Home Theater Focus

The Big Show

Streaming Videos To Your Home Theater Setup

Home theater

Many people enjoy watching movies at home and have invested a lot of time and effort in setting up an amazing home theater. These home cinemas can vary widely, from a simple setup in a living room to an elaborate room that can seat dozens of guests. However, they are all designed to make watching movies simple and easy so that you can avoid having to go to a movie theater.

For a long time, though, these home setups were all united by the need to purchase or rent movies in some physical format. From film projectors through VCRs to the latest Blu-Ray players, home theaters all required some sort of physical medium for the movie. The advent of streaming video has changed all of this.

Now, instead of having to drive to the video store to rent a movie, you can just download a movie and stream it right to your television. Doing so has made watching movies even easier than ever. There are many different services that will let you stream movies with ease.

The most prominent video streaming service, of course, is Netflix. This company began as a rent-by-mail video service, and millions of people still receive DVDs in those famous red envelopes in their mailboxes. However, more and more people are subscribing to Netflix just for the video streaming service. The site offers thousands of movies and TV shows, from recent Hollywood hits to obscure documentaries.

Other companies have not been shy about challenging Netflix, however. Amazon long ago moved beyond just selling books. One of their offerings is a video streaming service that offers an enormous library of titles. Many of these titles can be either rented or purchased for a reasonable free. Members of Amazon’s Prime service receive free access to many of these videos as a benefit of their annual membership.

Hulu is another video streaming service that began as a way to watch TV shows online. It still offers many TV shows, but has branched out into movies as well. Many titles are available free to anyone, but a Hulu Plus subscription can be purchased that provides access to even more titles. Cinema buffs should take note that the Criterion Collection is exclusively available to Hulu Plus subscribers.

YouTube is no longer just a way to share funny cat videos. Many full-length movies can be streamed on YouTube, and the company is focused on producing original content as well. TV shows and other material can also be viewed on the site.

With so many streaming options, it is important that you set up your home cinema to give you widest array of choices. Many Blu-Ray players and gaming consoles are compatible with a number of these services. For example, most Sony players have built-in support for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. All you have to do is link your account to your player to access your titles.

When you are purchasing a player, it is therefore important to make sure that it is compatible with your streaming memberships. It can be very frustrating to buy a new player, only to discover that you can’t stream the titles you want to it. However, even if you are a member of these services, you may still discover that some titles cannot be streamed to your TV and can only be watched on a computer.

If you want to make sure that you have the widest access possible to streaming video, setting up a dedicated home theater PC may be the best choice. This is essentially a PC that you use only for watching video. It connects to your TV and the Internet just like a player, but you can configure it exactly how you want it to be. This way, you can make sure that any video can be watched on your TV.

It is also important to make sure that your broadband connection is fast enough to provide you with high-quality video. A 1 Mbps connection is the minimum speed you will want, but the faster the connection, the better. Speeds of 5 Mbps or higher are required for the best picture.

Streaming video is a great way to watch a wide array of movies at home. Set up your home theater to access these services.

Surround Sound As A Technique Of Realism

Surround sound is a method of enhancing the experience of hearing the sound of a movie, music or a broadcast by surrounding the hearer with additional speakers, and providing that sound on a 350 degree basis in a plane that is horizontal. This is different than what is called ‘screen channels’ where the sound comes from the center, front left and right and originates from the front of the listener.

If the surround sound package is installed correctly, the listener will experience a ‘sweet spot,’ or a spot where the sound is at its apex by the very fact that the speakers are arranges to that the sound converges upon that spot as the focal point of the sound quality. In this position, the hearer is able to differentiate sound that comes from different locations of the room, which in a movie makes the action on the screen correspond with the direction from which the sound is coming. This makes the sound quite realistic in reference to the venue and presentation that is being given at the time.

There are various configurations and brands that configure the surround sound setup that cater to differing production methods and techniques that deliver specific sound qualities for directed purposes. Some of the devices that a surround sound application can be use for in addition to movies and audio would be game consoles, personal computers, and other such platforms.

With these types of platforms the sound would typically be generated by the computer, for example, to generate a sound that would correspond with an action on the screen, such as the sound of a tank in battle, to bring a form of realism formerly unknown to a gaming platform. There has also been very significant work done with simulation platforms such as military and public safety learning and instructional programs.

The applications for surround sound in commercial applications move into DVD’s, HDTV, video cassettes, True HD, Blu-ray, HD DVD, and Dolby True HD.

