Home theater is entertainment at home with a bit of excitement thrown in. It is basically a combination of video and audio equipment set up in your home in such a way that you feel you are actually sitting in a movie theater as opposed to in your own living room or family room. Contrary to popular belief, home theater does not have to run you into scores of big bucks. Instead it can be whatever you want to make it. A home theater can consist of as simple or as elaborate a system as you prefer. For example a 32-inch television set coupled with a DVD player and/or a HiFi VCR with a stereo and speakers can equal a home theater experience. Make it whatever you wish.
HDTV programming is gaining strength all of the time, in the form of broadcast, cable and satellite service. Home theater can intensify tremendously with HDTV. For example the audio that is part and parcel of HDTV video comes in surround sound. What this does is it takes complete advantage of the surround sound receiver of HDTV broadcasting.
Although a DVD (which stands for digital versatile disc) is not available in a high-resolution format, it displays what is known as a progressive scan signal. It is a progressive scan which makes the DVD player work to its optimum best. The majority of DVD players have the ability to give off progressive scanning and it is this function that gives the movie watcher an image that is clear, smooth and greatly resembles the quality of a film seen in a movie theater.
As well more and more DVD players in today’s electronics world have the capability of HD-up scaling. This up scaling takes high definition capacities of HD-compatible televisions to greater heights. In addition, DVD continues towards greater advancements. Blu-ray and HD-DVD are both forms of high definition DVD that are up and coming elements of HDTV. All of the benefits that HDTV has so richly to offer when it comes to details seen in visual images could go well beyond what the present technology of DVDs are, in particular in regards to projections on large screens.
In order to set up your own home theater to receive HDTV signals, you must first determine what particular sources are available in your area. HDTV can be obtained from three different sources. The first and most commonly accessible source is over-the-air (otherwise known as terrestrial) broadcasts that can be received by way of an aerial (or rooftop) antenna. In order to make use of this source of HDTV signals for your home theater you must live within a sixty-mile radius of the nearest transmitter and your property must have an unobstructed view for the signals to clearly come through.
HDTV signals can also be transmitted by satellite. This is the second most widely used source. Presently there are only two networks by way of satellite that broadcast HDTV. These are DirecTV and Dish Network. DirecTV offers the channels HBO, Showtime and HDNET, while Dish Network offers the Discovery channel, HBO, Showtime, a 24-hour pay-per-view channel, an HD demo channel and the national feed of CBS HD.
Cable is the third source of HDTV for home theater. Not all cable systems carry HDTV broadcasting as it varies from place to place. Keep in mind an important point, and that is that a “digital cable system” has no association whatsoever with DTV transmitted by way of cable. Digital cable is basically just regular cable that is digitally transmitted but with a multitude of other channels. The closest thing this could compare to is digital satellite. If you want to go this route it is important that you get in touch with your local cable company to find out if it is even possible to do so.
An HDTV tuner will be necessary for your home theater in order to do a variety of functions including grabbing, decoding and converting HDTV signals into a format that a television can recognize. An honest to goodness high-definition television has a tuner that is already built into the console of the set but this is not very common, as the technology for tuners has moved along swiftly and reduced in price much quicker than the technology for displays. The best thing to invest in is an HD monitor (which is a display minus an HDTV tuner) that can, if you like, be combined with a tuner any time you care to do so.