My TV sounds Rubbish!
This is often the starting point for a discussion about home cinema - not because customers want a dedicated home cinema but because they want their TV to deliver quality sound.
Does that mean I need a Home Cinema system?
No. A home cinema installation can start at a simple, inexpensive soundbar for your TV and extend right the way through to a fully-customised, dedicated cinema room with all the bells and whistles to boot.
We cover the spectrum, but spend most of our time in the middle - providing quality solutions on more modest budgets. We should point out that we do avoid the cheap "home-cinema-in-a-box" solutions because, although they are cheap, in our opinion, they offer poor value for money.
In many cases customers just want to improve the sound of their high definition TVs. The wafer-thin construction of modern TVs sadly results in wafer-thin sound. To bring the sound quality up to be on par with the image quality, an external speaker is almost essential. That's why we offer a range of soundbars and soundbases
(the TV sits on top of a soundbase) as well as more traditional Home Theatre systems. All systems can be designed to suit freestanding and wall-mounted televisions.
We frequently find, however, that customers renovating houses use the opportunity to make their main, family TV room have something a little bit more special.
Soundbars and soundbases are a simple, cost effective products that upgrade your TV Sound with minimal wires; most are also equally at home playing music either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi offering a combined music Hi-Fi solution. You can see a range here.
Would you like a dolby with that, sir?
Home Cinema is often referred to as a Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 "surround system". Most films and many TV programmes are recorded in a surround sound format. The viewer is drawn into the action on the screen with the sound of ‘bangs and crashes’ coming from where you would expect to hear them. This is because the speakers surround us and, by nature of having two ears, the human brain can determine the direction from which the sound appears to be emerging. That immersive sound is generated by the surround sound processor sending the signals to the speakers at precisely the right time.
The ‘5’ or the ‘7’ in 5.1 and 7.1 refers to the number of speakers in the system around you. The "point" ‘.1’ or ‘.2’ refers to the number of subwoofers in the setup providing the thunderous bass. A 5.1 speaker system would therefore comprise of a pair of left and right front speakers plus a centre channel speaker between them with a pair of left and right rear speakers and a subwoofer. In a 7.1system there would be two additional speakers along the side walls.
At the heart of a conventional home cinema is an AV Receiver (nothing more than an industry term for home cinema amplifier). It acts as a hub for all of your video sources (Sky, Virgin, Blu-ray Player, and PlayStation) and then provides the sound processing and amplification to drive all the speakers previously discussed.
A traditional/conventional 5.1 system offers the greatest number of options and will deliver the best sound, it will involve cables but these can be hidden in the installation. Simply Sound and Vision also offer wireless 5.1 solutions as an alternative that are not gimmicks and genuinely perform!
What are the options?
There are plenty of different options to consider and that's where we come in. Give us a call and we'll discuss the options with you.
It's important to bear in mind the layout of the room, the uses you make of the room and the desired effects in terms of acoustics as well as aesthetics. Just a few of the many things to consider. Examples here:
- A soundbar on its own. OK, not strictly a home cinema system, but it will provide some sound augmentation and some spacial effects. With a left, right and centre speaker it is effectively a "Dolby 3.0" system (ie without a subwoofer). An example of this is the Sonos Playbar
- A soundbar with a subwoofer added. This is a "Dolby 3.1" system - there are no surround (rear speaker) effects but the subwoofer (the "point-1") will provide significant enhancement of bass sound. An example of this is the Sonos Playbar + SUB
- A soundbar plus subwoofer and rear surround speakers. This is now a "5.1" system. An example of this is Sonos Playbar + Sub + Play:1 surround speakers
- In many cases we install in-ceiling speakers or in-wall speakers for customers who either dislike the look of traditional speakers or have an open plan arrangement where there are no options to surface mount or locate the rear surround speakers. Our design and consultation experience is highly valued by our customers here
- Surface mount, satellite speakers such as the Bowers & Wilkins Mini Theatre speakers are also an option. These are discrete, attractive speakers with a range of subwoofers to match
In summary, the options are extensive and at the risk of repeating ourselves, we reckon the best starting point is to drop us a line
or give us a call.
Projectors and Screens
If you have the space and desire for a dedicated home cinema, then maybe a projector and [drop-down] screen is your preferred option. Although TV screen sizes are ever growing, projectors still offer the largest screen size for the money.