Adding a home theatre system is one of the best ways to enhance your home movie and TV experience. Home theatre systems are highly customizable to suit your individual viewing and sound system preferences.
A home theatre is intended to mimic the experience of movie theaters as closely as possible. This is achieved through a combination of audio components and the television screen (ideally a large one).
Movie Screen at Home
Large, high-quality televisions have become more widely accessible to the public with advances in the manufacturing process. Technology has improved with LCD and LED screens that have significantly smaller footprints than the old cathode ray tubes, commonly known as box TVs.
Large televisions, 40-inch and above are now commonplace. Many households even have televisions of this size in each bedroom and the living room. Consumers seek TV manufacturers, such as TCL, that provide a high-quality picture with great color and detail.
When selecting a TV for a home theatre system, generally bigger is better. Just remember to consider your available space before purchasing the biggest TV possible!
What Surround Sound Audio Offers
Movie theatres have three main speakers, one behind the screen and one on each side, as well as smaller speakers throughout the theater. Directors create their movies and soundtracks with this setup in mind.
When enjoying a movie in a cinema, you hear sounds in three-dimensions. This helps to enhance the experience and make it more immersive. If a jet flies overhead in the movie, you will hear the jet sound from above. If a car comes from behind the viewpoint of the camera, you will hear the car engine approaching from the back. The goal is to make you feel like you are there.
Sound systems at their core are relatively simple, requiring only a few speakers and an AV (Audio/Visual) receiver. Soundbars have grown in popularity in the last few years, as sound technologies have advanced to provide a similar quality and experience as produced by multiple speakers placed throughout a room. This virtual surround sound technology allows you much more flexibility in your home theatre setup.
Your Best Surround Sound Options
Dolby Digital is an audio compression technology that has been widely used since the 1990s. Dolby Digital creates a stereo version of any audio inputs from movies and TVs. This technology is so popular it is used almost exclusively for all movie productions.
Surround sound is provided by Dolby Digital through a number of audio channels. There are three common channel options, 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1. The 5.1 channel option includes center, right, and left speakers. The 6.1 channel option adds a rear channel and the 7.1 channel breaks that singular rear channel into right and left speakers. The ".1" always indicates a subwoofer, which provides bass for deep sounds.
For movie production, as each scene changes, different sounds are assigned to different channels. A car sound coming from the right rear channel would not sound right if the vehicle was approaching the camera from the front left side of the screen.
Dolby Digital Plus
7.1 channel audio is actually provided by Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Digital Plus is more efficient and has less compression than Dolby Digital.
If you have a home theatre speaker setup or soundbar you will experience the full strength of Dolby Digital Plus. To further improve the surround sound setup, an HDMI ARC/eARC port can connect a sound bar or stereo system to the Audio Return Channel. This can make the soundbar easy to setup by limiting the number of cables required to connect with the TV.
Check your HDMI slots for the word ‘ARC’. When using that slot, audio can move ‘downstream’ from your television to sound system, removing the need for additional audio cables.
Dolby Atmos is an amazing upgrade to Dolby Digital Plus that is an object-based sound technology. This means that audio is essentially placed around the room appropriately using distance markers. Objects within the film are matched with the sounds they produce. Dolby Atmos provides a truly immersive movie experience within the home setting. TCL was one of the first TV manufacturers to include Dolby Atmos technology.
TCL launched a line of compatible soundbars in 2019 to offer this experience to more consumers. The line has a number of models that are Dolby Atmos capable. These award-winning soundbars deliver high-quality sound and are a great alternative to a full (and expensive) surround sound speaker system.
Other Audio Options
DTS:X was designed to challenge the supremacy of Dolby Atmos. DTS:X is very similar to Dolby Atmos, using the same 3D object-based surround sound technology. DTS:X doesn’t require any raised speakers, and any configuration of speakers is suitable with the ability to support 32 speakers simultaneously and 11.2 audio channels.
Additionally, if the dialogue volume of a movie is too quiet, you can raise the volume using this technology. DTS:X is supported by a large volume of Blu-Rays and DVDs and is available in selected TCL television models.
DTS:X has partnered with another sound format, IMAX to develop a specific codec to deliver the IMAX experience to home systems. IMAX does not use sound objects like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, but the traditional sound channels. The IMAX sound format has 12 sound channels, 7 at the viewers level and 5 mounted or above channels. While DTS:X is supported by quite a few popular AV receivers, IMAX is supported by very few.
Upgrade Your Viewing Experience
Hi performance audio can be the missing element in many home theatre setups. A large or high-end television may be beautiful to look at, but without the proper surround sound setup the sound will fall flat. The true experience intended by movie directors will be lost.
Soundbars are a great alternative to the audio newbie and a fantastic upgrade for an existing TV. They sound incredible compared to the stock television speakers of older television sets and are easy to set up. Their footprint is minimal and there is no complicated wiring needed. Alternatively, selected TCL television models include premium audio and surround sound capabilities built-in.
Creating a surround sound audio setup isn’t very difficult if you’re ready to dive into a higher-quality system. Dolby Atmos is the most highly recommended surround sound technology at this time. There is a world of entertainment waiting to be experienced through your home theatre. You can even re-watch those favourites almost like they were brand new!
Best of all, a Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos setup will deliver a true cinematic experience every time. Why go to the movies when you can enjoy movies how they were intended to be seen, all from the comfort of your own home?