We’ve all enjoyed those trips to the cinema where the film has blown us away – the surround sound makes the action zip around our ears, and the big screen visuals wowed us with their colours and quality.
The cinema experience is one that absorbs and takes us into another world for a hugely enjoyable couple of hours.
Then a few months later we watch the film again at home, but are disappointed with the somewhat flat experience of our television trying it’s hardest to replicate our local cinema!
Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be this way! Getting your own home cinema surround sound system is very easy, and surprisingly good value.
Making the right choice
Home cinema is basically very simple.
You need a television, a DVD or Blu-ray player, an amplifier and surround sound speakers – everything that is shown in the image on the right. You’ve probably got the television and player already so it can make the process easier, but there is an important decision you need to make first which will determine which is the best option for you.
To get set up as quickly and easily as possible, you need an all in one system – also often called a home cinema in a box.
With these systems you get an amplifier unit with a built-in DVD or Blu-ray Player, and all the speakers and cables you need. You then simply unpackage it all, position the speakers, plug it all in, and enjoy.
There are plenty of options too – DVD or high-definition Blu-ray systems, convenient systems with wireless speakers, or only 2 speakers, and others with built-in Wi-Fi, and iPod docks – the choice is yours.
Prices start from around £150 for a branded quality system, right up to about £1500 at the top end. If you want more information about buying one, view our buyers guide which should give you all the information you need.
Know what system you want? Use these quick links:
If you want more flexibility with your system, or if you have a Blu-ray player that you want to use, then separates are the way to go.
All you need is a home cinema amplifier, a set of surround sound speakers, and your existing DVD or Blu-ray player. This way gives you the freedom to choose the speakers that are right for you.
The latest amplifiers are high-definition and 3D ready and have all the connection options you’re ever likely to need.
The setting up is pretty simple too, and although separates are more expensive, they are likely to last you longer. They are also more flexible allowing you to replace players or amps separately, and are especially good if you need to connect two or more players or consoles to get surround sound whilst you’re gaming too.
Build your own system:
If you’ve got the funds, and want the ultimate home theatre experience, then you may find that even these options are not right for you, and this is where a custom AV installer will come in. There are many professional audio-visual companies around the UK that will help you specify, and install your own cinema system – whether you want a dedicated cinema room, or a ‘stealth system’.
The most important thing is to find a company that you can trust and work with so you get the cinema of your dreams.
We hope this home cinema buyers guide has been helpful, and whichever way you choose, you’ll never regret buying your home cinema system – it will give you years of enjoyment and pleasure – just don’t put off buying it!