Home Theater Systems for Small Rooms

Most of us don’t own a twenty room villa, but have to confine ourselves in smaller spaces. The living room is often home to computers, tables and closets - and so cannot fully be used for a home theater system. That is the reason many people hesitate to buy a home theater system, fearing that their small room will not have enough space for it.

The good news is that compact systems are growing in quality and availability. You have to take your space restrictions into account when buying a home theater system, but provided you do that you can build a very successful system even in a smaller room.

There are two important considerations, when you need to build a theater system for small rooms: you need to consider the sound system and speaker locations, and how large a television set can you fit into the room.

If you simply cannot find room for a surround speaker system, you might want to consider buying stereo home theater speakers instead. Sacrificing surround sound is not such a big deal, if you buy stereo speakers of good quality. It is still recommended to find room for a subwoofer or bass sounds will be lacking.

The decision of a television set is also important. You might need to buy a smaller set, but that is not a real problem in a small room: you will be watching it closer anyway. You should probably buy a flat panel television, as that will save you some room.

Designing a home theater system for a small room has some limitations, but the end result can actually be very good with today’s components. What little must be sacrifices in quality can often be saved in money, so it is also good for those of us with budget constraints.

Home Theater for the Family

The natural place for a home theater is often the living room. The problem with it is that everyone in a family loves to watch television. In fact, in many homes it is the one room that is most often used by the family. However, it is likewise obvious that everyone doesn’t always agree on what is it that should be played.

Among adults such disagreements can be readily sorted, but when the children get involved it becomes more difficult. The perfect solution is another home theater system for the kids. That one does not have to be as high quality, in fact you can build it even on a budget. Another way is to buy a new primary home theater system, while letting the children have the old one.

While some may think that the investment of a second home theater, especially one for the kids, is a rather sizable investment, there are actually many good side effects. What would you do, if your living room television set breaks down and you don’t have a second one? If you have a second home theater system, you have spare parts to use if something does not work.

The thing to remember when selecting a home theater for your children is that they are not nearly as demanding as adults when it comes to quality. They do not need high definition quality for either picture or sound in their system.

The peace and quiet that a second home theater system can bring to your household is well worth the minimal investment this system should require. There are very few greater gifts you can give yourself than a few hours a week of uninterrupted harmony within the household, with the freedom to be entertained.

Building a Home Theater on a Budget

Many of us tend to spend a lot of time in front of our television sets. Some even go overboard with it. Since we spend so much time watching television it makes sense that we put some money into a home theater system, in order to get audio and video of the best possible quality with your entertainment.

However, most of us consumers also live under the constraints of a budget. As competition emerges along with newer technologies, we hopefully see a downward trend in the prices of existing products. This is good news, if you are willing to be content with last year’s technology. You can actually save thousands on your home theater system.

Used Systems

Another great thing about the home theater market is that the technology is not evolving all that much. You can get an older model for a fraction of the cost you would have paid for the system had you purchased it brand new, and the quality will still be good enough for the average consumer.

If you are budget conscious or are going through a budget famine you will also find that there are some outstanding options available through second hand markets, like eBay. Assuming the product works, there’s very little harm in it having been used for a year of two. And there are many enthusiasts who are selling theirs after only a couple of years of use.

Part by Part

Another great method for buying a home theater system on a budget is to build it one piece at a time. If you have a television set that works, you could start by buying a quality DVD player. Even if you choose a more expensive model, it won’t cost nearly as much as a complete home movie theater.

Next, buy a set of home theater speakers. Preferably a surround system of at least six speakers. With those two components your home theater audio system is complete. Then there’s the video site to improve; either an HD ready television set or a movie projector should do the trick. And voilĂ , you have yourself a quality system.

If you distribute the cost over a longer time span you are most likely able to get away with the expenses, regardless of whether your personal budget is really not that great. Even if it takes you a couple of years to build the complete setup, you will enjoy better audio from day one and still have a great system in the end.

Stay Informed

Many of us are on a budget and must do sacrifices in quality. The good news is that if you take your time to check out and compare many home theater systems, you will become an informed consumer. This is the best gift you can give yourself when shopping around, and that will ensure you get a great system.

In the end, the goal is to get the best possible home theater for the least amount of money possible. By learning about your options you will know whether or not you got a good deal on the home theater you bought. Be persistent enough and you will be rewarded with a great home theater system for your efforts as a consumer.

After all, you’re doing this on your own you won’t have to worry about contractors, labor and surety bond cost. Doing it on your own is an easy way to save money when building a home theater.

In the end, the goal is to get the best possible home theater for the least amount of money possible. By learning about your options you will know whether or not you got a good deal on the home theater you bought. Be persistent enough and you will be rewarded with a great home theater system for your efforts as a consumer.

