What is a home theater?

Surround DiagramA home theater is a collection of audio/visual (A/V) components and a speaker system designed to reproduce the movie theater experience in the comfort of your own home. The size and the quality of the video screen or TV monitor are important, but a high-quality, properly installed multichannel surround sound speaker system is what really brings a home theater to life!

Multichannel sound, or surround sound, adds dimension, openness and a heightened sense of realism to the soundstage. Surround sound will accurately reproduce all of the direct and reflected sound. Direct sound provides localization cues that can be realistically placed within the soundstage. Reflected sound completely envelops us in the experience.

Here’s what you will need to enjoy a home theater:
Audio/Visual (A/V) Source

Blu-Ray, DVD, Streaming device, Cable/Sat TV, iPod, etc.


HDTV display system

5, 7, or 9 speakers and at least one subwoofer.  Multiple speakers will immerse you in the movie by offering a 3D sound field.


Audio/video receiver or surround-sound preamplifier/processor and amplifiers.

For 5.1 multichannel surround sound, the system must be able to decode Dolby Digital and/or DTS.

For 7.1 multichannel surround sound, the system must have one or more of the following: THX Surround EX, Select or Ultra; Dolby Digital EX or Pro Logic II; DTS-ES or Neo:6; or other 7.1-channel modes.