Home Theater Electronics – Your Theater Support System

If you enjoy watching movies at home, then home theater electronics are the support system for that enjoyment. You could watch movies with just a television and a DVD player, but the experience can’t compare to what you could have.

Watching movies has been referred to as ‘escapism’ – like it’s a bad thing – but in reality, escapism is defined as a mental diversion. Diverting our minds through relaxing entertainment allows us to rejuvenate ourselves.

Take into consideration where you’ll want to set up your home theater electronics. Make sure you don’t set it up where sunlight streams in the brightest. If you place the screen directly across from a window, even with a flat screen, you’ll get glare in the daylight hours unless you use light filtering curtains or shades. [Read more…]

HDMI Cabling

The HDMI cable is the type of the cable that is used to connect a number of electronic devices into the same interface. Mostly we see HDMI cables hooking up DVD , HD-DVD or Blu Ray or satellite to your HDTV. You would be surprised, I’m sure, to learn of all the ways that this new version will expand your multimedia interface and make it easier for you to combine your electronics.

To understand how this HDMI cable is going to help you, let’s first talk about Digital Visual Interface (DVI). This is an uncompressed digital connection scheme that was actually originally developed for a network of personal computers. It was to be a low-cost, high-bandwidth digital connection between PCs and digital monitors, so that you could view your work on the best of television sets. Now it is the most widely used digital display interface in the computer industry. What does all this mean for your home theater system? Well, it means that you can include the DVI with it, especially by using DVI connections on projectors, monitors, and advanced DVD players, such as the new HD-DVD players.

HDMI cables come in when you want to hook up a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) system with that of a DVI. HDMI cables can carry video, audio, and inter-component operability commands (remote control signals) on one digital interface that has been built on the success of DVI. When a device is connected to an HDMI 1.3 cable, it gets all the video performance that DVI has to offer, up to and including 1080p.

Compared with your standard A/V interfaces, HDMI interfaces actually have a number of important advantages. The uncompressed format delivers digital HD video, multi-channel audio, and control signals between various HDMI and/or DVI components. By combining all this power into one cable, HDMI offers a convenient connection alternative to the maze of existing analog A/V cables that plague your home theater.

The HDMI cable actually offers six distinct benefits to the HDMI world. The most obvious is the higher data transfer speed that it offers. It also supports a special format type known as Deep Color. This is the brand new color space used in video electronics. It can support 1.8 times as many colors as RGB (Red, green, blue color schemes), which helps it to show all the various colors found in nature. Incorporating automatic audio syncing capability is also a new feature for the HDMI cable. This system will automatically adjust for the difference in electronic latency between the processing circuits of the sound and the image. This discrepancy usually comes up as a slight delay in sound and image correspondence, but it will be unnoticeable thanks to this new cable version.

In addition to all of this, the HDMI supports the output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-FD Master Audio streams. These are the lossless audio codec formats used on HD DVDs and Blue-ray discs. The cable is only useful here if the DVD player can’t send information in an uncompressed format, though. The HDMI can be used with a number of products, including the latest DVD players and the Playstation 3, which you may be interested to know, is the first product on the market that uses a HDMI 1.3 wire connection.

So if you’re looking for the best connectivity possible, look into purchasing the HDMI cable. The benefits HDMI provides your home theater wiring set-up can’t be beat, and you’ll soon find yourself able to transfer data like never before.

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Home theater power protection – Surge Protectors

There is one onvestment in your home theater that you can not see or hear and that is the surge protector that will save your equipment in the event of a power spike.

Summer’s villainous lightning, power outages and heat-wave electricity drain aren’t the only threats to your delicate electronics. Even an air conditioner’s compressor switching on can upset the electrical flow, potentially damaging or straining home-entertainment equipment.

A voltage surge lasts 3 or more nanoseconds. A spike lasts up to 2 nanoseconds. Get a surge protector with a lightning-quick response — look for one with a response time under 1 nanosecond. That will minimize equipment damage. High voltages also enter the house through cable and phone lines. Is your HDTV connected to a cable box? The cable box, and the incoming cable line, must be protected too. That goes for a phone line, too, if you use one for TiVo or your network computer. Get a surge protector with cable and phone inputs-outputs.

Most surge protectors use metal oxide varistors, usually called MOVs, to eliminate unusually high voltages. Some little cheapies burn out after one incident.. Look for a surge protector with an indicator light showing whether the protective mode remains active.

One question to ask is, does the manufacturer offer a connected-equipment warranty that replaces any equipment damaged despite being connected to the surge protector? The higher the warranty, the safer you should feel. You are going to find that the higher the warranty amount the higher the cost. I am not sure but it really seems like these companies are more of an electronics insurance policy than anything else

Don’t get a surge protector that diminishes your home theater’s picture or sound. Those same MOVs that protect your equipment also can screw up its performance. In fact if you have a line conditioner as part of your surge protector then you will see and hear better quality than you now have.

Here are two that offer protection and preserve (or even improve) performance without costing a lot of money:

If refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners or cell phones also affect your home-entertainment equipment, the Max 2 Series could be a savior: It virtually eliminates electromagnetic interference.

When you have this kind of investment it pays to have a surge protector. Your eyes ears and wallet will thank you for it.

The ultimate home theater wiring guide

I have just run across a great home theater article series over at IGN. The first part of the series dales with cables for your home theater. The articles deals with teh following cable types:
RF Coax – that cable connection to our television that we have grown to know for forty years
Composite Video – the basic analog coonection for connecting components to an older cheaper television
S-Video – the basic digital connection from cable box or dvd to mionitor or Television
Component Video – digital connection from dvd to television or monitor
VGA – older but common analog connection from monitor to PC
DVI – for PC to monitor, this is higher end then the above old analog system of VGA
HDMI – Video to a high definition Television

And then on the last page is bridging different cable types for better sound and picture

Digital audio cabling

I know when I first brought home the home theater system I know there was some more shopping to do. The cables that we had that connected the reciever to the DVD player and the reciever or DVD player to the big screen were just not going to do. A quick trip the next week to the local stero store…and a $100 was my ticket to nice clean sound to my eyes and ears.

In the world of digital audio, there are two types of cable to choose from; optical cables which use light to transmit signal and digital coaxial cable. These audio cables will enable your home theater system to transmit digital data between components. This will provide you with superior sound quality over typical RCA audio cables.

How Digital Coaxial Cable Works
Digital coaxial cables employ the same principles as other coaxial cables. The inner conducting layer is surrounded by an outer conductor as well as the rubbery insulating layer outside the cable. The digital signal is sent through the inner conductor as it travels between components. During the course of its transmission, the signal routinely comes in contact with the outer conductor. The outer conductive layer is created with materials that act as a reflector for the signal, thereby bouncing it back off of its surface. The signal will continue to reflect within the confines of inner conductor until it reaches the receiving component.

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