Theater View Systems

In the movie “The Wedding Singer,” Drew Barrymore’s fiance comes home with his latest purchase, a CD player. He’s very happy with his accomplishment because, being the materialistic kind of guy that he is, he’s proud of thee fact that it costs about $700. Of course, the joke is on him and the entire audience knows it, because the average price of a CD player today is only a couple of hundred dollars. Still, in 1985, the year in which this movie is set, I’m sure that $700 for a CD player was a good deal.

All electronics, from computers to alarm clocks, are prohibitively expensive when the first come on the market, but they become more affordable as time goes on. Home theater audio systems have been no different. What was once a luxury item that only people like Donald Trump could afford is now something that tens of thousands of Americans have in their homes. The market has been, and continues to be, flooded with new and cheaper audio systems, especially those of the HTiB, or Home Theater in a Box, variety. But again, as with all electronics, you get what you pay for, and not all of these systems are created equal. When selecting a home theater audio system, there are several factors that need to be balanced, including quality, price, and size.

If you’re in college, don’t have a lot of disposable income, but simply must have a home theater audio system, chances are you’re going to end up with a budget-priced HTiB. These systems, which usually feature small satellite speakers and subwoofers, have an inclination toward spotty sound quality and lack of sheer oomph. To quote Napster in The Italian Job, a budget-priced HTiB will never be “loud enough to blow women’s clothes off.” But while Napster might disapprove, such systems have their upsides. They are, as mentioned, affordable for the average individual, and they also tend to have the advantages of being compact and comparatively easy to assemble.

Or perhaps you own a downtown loft in a high rise somewhere and you want a theater audio system that coordinates with such an ambiance. Some HTiB manufactures offer systems that feature style and are overtly sleek in appearance. A home theater audio system that goes this route will often have very petite satellite speakers, or perhaps “tallboys,” which are very slender but as much as sixty inches tall. The advantage of a style-centric HTiB, in addition to its elegant appearance, will probably include lots of features and simplicity of set up. The disadvantages? Such a system will probably have limited bass output and limited connectivity options.

Some manufacturers are now offering component packages, which are built around separate components. These systems, while forfeiting the traditional HTiB advantage of compactness, usually have the benefits of solid build quality and variety of features. However, as mentioned, such a home theater audio system will probably be fairly large and clunky, which won’t work if you need to fit it into your studio apartment.

Finally, if you want to go cutting-edge, there are wireless HTiB systems that utilize the very latest in audio technology. These are great if you can afford them, since they save space while maintaining high quality. But as mentioned, they can be extremely expensive and in some cases, you’re better off buying separate components.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tabs, and home theater audio. You can find the best marketplace at these sites for guitars, drums, keyboards

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