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Home Cinema Surround Sound Systems Review

Updated on August 16, 2010

Home Theatre

Seems a little over the top for something that's going to sit in your living room, doesn't it?

Perhaps a few years ago, it might, but today with so many restrictions it seems the logical choice.

No more would you have to sit in cramped surroundings while idiots around you scrunch up their popcorn bags, cough in the wrong places or just annoy the hell out of you.

You don't even need to have an HD TV, although that would really help.

Surround Sound

Surround sound was for me a real eye-opener.

I had been used to having stereo, which I pumped through my hi-fi, but surround sound?

This isn't just multiple speakers either. This is completely separate channels that can make the sound of gunshots and ricocheting bullets sound like it's really happening in the room. The sound of someone even breathing behind you or a helicopter flying from one corner of the room to another.

It all adds to the realism and after a very disappointing visit to the cinema to find myself sitting on one side and unable to get a decent experience, I made it my mission to get the home kit.

Samsung HT-C555 5.1 inch - 1000W Home Theatre System Half TB Wireless Rear Ready Compatible with SWA-5000 Module
Samsung HT-C555 5.1 inch - 1000W Home Theatre System Half TB Wireless Rear Ready Compatible with SWA-5000 Module

Home Theatre Speakers

How do they work?

Well for any sound system from stereo upwards needs an amplifier for each 'channel'. It's not just a case of filling your room up with speakers.

'Home Theatre' or 'Home Cinema', usually comes as 5.1 or more recently 7.1. This means each system has five or seven 'directional' speakers and one 'sub bass' or 'sub woofer'.

I haven't had the opportunity to try 7.1, but in 5.1, there are the following speakers:

  1. Front left
  2. Centre
  3. Front right
  4. Rear left
  5. Rear right

and the point one speaker is the sub woofer.

The sound signal is sent to each of the speakers via the amps having first been split into each of the appropriate channels through the Dolby Decoder - nowadays usually in DTX.

Dolby is the industry standard for sound systems, starting out making noise reductions filters for tape decks, but now more famous for the surround sound technology.

This would mean that in a home cinema surround 5.1 sound system there would be one amplifier for each of the five directional speakers and one amplifier for the sub woofer.

There is only one sub woofer as this is omni-directional and apparently only needs to be there to make the floor shake!

LG HT304SU 5.1ch DVD Home Cinema System
LG HT304SU 5.1ch DVD Home Cinema System

Hate cinema?

Cinemas used to be a night out, but nowadays, I'm too old to spend nearly three hours with my knees round my ears and trying to remain calm as people around me mutter, chatter and otherwise upset my viewing pleasure.

I have long wondered why it is that nearly all cinema packaging is so loud. The sweets, popcorn and other packet items seem to rattle and scrunch at about 120db and why is it that I always seem to get the seat behind the woman with the incredible tall hairdo?

All things considered, I'm just a grumpy old man whose enjoyment of cramped spaces has long since ridden off into the sunset.

Home theatre or Home cinema or surround sound allows you to have almost the same experience without the interruptions from others; the getting up as some irresponsible idiot decides right in the middle of the movie that he or she, wants to go to the toilet.

Love Home Theatre

Okay, so you've got your DVD or Blu-Ray and you're all ready to go.


Someone knocks on the door.

Now if this was a cinema, alright, no-one would be knocking, but then, if you wanted to go to the toilet, you'd have to miss several minutes of a film and probably upset umpteen people in the process.

This is where Home theatre, home cinema or surround sound comes into its own.

If you run out of beer, tea, coffee, biscuits, or anything else, or need to spend a penny - even tuppence - then all you have to do is pause. No problem.

You don't have the unfortunate disadvantage of having to sit in something that's only really comfortable if you're less than five feet five inches tall and then only if the seat in front of you is unoccupied.

Oh no. With Home theatre, home cinema or surround sound, you can have your favourite seat.

You just gotta love that!

Home Cinema systems from Nicks store at Amazon

Expensive? Not necessarily

With every purchase there is always the thought that if you'd spent just a few quid more, you could have had that or this or something else, but in the end you pays your money and takes your choice.

Blu-Ray obviously gives you the highest resolution and with 3D becoming more widely available, the new systems only add to the experience.

But if you're one who like me, has limited cash flow, you can get almost as good from a DVD home theatre, home cinema or surround sound set up.

Prices can start from as little as £50, but there you'd be lucky to get anything more than enhanced stereo, but from just over £100, you can get the full 5.1 experience.

The more you pay, the more features your system will be likely to have and don't worry about it being 1000 watts, you're not likely to use all of them - well not without blowing the windows out of your lounge anyway - but it makes the sound at low volume much clearer. That's a trick they've learnt from high-quality hi-fi's.

You really need one that accepts a digital input as then you can hook up your game console too and really go to town. The lower priced ones don't seem to carry those features, but the difference between doesn't seem that much.

Still, it's down to you to know your budget, look into what you're getting for what your spending and make the decision that way.

I hope you give it a try. You won't be disappointed.


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    • Nick B profile image

      Nick B 7 years ago from Normandy, France

      We've had two of these systems now and use the one we have all the time. TV just doesn't sound the same otherwise. Glad you liked it Lills.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you. An excellent article for those of us who are technically challanged. :0)