Rock Your Living Room

Surround Sound For Quality Sound

Watching a movie in a movie theater today is a totally different experience from what it used to be decades ago. In those days movies were in black and white and silent. Today movies are in high definition color, the picture is clear and probably the biggest change is the sound experience.

During the 1930′s, in talking movies, the soundtrack was recorded and played back on a single speaker system positioned behind the screen. Today, theater sound comes at the audience from all directions and the technology that was once only available in movie theaters, is now standard equipment in home entertainment sound systems.

What is Surround Sound?

Monaural sound is recorded onto a single audio track and played on a single speaker. Two-channel recorded sound, referred to as stereo sound, are produced using two microphones to record sound from two sides and listened to on two speakers, one on either side of the head.

Surround sound recordings have taken this a step further by adding additional audio channels. Sound comes from multiple directions. The term ‘surround sound’ refers technically to the multi-channel systems which were originally designed by Dolby Laboratories. The term is now more commonly used as a generic for multi-channel home theater sound systems.

Although special microphones are able to record surround sound from multiple directions, the standard way to produce surround sound is to create a soundtrack in a mixing studio. A number of audio recordings such as dialogue on a movie set, sound effects created on a computer, musical scores, etc. are collected by mixers and editors in a mixing studio, who then decide which audio channel to put them onto.

Early Surround Sound

One of the earliest examples of surround sound was experienced by audiences who watched Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’. The theater was immersed in classical music produced by the sound engineer, William Garity, who recorded separate sections of each orchestra and mixed them into four distinct and separate audio tracks. These were recorded as optical tracks on a reel of film and played through four different speakers placed around the theater. Making use of panning, the music seemed to be moving around the theater, fading melodies from an audio channel and building it up on another. This was an expensive enterprise as the soundtrack had to be played on a separate projector and on an additional receiver and speaker system.

From this system simpler formats were designed, including the famous Cinemascope, most of them using the same basic technology and referred to as theater stereo, or stereophonic sound. Three to five channels were used to drive the speakers behind the screen. The four-channel system became popular in the 1950′s with one speaker on each side of the theater, one in the center and one in the back. Later systems had five channels behind the movie screen and one surround channel. This gave the impression that words spoken by a character on the left of the screen came from the left side of the theater and vice versa for the right side of the screen. Dialogue was channeled to center speakers which served to anchor the sound to the screen. Rear tracks were used for effects such as background noises or voices off screen.

Today’s theaters use digital surround sound which works on a different principle to analog sound. An analogue recording is encoded as long,fluctuating steams of information. Digital recordings encode sound as a series of ones and naughts, exactly like a computer. With this system a lot more information can be recorded on a limited space. The result is crisp, clear and more precise soundtracks.

Theatergoers were introduced to digital surround sound in the movie ‘Jurassic Park’ released in 1993. The technology is referred to as DTS or Digital Theater Systems.

Surround sound on a CD is synchronized with the visuals by a specialized time code located on the film. The code is represented by a series of dashes and dots running along each side of a frame. The information is read by an optical reader which is mounted on the projector. This reader has a light that shines on the film using an LED (Light Emitting Diode). A processor ensures that the codes are synchronized in order that the picture and the sound fits together.

Tips For Setting Up A Great Home Theater

These days, many people prefer to stay home to watch a movie, rather than venturing out to fight the crowds at a movie theater. By setting up a great theater at home, you can recreate the movie-going experience in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Doing so is easier than ever with the latest equipment.

The first thing that you need to do is choose the platform that you will use to play movies. There are two basic choices here. You can buy a dedicated player, such as a Blu-Ray player or a gaming console that plays movies, or you can set up a dedicated home theater PC. Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you are not that technologically apt, or you just want to start watching movies right away, buying a dedicated player is probably the right choice. You do not have to worry about configuring anything or setting up your own player. You can just plug the player in to your TV and start watching movies right away.

If you plan on streaming movies from services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, look for a player that is compatible with these services. This way, you can easily connect your account to your player and stream movies right to your TV with ease. By choosing a Blu-Ray player, you can make sure that you will be able to watch movies on both Blu-Ray discs and DVDs.

However, if you are more technologically savvy and enjoy setting up your own equipment, a home theater PC may be the best choice. This is a PC that is used solely for playing movies and streaming video. In many cases, these PCs are a lot more powerful than store-bought players. You can also configure them to your specifications so that you will know that they will do exactly what you want.

