Home Theater in a Box

I’m a home theater enthusiast.

That’s to say that I love tinkering with my home theater setup, I love improving it when I can, and I love learning about the technology.

I bought my first home theater system in 1997. That’s just about 10 years ago. I can’t believe that. 10 years ago. Looking back at my first setup, I’m amazed at how smart or lucky I was to get a halfway decent system from a box.

Let me explain.

Home Theater Systems in a Box

Recently, people seem to be coming to me in droves asking me how to get started with home theater. And they always ask me what I think about this system or that system… And regardless of what system they’re referring to, the system always seems to come from a box. I don’t let that deter me and I always go ahead and check out the system. But more often than not, I come to the conclusion :

The system sucks!

Where Have the Receivers Gone?

Every home theater package that I see has at its center a DVD player. What the devil is that about?! MAYBE 10 years ago that’d be ok, but now we just have too many things that we can get great audio from! Cable, MP3 players, DVD players, video game systems are just a few examples.

And if you have a DVD player as the heart of your system, seriously – How many things can you hope to plug in at one time?! And even if you ARE able to plug multiple things in, a DVD player probably won’t be able to decode all the surround sound formats that are on DVDs.

Hello!? Why would you want to set yourself for disappointment by getting a system that’s not able to intelligently let you listen to the multi channel audio that’s in everything nowadays? I just don’t get it.

Check out the Connections

I am in no way in expert in home theater especially not at the moment, but I can still give you a great tip when buying home theater systems from a box. First, get a system with a receiver. And before you actually buy it, turn it around and look at the connections. Make sure there’s plenty, and make sure it has component. (Since currently you be hard pressed to find one with HDMI connections).

After that, just enjoy your $300 system or however much it cost. Now that you have some speakers and a receiver, you can update things in stages as you go forward all the while enjoying some fantastic sound!

Any of you looking to get a home theater or already have one? Or maybe a better question, anyone bought a home theater system from a box to be disappointed with it later?

5 thoughts on “Home Theater in a Box”

  1. Somehow I’m not surprised that you are a home theater buff. Well, at least it keeps you from stealing the lil Mack’s toys. LOL. 😉 But seriously, you do have some great points here. Thank you.

  2. Expert? Moi? Thanks Bush!
    Y’know, I’m right with you on this one, here in the UK it is a similar story, you have these boxed systems with the integrated DVD player, usual sub-par speakers and little or NO connectivity at all.

    I’m biding my time right now with some new kit, my PC surround speakers recently blew, and they fed the sound from the Xbox 360 and PS3, so I’m currently running those through the TV speakers *shudder*

    I was tempted by a nice AV amp in a box thing that Samsung sell, but that model has been discontinued so I’m probably going to upgrade my existing receiver to a newer model that supports the bone shaking HD audio codecs, and recycle the still very capable Denon receiver for the videogames.

    As with most markets you get what you pay for, and I think if people spent just a little more time researching things they could get something that will last a lot longer rather than what the salesman in Best Buy/Circuit City (for my US friends) or Comet/Curry’s here in the UK.

  3. @Teeni – That’s funny. It hasn’t stopped him from trying to eat all the wires though! That’s what I get for moving my speakers around so much over the holiday to accommodate guests. *rolling eyes*

    @Pete – Great points. And I’m sorry to hear about the TV speaker thang… I’ve had everything piped through my home theater speakers for about 10 years now, so when I moved my setup to another room (for the holidays) I was temporarily forced to play games w/ the *shudder* TV speakers.

    Jeebus. I don’t know how anyone does it. My wife asks me what’s wrong and I just give her a look… HOW CAN SHE NOT TELL!?!?

  4. We use a receiver that allows for many connections though it is an older one. I have a couple large speakers and that is nice for movie time. I can do surround sound but don’t have all the speakers for that. 🙂

  5. @Beth – You don’t have all the speakers!? Well, I was in that problem once myself. You should keep your eye on sales and pick some cheap ones up when you can. (That’s what I did in the beginning).

    It’s funny that you commented when you did ’cause I have your site open in tab just this second! I like the new picture more than the last (though the clouds I’m kinda iffy about).

    Wait a tic – I should be saying this on your site right? (#);D

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