Affordable high definition televisions and surround sound speakers have made home theaters very popular these days. They allow everyone to experience cinema quality sound right in their living rooms. Setting up a home theater is easier than it sounds and there are even packages that can be bought off the shelf. These packages contain all the components required, including a radio tuner and speakers. Positioning the speakers around the room and hiding the cables can sometimes be a problem, but this can be solved by using wireless speakers.
Anyone who has ever been to a cinema will have experienced the amazing audio effects produced by the sound system there. They make the listener feel like they are in the center of the action being shown on the screen. It is possible to recreate that experience at home by installing surround sound speakers, provided that the receiver powering the speakers supports one or more surround sound formats. The most widely used formats are DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic.
The type of surround sound system is described by an unusual numerical scheme that consists of two numbers separated by a decimal point. The first one is the number of speakers and the second one is the number of subwoofers. The most common system is a 5.1 channel, which has five speakers and one subwoofer. The three main speaker types are the tower, bookshelf, and satellite. Tower speakers are very tall and normally placed on the ground. Bookshelf speakers are much smaller and can be placed on shelves. Tiny satellite speakers are small enough to be placed on a desktop or fixed to a wall.
Surround sound speakers are normally purchased as part of a package that also contains a radio tuner, amplifier, subwoofer, and often a DVD player too. These packages are often marketed as a home theater in a box?(HTIB). The speakers can also be purchased separately but care needs to be taken that they are matching speakers. This means that they have the same characteristics and sound exactly the same. The problem with using unmatched speakers is that listeners will be distracted by the slightly different sounds coming from them.
The correct layout of surround sound speakers is vitally important to achieving cinematic sound. For example, the common 5.1 channel system has five speakers that need to be positioned. Two of the speakers are placed behind the listener on the left and right sides. The remaining three are placed in front of the listener, with two at the sides and one directly in front. After the speakers have been placed in position, a test should be performed to make sure they are connected correctly. This test usually involves playing a compact disc that has a simple tone that circles through the speakers and subwoofer.
The main problem with installing surround sound speakers is the many unsightly audio cables that wrap around the room. It can be difficult hiding the all of the cables, especially the ones going to the rear speakers. Parts of the cables can usually be hidden behind furniture and under carpets but some sections will be out in the open. While the cables can be run through the wall cavities and roof spaces, this requires a lot of extra work. One solution to this problem is to use a wireless sound system.
A wireless sound system has no unsightly audio cables. Each of the surround sound speakers has a small aerial that picks up signals sent out by the wireless receiver. The speakers still need to be plugged into a power point but most rooms will have at least one wall socket close to them. Wireless speakers have a typical range of one hundred feet. They can even be moved outside while the receiver is kept inside the house. In the past, the sound quality of wireless systems was below standard but that has changed in recent years and is now acceptable to most listeners.