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What's New in Home Theater?

The Key Components of a Top-Notch Home Theater System

What's New in Home Theater?

Last time we discussed how a 2-channel oriented listener could use their stereo to effectively enhance the experience of regular TV programming or music concert videos.  Today we'd like to talk to anyone interested in learning about the latest developments in the home theater system world that do involve using multiple speakers to create surround sound in your Boston, MA and surrounding area home.

The current state of the art for video is the 4K standard including HDR (High Dynamic Range).  This level of performance is achievable on movies and videos recorded on UHD Blu-Ray discs and by streaming 4K content from the latest Apple TV (G4), Roku Ultra, or Smart TV platforms.  Most scripted TV programming is still done in 2K HD but will look fantastic on sets supporting all the above standards.  In order to get this on your screen, the signal path must be fully in compliance with the HDMI 2.0/ HDCP 2.2 (or better).  That means the source device, the HDMI switch built into your AV receiver, and the TV itself, as well as the HDMI interconnects, have to be "up to snuff.”   Most cable and satellite set-tops are also capable of delivering 4K content.

While the vast majority of home surround sound installations are modeled on the original Dolby/THX 5.1 channel configuration, a lot of what's new is based on "object-based surround" as the idea is called and branded as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

There are many possible versions of this concept, with up to 13.2 channels, but all share the addition of either actual or virtual ceiling speakers to an ear-level 5.1 platform.  This is important...if your primary surround speakers are in-ceiling already, not at or near ear level, the object-based concept will not work as intended.

When properly implemented, these systems increase the localization of surround sound objects more specifically in all dimensions, making the sound experience that much more immersive and involving...which is what film-makers and movie buffs love, and why we have surround systems!

Most receiver brands have entry-level models with 5.1 capability, middle-tier models with 7.2, and upper-end units with 9.2 built-in amplifier channels.  These can be configured in software to decode soundtracks according to the layout of speakers installed in your theater, with the number of ceiling speakers and surround-side or surround-back placements you have.

The ultimate in home theater is achieved with a separate preamp/processor and power amplification, and carefully positioned speakers in a properly proportioned room, with a widescreen 4K video projector and well-made screen.

Whether your goal is the ultimate, a “middle ground,” or the “basic 5”, we at Natural Sound have the skills and products to help you get there!

Give our team a call or fill out our online contact form here to schedule a no-obligation consultation with us. We look forward to assisting you with your upcoming projects.