Another great advantage of a dedicated theater PC is that it is easy to upgrade. Players that you buy off the shelf can be difficult to upgrade, and it is often easier to just buy a new one. However, doing so can be expensive. With a dedicated PC, upgrading is a snap, and is much cheaper than buying a whole new player.

One further advantage of a dedicated PC is that you can easily watch DVDs and Blu-Rays from around the world, no matter what their region code may be. Most players are region locked and will only play discs from a single region. A PC can easily be configured to play discs from any region, so you can watch movies from other countries with ease.

If you do set up a PC for your home viewing experience, you will also need an interface program. This is the software that you will use to select your movies. Look for a program that is powerful and compatible with many different streaming services and types of discs. Try out several choices to see which one works best for you.

After you have chosen your player, you need to choose a screen to watch movies on. Many people automatically go for the largest screen they can find, but this is not always the right choice. You need to pick a screen that is properly sized for your room. Be sure to measure your space and take this information with you to the store when you are selecting a screen.

Another option is to purchase a HD projector. These can be found quite inexpensively these days, and they produce a superior image to a television. However, you need to make sure that you can get it dark enough in your home. Of course, if you have enough in your budget, you can use both a television and a projector for viewing movies.

Once you have the components of your theater system in place, you just need to connect them up in the proper fashion. Doing so is a snap these days. Be sure to choose the right HDMI cables for your system so that you can get the best picture possible.

Setting up a great home theater system is easier than ever before. By doing so, you can enjoy the movie theater experience in your own home.

Why Should You Consider A Home Cinema?

If you are thinking about working on a home cinema for your home, you may be unsure that it is a good idea. After all, it seems to be something that is a luxury, and you might not be sure you want to invest in a home cinema. However, here are a few reasons why you would be smart to put a home cinema inside your home.

Safety

First, it’s important that you think about safety. With the headlines in the news lately, it can be a little nerve-wracking to head to a commercial cinema. You can avoid those nerves by having a good home cinema system put into your home. From the comfort of your own home, you can feel safer and more confident that everything is going well.

Money Saved

This is perhaps the most beneficial feature of a home cinema. When you think about it, going to a matinee can cost you around seven dollars. If you do not attend a commercial matinee, the price goes up. After you pay for the ticket, you also have to contend with astronomical prices for refreshments.

However, when you stay at home and have a home cinema, you can have proper snacks that taste delicious and cost lest to buy. Not only that, but you won’t have to spend as much money to watch the film. This can be especially helpful when you consider that you may want to have a lot of people over to watch a film. For example, if you show a child’s film for your child’s birthday, the cost will be substantially lower if you have everyone watch it in your home theater.

Privacy

Whatever kinds of films you hope to watch in your home cinema, the privacy that you get from playing films at home cannot be paralleled. Knowing that you can watch whatever kinds of films you want can be a relief.

Flexibility

Of course, when you can start your film at any time, it becomes much easier for you to avoid commercial cinemas. The flexibility inherent in a home cinema cannot be matched by commercial cinemas, making home cinemas particularly useful for those who have life situations that make arriving on a certain time difficult.

For instance, if you have very young children, or are a caretaker for someone in your family, it may be much simpler to have a home cinema where you can play a film at whatever time you want, without thinking about what time the commercial cinema may start the film.

Comfort

It is of course comfortable to be able to watch movies at home. This can be a great way for you to relax and rewind. Sometimes, when someone goes to the commercial cinema, it can feel that strangers are not welcome movie-watching companions. When you watch a film in your own private cinema, you can avoid the person who doesn’t turn off their mobile phone. You can avoid those who are talking loudly. You can avoid waiting in long lines to get your popcorn. A home cinema allows you to watch a movie in a comfortable way.

Choice

This can be the most fun part of having a home cinema. You may want to see the latest movie releases, but what if you also want to see old favorites? Many times commercial theaters will only play an old title when there is an anniversary, but when you have a home cinema you can watch whatever film you want to see. Not only that, but you can see it in the same theater-like quality you may see a current release in. This is one of the best things about having a personal home cinema.

Now that you have a few reasons that a home cinema can be a great thing for you and your family, you can start searching for the particular configuration you want. Start shopping for the screen size you want, and start looking for all the features you hope to include. When you finally get your home cinema right, you’ll realize that a home cinema brings your home a sort of excitement that you had not expected. Get ready to enjoy movies again!