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Home Cinema Buying Guide

home cinema buying guide

Why do I need a home cinema system?

As TVs continue to get thinner, the loudspeakers enclosed in the unit become ever smaller and as a result the sound quality often suffers. By adding a home cinema system to your TV set up, you'll dramatically increase the quality of the sound, to a degree where it's every bit as amazing as the picture quality. Home cinema systems come in all shapes and sizes. Choose from a Blu-ray or DVD home cinema system with various surround sound speaker configurations.

All-In-One Speaker System

A Soundbar is an all-in-one speaker unit that creates a surround sound effect without the need for extra speakers. The plug-and-play nature of the system is increasingly popular with those looking to maximise their home entertainment with minimum fuss. A DVD or Blu-ray player is not normally included.

home cinema buying guide

2.1ch Surround Speaker System

A 2.1ch system lets you experience hassle-free surround sound from two front speakers and a subwoofer. 2.1 surround systems are ideal for small rooms and are very simple to set-up due to their lack of rear speakers. The two front speakers are positioned either side of the TV with the subwoofer to create a deep, powerful sound stage. 


  • Easy to Set-up
  • Ideal for Small rooms
  • A compact alternative to a 5.1ch system


  • Poor surround-sound effect

    2.1ch home cinema

    home cinema buying guide

    5.1ch Surround Speaker System

    5.1ch home cinema systems deliver an authentic surround sound experience from 5 speakers and a subwoofer. The addition of two rear speakers make this system perfect for large sized rooms but requires a little more effort to set-up. The three front speakers are positioned to the left, right and centre of the TV with the subwoofer, while the two rear speakers are placed behind the listener to create a truly immersive surround sound effect.


    • Immersive surround-sound
    • Ideal for Big rooms
    • Customisable Speaker Configuration


    • Concealment of rear speaker wires

      5.1ch home cinema

        home cinema buying guide


        Dolby ProLogic II

        Dolby's original Pro-Logic surround sound system developed in the 1980s used four channels - front left, front right, centre and a mono rear. The rear channel's treble frequencies were also limited. Pro-Logic II is an enhanced version with full range stereo output and greatly improved steering logic. It can be used with any kind of stereo programme - CDs, older film and TV material, games, etc - to give surround sound effects.

        Dolby Digital

        Dolby Digital is a form of digital audio coding which makes it possible to store and transmit high quality digital sound. This audio coding can be used for mono, stereo or multi-channel soundtracks

        Dolby Digital Plus

        Dolby Digital Plus is the next-generation audio format that delivers "better-than-DVD" sound in high-definition media such as Blu-ray (1.7 Mbps). Because it requires less compression and provides more channels (up to 7.1), Dolby Digital Plus also provides new coding efficiencies for future broadcasting (such as HDTV) and streaming of multichannel audio.

        DTS HD

        DTS-HD is the next generation multi-channel audio format designed for High-definition disc media such as Blu-ray. DTS-HD delivers wider frequency response and greater dynamic range for both movies and music. Higher sampling frequencies and greater bit depth mean more realistic sounds and greater dynamic punch. Music and dialogue will sound more clear and accurate, and the dynamic range of action sound effects will be dramatically improved.

        Dolby True HD

        Dolby TrueHD is Dolby’s next-generation lossless technology developed for high-definition disc-based media, such as Blu-ray. Dolby TrueHD delivers tantalizing sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master, (up to 18 Mbps) unlocking the true high-definition entertainment experience available on next-generation discs. When coupled with high-definition video, Dolby TrueHD offers an unprecedented home theatre experience that lets you enjoy sound as stunning as the high-definition picture.


        HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface and offers an easy and convenient way of interconnecting digital audio-video components such as a TV and home cinema. With HDMI, digital signals are not compressed - transmission is direct. And because the signal stays in the digital domain, it's free from the degradation and noise that occurs with analogue signal transmission.

        Optical Digital Out

        This allows you to connect a device to a digital surround sound processor so that you can take advantage of a movie with a Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 soundtrack. A thin fibre optic cable is needed to connect the two.


        A speaker dedicated to producing powerful low frequency sounds - that's bass to you and me! DVDs with Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 soundtracks are encoded with a Low Frequency Effects channel especially for those trouser-flapping explosions, seismic spacecraft, rumbling thunderstorms, etc.


        THX delivers cinema movie experiences with the stunning clarity and detail found in the filmmaker’s studio


        A very popular connection port for transfering digital data inlcuding Images, music and movies. 

        Virtual Dolby

        Provides a surround sound effect while only using two front speakers. Normally found on televisions or All-in-one systems

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