Choosing the right Home Cinema

Choosing the right Home Cinema
The home cinema allows you to recreate at home a real miniature and private cinema room. The quality of the image and sound are there and the different devices that make up the home cinema allow an exceptional rendering. Discover our buying guide to find the home theater of your dreams.

The elements of home cinema

A classic home cinema includes:

  • a television screen or video projection system;
  • an amplifier;
  • a player (DVD or Blu-ray);
  • a central enclosure;
  • two front speakers.

Optional :

  • a subwoofer (active or passive);
  • two surround speakers.

Image: televisions

  • LCD screen

An LCD screen consumes less energy than a plasma and is often less bulky. In contrast, the image tends to be more pixelated and the contrast and brightness of lower quality. Depending on the viewing angle, there is also a loss of contrast.

  • Plasma screen

The advantages of the plasma screen in the context of a home cinema are numerous: natural colors, very good brightness, an image less pixelated than on an LCD screen, a viewing angle of more than 160 °. Be careful, however, a plasma screen is still more expensive than an LCD screen, and its power consumption is approximately 20% higher. But it is this type of television which remains best suited to home cinema use.

Regarding the screen resolution, we recommend a minimum resolution of 1366 x 768. For the screen size, it all depends on your budget and the size of your room. And of course, the more you increase the size of the screen, the more pixels the image has. In the context of a home theater, a 32-inch screen is a minimum to enjoy a large picture.

For luminance, choose a screen with a minimum value of 1 cd / m².
For more information, find our buying guide on plasma and LCD screens.

Image: projectors

  • Overhead projector

An overhead projector is a large, one-piece screen, thinner than a CRT television and deeper than a plasma or LCD. The overhead projector is a very good choice as part of a home cinema installation because it offers a large image, for a very reasonable price. Note, however, that this type of device is often used, there are hardly any new ones. One of the major drawbacks remains the life of the lamp (around 8 hours).

  • Projectors

Ideal to have the feeling of being in a real cinema room. The video projector projects the image on a screen or a wall and allows you to view a film in very large format.

There are several types of video projectors:

  • the LCD video projector, which remains the cheapest on the market and which is mainly intended for computer use (PowerPoint, etc.);
  • the tri-LCD video projector, with excellent value for money and a good image quality;
  • the DLP-DMD video projector, which is still quite expensive but offers very good image quality;
  • the tri-tube video projector, one of the most expensive, with an excellent image and a very good contrast.

Check that the resolution of your projector is at least 1024 x 768 pixels.
Consult our buying guide to find your projector.

Image: DVD or Blu-ray player

The DVD player has become standard in home theater installations. Exit the old VCR of yesteryear, the era is on DVD, undeniably. Certain selection criteria must be respected when purchasing your reader. You can start with a first player with 24-bit audio converters with 192 kHz sample rate, and 10-bit video converters with 54 MHz sample rate.

Your player must also be able to read several media: DVD, DVD-R / RW, DVD + R / RW, VCD, DVD-audio, DIVX, MP3, WMA, SACD ...
In terms of "little extra", the "Progressive Scan" function and the DCDi Faroudja Processing make it possible to obtain a more precise, clearer image and broadcast an image of astonishing clarity.

In terms of connection, three scenarios arise:

  • you have a classic cathode-ray television set: a simple SCART socket will suffice;
  • you have a plasma screen, a video projector or an LCD screen equipped with a YUV input: choose a player with YUV output, called Component (represented by three RCA connectors red, green and blue);
  • you have a plasma screen, a video projector or an LCD screen equipped with an HDMI or DVI audio / video input: opt for a player with an HDMI output.

The Blu-ray DVD player, on the other hand, offers unrivaled picture and sound quality. Its price is still a little higher than conventional DVD players. And the Blu-ray DVD player cannot play all formats. For example, some people are unable to play movies recorded in DivX, a popular video compression format. Not all of them read JPEG (for photos) as well as MP3 or WMA (for music).

We generally recommend the purchase of a Blu-ray DVD player when the customer already has a high-end television (no need to purchase a Blu-ray DVD player on a conventional cathode-ray tube television, which does not support HD) .

Sound: speakers and subwoofer

The speakers will allow you to obtain high quality sound. Several speakers make up your sound installation:

  • the central speaker, responsible for the restitution of the dialogues;
  • the two front speakers which transcribe the atmospheres and the music;
  • surround speakers which bring dynamics to the sound and diffuse it in space;
  • the subwoofer which will support your speakers in bass sounds.

You can opt for a basic stereo system called 2.1 with two speakers and a subwoofer, or a 5.1, 6.1 and even 7.1 system, with 7 speakers, two in front, a central, two on the sides and two behind and a subwoofer. bass, for a sound worthy of a movie theater.
It all depends on the sound effect you are looking for, the space in your viewing room ...

You can choose from compact, built-in, bookshelves, columns ...
The subwoofer, meanwhile, is responsible for reproducing the deepest sounds that your speakers cannot reproduce at high volume. Opt instead for an active subwoofer that can take over from your main amplifier.

Consult our buying guide to choose your speakers.

Sound and images: the amplifier

It is the heart of the home cinema installation, it makes it possible to amplify sound and video. It receives the audio signal and distributes it to the various speakers. The amplifier also allows, and above all, to decode the digital sound of your DVD player in dolby digital and DTS.

The amplifier will then feed the speakers and the subwoofer. Please note, not all speakers are compatible with all amplifiers, ask for more information.

The “perfect” home cinema?

If you want to bring together the best of the best of each element that makes up a home theater, here is our selection:

  • a plasma screen;
  • a Blu-ray DVD player;
  • a 7.1 speaker kit (7 speakers and an active subwoofer) which transcribe a “warm” sound;
  • a "dry" amplifier;
  • make sure you choose very good quality connectors (preferably "Gold" because it is one of the best conductive). So do not skimp on this point, because poor connections could create loss of audio and video quality despite the acquisition of your "perfect" home cinema.
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