Onkyo HT-S907 Review

Onkyo HT-S907 is a high end home theater system with an impressive array of features to back up its price tag. It comes with an A/V receiver, six disc DVD changer and a 7.1 surround speaker set. Its features are complemented by an impressive look.

Home theater audio systems are Onkyo’s specialty, and that can readily be seen from the high quality of their home theater repertoire, of which HT-S907 is a prime example. Their slogan “Imaginative sight & sound - enter a new dimension” might as well be a slogan for the HT-S907 home theater system, because it is an imaginative whole that brings the concept of a home theater on par with the idea of a movie theater.

Audio Features

The stylish 7.1 surround speaker set is the visible part of HT-S907’s great home theater audio system. The receiver supports Dolby Digital, Dolby EX and several DTS surround modes. Its audio connectivity is also great with multiple types of audio inputs and an optical digital output.

Unlike some setups, HT-S907 can provide quality for its features. Sound quality is great all around and definitely the best part of the whole system. All parts of the home theater speaker set are able to maintain balance in all but the most difficult circumstances.

Video Features

Onkyo HT-S907 has comprehensive video features, including full HD support and progressive scan technology. The video connections of the DVD player include HDMI, S-video and composite outputs. The addition of aspect ratio control (absent in most home theater systems) is also a positive aspect.

Unlike with its audio system, however, the results are not quite as great as the features. Though enough for most home theater users, the picture quality has some flickering at higher resolutions. For the majority of users this isn’t an issue, but is you have a large television set and are planning to watch HDTV it comes down to your requirements.

All in all Onkyo HT-S907 is a great home theater system for those on a medium to high budget for one. The great audio features make up for the slight video problems. If you are not a techie you might be interested in a more simple system, though, since some users have reported problems in installing it.

What Does HD Ready Mean?

HD ready is a label you can find in various video equipment, like television sets and DVD players. It refers to the ability of the product to handle high definition video. High definition (HD) video is a video standard of higher resolutions than those supported by older standards.

A display must be capable of resolutions of 720 to 1080 vertical lines for it to be considered HD ready. Such displays include computer screens, video projectors and modern television sets. Old television sets are only capable displaying video at a resolution of less than 720 vertical lines.

There are different labels used in high definition compatible video equipment, depending on the modes the product supports. Simply ‘HD ready’ means that at least the minimum resolution of 720 vertical lines is supported, while ‘Full HD’ and ‘HD 1080′ both refer to the resolution of 1080 vertical lines, which is the maximum of the standard.

Sometimes the resolution is followed by additional information. The letters ‘p’ and ‘i’ refer to progressive and non-progressive (interlaced) modes, respectively. A slash followed by a number tells the frequency. Therefore, 1080i/60 means that a piece of equipment supports resolution of 1080 vertical lines of interlaced video with a frequency of 60 frames per second.

For a video system to be able to display high definition video content, all products in the system must be HD ready. This includes the display unit, the source (DVD player or television broadcast) and all the connections in between.

When building a home theater system, you must remember to take care to find out that every piece of equipment is HD ready. Also the mode matters, so for best possible effect all the parts of the system should be full HD ready.

What Is High Definition Video?

High definition video refers to a number of video modes of higher resolution than normal video resolution in earlier standards. The term high definition is often abbreviated HD. HD content has a wide range of applications from HD movies and television broadcasts to HD video games.

In order to view high definition video content, one must have a display system capable of high resolution. These include computer screens, HD ready television sets and movie projectors. In order to be considered HD ready a display system needs to have a resolution of at least 720 vertical lines.

The actual video modes in HD standards range from 720 to 1080 vertical lines. The video may be either progressive or interlaced (non-progressive), which are labeled for example 720p or 720i respectively. Different frequencies can also be supported, and shown in labeling in the format 720p/50 for a frequency of 50 frames per second.

In addition to the display unit, the video source must also be high definition compatible. This means that to watch high definition movies, the DVD player must also be HD ready. Similarly, to enjoy the benefits of a HD television set, the television broadcast must be in high definition format.

For a good home theater system, all the parts of the system need to be able to handle high definition video. This includes not only the above mentioned DVD player and television set, but also all the connections used between them. The source media must naturally also be in a format of HD resolution.

Philips Home Theater System HTS3357

There are several Philips home theater systems of high quality available. One of those is Philips HTS3357 DVD home theater system. It is a package of a high definition DVD player and 5.1 surround speakers for European consumers.

Video Features

The home theater system has high definition video support 1080i, which means up to 1080 lines of vertical resolution with non-progressive scan. This means that coupled with an HD television set, HTS3357 can display high definition video at a great precision that should satisfy the needs of even a very wide television set.

HTS3357 DVD player can play DVD and CD video discs, but also data DVDs and CDs. It supports DivX and MPEG coded video from data discs. DivX is one of the most used codecs for video distributed online.

