacturer Bose. These sophisticated home theater in a box systems can cost up to $3000 USD.
As a rule of thumb, most electronics manufacturers (including Bose, in their interactive “Help Me Choose a Home Theater” questionnaire), recommend that the two speaker system works for smaller rooms, while a home theater speaker system with at least five speakers is ideal for larger rooms. It is very hard to duplicate cinema quality sound with only two speakers, but the two speaker systems work for televisions in bedrooms, etc. Many people have a central home theater system in the living room or family room. This can include going so far as having theater style seats installed and controlling the lighting to allow for maximum darkness while the film shows. Some homeowners and movie lovers will stop at nothing to duplicate that cinema experience, and with more high definition televisions and extremely high quality home theater speakers being introduced on the market every day, they are coming closer and closer to duplicating a true cinema experience. Minus that $5 popcorn.