Home Theater Madness

A female HDMI connector

Image via Wikipedia

High definition television stands among the hottest of the new technology trends in consumer electronics. My current receiver is ten years old and lacks many of the modern features of today’s choices such as HDMI, 7.1 channel surround, or HDMI standby pass-through. Much comparison shopping, planning, and analysis has gone on in my spare time to determine what receiver and which features to get. I am using the television’s optical out to connect to the Outlaw 1050’s input, in the mean time. In this configuration, every source that is on the screen can be heard on the surround speakers. This setup was supposed to temporary but I realized some things about home theater that in 15 years of using, I learned I don’t have right.

Today’s receivers are feature rich with a myriad of options to choose from. I can’t remember in all the years I have had surround sound, changing the mode settings or playing with the DSP. I know I played with those settings when the receiver was new. The receiver has been solely used to pump sound out of the speakers and lots of sounds from music to movies, and even computer games.  I rarely ever used the fancy sound processing settings in the receiver.

I was shopping for a receiver that makes the experience as easy to use as the Weebly website builder makes creating e-commerce and web sites. Yamaha has a model with a spectacular on-screen display that gets very good reviews for its ease of use. I have found the only one feature I would like to have is iPod integration.  Plugging an iPod into a three-foot analogue cable to get sound is annoying when your dancing around the home. Yamaha’s GUI brings the iPod to the screen for easy navigation. Apple provides their Airport Express adapter to get music on your amplifier, and other vendors offer their own solutions to help you get your music distributed from the computer to other places.

My final decision for the home theater is to plug both the satellite receiver and the DVD player into the television leaving the television output connected into the receiver. The television has so many inputs that it can function as the receiver making it on-screen switching effortless and in that configuration, the pathway to surround sound would be to just turn on the amplifier and set it to Video 1 setting. Updating to a HDMI capable modern receiver is possible someday, but I am not in a big hurry. The content is the reason for the home theater in the first place. The screen is big enough at fifty-two inches, provides a movie theater like experience in my small living room, and the speakers fill the room with nicely balanced sound. I encourage those of you to stop obsessing over the technobabble and start watching the content with your friends and family which is the way movies were meant to be watched.

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About David Crumpton

Computer Enthusiast
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