The creation of most of the surround sound applications are done by and for film production companies for movies, and producers of video games. Some camcorders now have the capability, either as a built in capacity or a separate item. Surround sound is being used more in music as an enhancement of the expression of the music.

Pink Floyd, the rock group gave the first ever surround sound concert in 1967 called ‘Games For May’ at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The sound was provided by a custom made quadraphonic system of speakers. In 1978, the first ‘Superman’ film had a technique called ‘split surround.’ This innovation influenced the creation of the 70mm stereo inclusion of a surround technique for ‘Apocalypse Now’ that was the first formal movie theater release with 3 channels in the front of the theater and 2 channels in the back of the theater. These techniques have brought a high degree of realism to movies, when you hear the plane flying behind you and it ends up flying in the front of you.

Surround sound has the sounds being mapped to their own speakers as the case may be, with the handling of the bass sounds being channeled to the loud speakers that handle the bass, usually low frequency subwoofers.

An interesting note concerns the word ‘stereo’ which actually applies to the terminology of surround sound, indicating that they both essentially mean the same thing, only the term stereo is no longer used, unless it means to exclusively describe two channel sound coming from the left and from the right.

Dolby introduced a master of the film ‘We Were Soldiers,’ a Mel Gibson film about Viet Nam, which featured an overhead sound track with speakers on the ceiling of the movie theater.

Amisonics is a technique that uses multichannel mixing to simulate ‘sound in space’ where the sound can come from everywhere, rather than from a horizontal plane in a 360 degree flat circle around the listener. In this case, the sound can be mixed and programmed to be coming from any direction in accordance to the action on the movie screen, making it exceptionally realistic.

While stereo is still extensively used for music, television sets, computers and portable audio players, that is two speakers are used, more sophisticated sound techniques have been, and are used for audio music of higher quality and realism.

Tips For A Great Home Cinema Experience

More and more people are choosing to stay and home and enjoy a movie in the comfort of their own living room rather than heading out to an over-priced movie theater. Setting up a great home theater is easier than ever these days. You no longer have to have a degree in electronics to create an amazing home cinema right in your living room.

With the right equipment, anyone can put together a movie theater at home that rivals the pros. All you need is a little bit of information about what you need. Set aside an afternoon to set up your home theater so you can enjoy movies at home.

A great home theater starts with a great television. These days, HD TVs are widely available, and prices have dropped quite a bit. You no longer have to spend thousands of dollars to get a high-quality television. Instead, you can find affordable ones for well under a thousand dollars in many cases.

Be sure to measure your living room or den before you go shopping. You do not want to come home with a TV that is either too large or too small for the space you have. You also need to think about where you will be placing the TV in your room. Do you want to use a stand or mount it on the wall?

Look for a HD TV if you want the best picture quality you can get, especially if you are going to be watching movies on Blu-Rays. Most TVs that are sold these days are going to be HD already, but this is still something that you should watch out for when you are shopping.

Once you have selected the right television set for your needs, you need something to use to play the actual movies. What you choose will depend on a couple of questions. First, are you only going to be watching movies on DVDs or Blu-Rays, or are you planning on streaming video over the Internet as well? Second, how much time do you want to spend setting up your player?

More and more video is being streamed over the Internet by services such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix. These companies provide a wide range of movies and TV shows, as well as other offerings. By choosing a player that is compatible with these services, you can make sure that streaming to your home cinema is a snap.

However, if you do not plan on subscribing to these services, or if you have an extensive library of movies on disc that you want to watch, you can opt for a player that just plays back discs. These are often a bit cheaper, so doing so can save you some money.

If you are going to be streaming video, you can also choose a wireless player that connects to your existing Wi-Fi network. This will reduce the number of cables that you have to run through your home, and can be a good choice if your home theater is not going to be near your computer.

For those who are more comfortable setting up their own equipment, a dedicated home theater PC can be a good choice. This is a computer that you configure exclusively for watching movies. Setting one up can take longer, but it also means that you can configure it exactly how you want. Upgrading a PC is also a lot easier than upgrading a Blu-Ray player. You can choose your own software, rather than being forced to use the player’s interface.

Connecting the different components of your home theater system together is the final step. Doing so is a lot simpler these days than it used to be. The right cables make the job go very quickly. Be sure to determine which cables you need before you go shopping.

Once your theater is set up, all you need to do is pick a movie to watch. Pop your favorite disc into the player or go to a streaming site to select a movie to download. Then you can just sit back in your favorite chair and enjoy a great movie in your own home cinema!