Audio Features

The HTS3357 has 5.1 surround home theater speakers. Dolby Digital and Pro Logic II ensure surround sounds for any video content, even those with only stereo audio included. Sounds are enhanced with a class “D” digital amplifier.

The Philips home theater audio system can also play music from DVD or CD discs - both audio discs and MP3 or WMA data discs. It also has an USB connection for direct MP3 player plug in, and an “MP3″ line in for incompatible models. This ensures that you can play all your music through the speakers.


Both the video and the audio features are enough for most home theater designers. Surround speakers and high definition video support are a must for serious home theater systems and Philips HTS3357 comes with both of them. The connectivity is also very good, and the DVD player can be plugged in to almost and television set or home theater projector without problems.

The installation is also very straightforward and the user guide is helpful for common problems, but the user interface has some glitches. Video quality is as good as should be expected from the features. Audio is a bit lacking on the mid range sounds, but enough for the average consumer’s movie experience.

The best sides of the Philips home theater system are the ease of installation and every day use for DVD movies and television. The mid range price leaves it a very good investment for most consumers building a home theater.

Selecting a Home Theater DVD Player

If you do not yet have a DVD player, there’s a whole world that you are missing. The difference in video quality between old VHS players and home theater DVD players is too great not to notice. Even if you already have a DVD player, it may not be the optimal choice for a home theater system.

There are some very important features that you need to know about, before you purchase a home theater DVD player. If you have bought a model already, you need to check that it fulfills all you need from it, or you might need to buy a new model instead.

Audio Capabilities

First you need to check out the audio output of the DVD player, and compare it to your home theater speakers. If you have surround speakers, the DVD player needs to have multi-channel audio output.

If your speakers are for example 5.1 speakers, the DVD player should have capability for the same type of output. That’s why it is often advisable to buy a home theater audio system, where the DVD player comes with compatible surround speakers. Remember to test them for sound.

Video Capabilities

There are many different video connections that are used these days, and you need to make sure your television set or home theater projector (whichever you use) can input the type of video that the DVD player outputs.

Common video connections used include composite video, SCART, S-video and component video. Of these composite video and SCART connections are older technology (though SCART can carry also RGB signals). It is often recommended to use component video, because of the better picture quality.

Remember that a home theater DVD player is often the heart of a home movie theater, and responsible in part for both audio and video. Consider the options carefully, and make sure everything in your system is compatible. If you are unsure, buy a package with both a DVD player and speakers.

Home Theater Furniture

Even with top quality home theater audio systems and a good projector, you are not quite in a movie theater. Your sofa or living room chair may be good enough to watch the news from, but will it feel comfortable after a three hour movie? Those who really want to experience a full home movie theater experience will, after buying audio and video equipment, look into special home theater furniture.

Basic home theater furniture such as home theater chairs and a television cabinet are almost required for a home theater set up. Other furniture may enhance the home theater set up further, but the home theater chairs and a television cabinet are two of the basic home theater furniture that you may need. Other home theater furniture may be added depending on the size of your living room.

If you use a home theater projector instead of a standard television set, you also need to carefully consider the screen, where the image is displayed. You either need a white wall, or more often a canvas. In such a situation, positioning your home theater furniture is very important.

Also the positioning of home theater speakers is important, when considering furniture choices. For optimal surround effect, a five or more speaker home theater audio system needs space. The speakers should always be positioned around the listener. For this home theater chairs are better than a sofa next to a wall.

No matter the set up, specialized home theater furniture will further enhance the whole movie viewing experience. Anyone seriously building a home theater should also consider buying new furniture. Nevertheless, remember that your home theater audio system and video equipment are more important, so don’t save in them simply to get furniture.

Home Theater Projectors

The movie theaters use them, so why wouldn’t you? I mean, of course, video projectors. Many home theater systems are quite close to a theater experience even without one, but surely a home theater projector will make it even better.

If the room you are planning to use for your home movie system is large enough, it will not only require a better home theater audio system with multiple home theater speakers, but you may need to consider replacing your television set. In a large room, especially if many people should be able to watch movies, a home theater projector may be what you need.

Video projectors used to be very expensive, but fortunately that is no longer always the case. You can ofter get a home theater projector for only a little more than you would pay for a large television set. But remember to avoid the cheapest models, because they will not always have good enough video quality.

As with any piece of your home theater system, you should test the projector extensively before buying it. If possible, you should test it in the actual room that it will be operated in. Therefore, try to find one that you can return, if you are not satisfied with the quality.

The main components of any home theater are the audio system and the visual part. The video is usually handled by a television set of large enough size, but there is an alternative in home theater projectors. A good projector can be a much better choice than a television set, and need not be much more expensive.