What home cinema set up is right for me?

Love the cinema and live football matches but trying to save money? Recreate it at home for less…

home cinema

Whether you’re watching the football or a Friday-night film, you want the best possible sound experience from your TV. But as TVs have become slimmer and more streamlined, the speakers inside them have gotten smaller. Sound quality is just as important as your TV’s picture. Give your TV the audio to match its sharp screen with a home cinema system.


What is a home cinema system?

A home cinema system is a set of speakers placed around your room to give you proper surround sound.


5:1 home cinema and Dolby Digital

The most popular type is the 5.1 system. This has 5 channels (or speakers), plus one subwoofer – providing multi-layered surround sound.

This set up is designed to work with Dolby Digital sound, which is found in most DVDs, Blu-rays and some TV broadcasts – it’s the global standard for surround sound.

Sound is separated into channels, to send different parts of audio to each speaker in your home cinema system.

Home cinema

Where does each speaker go in a 5.1?

  • Stereo speakers (2): placed to the left and right of the TV at the front – gives accurate sound effects
  • Centre speaker (1): placed between the stereo speakers – gives clearer dialogue

  • Rear speakers (2): placed behind you to create surround sound and put you in the middle of the action
  • Subwoofer (1): delivers deep bass sounds – and can be placed anywhere


How to do it?

5.1 with an all-in-one

An all-in-one system is an easy way to get started. They include everything you need - amplifier, speakers, cables and installation instructions. Get started with Panasonic SC-BTT405EBK home cinema set. 

5.1 with a soundbar and smart sound multi-room
Another easy option is to buy a soundbar that can connect wirelessly to smart sound multi-room speakers.

The soundbar is a slim rectangular box that sits beneath your TV and does the job of the stereo speakers in a 5.1 system. What is a soundbar?Soundbar

The multi-room speakers can meanwhile be used as left and right rear speakers for surround sound. Add a wireless subwoofer for added bass. Adding the speakers is generally super-simple, and is done via an app on your phone or tablet. Because they’re wireless, there are no trailing cables to worry about. Bose, Sonos and Samsung soundbars can all be set up in this way as they’re compatible with their own wireless speakers.

This is how it works with Bose:

  • Mount the SoundTouch 300 soundbar beneath your TV
  • Place 2 Virtually Invisible 300 speakers behind the sofa
  • Add the Acoustimass wireless subwoofer for bass

Get the Bose SoundTouch 300 soundbar and the Virtually Invisible wireless speakers and the Acoustimass wireless subwoofer


Blu-ray and home cinema – the perfect partnership

If you’re serious about recreating cinema nights at home, you’ll want to add a 4K TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray player to your audio kit.

Blu-ray has always been the best way to watch movies on your TV – for both picture and sound quality. But 4K TVs offer 4 times the detail of regular Blu-ray discs and HD televisions.

Enjoy the movie nights your 4K TV deserves with Ultra HD Blu-ray and special 4K discs. As well as 4 times the detail, they offer improved contrast and colour from HDR - a cutting-edge video technology that 4K Blu-ray unlocks.

Oscar-winning The Revenant and space-epic The Martian are among the best 4K Blu-ray discs. Check out our guide to Ultra HD Blu-ray: Everything you need to know

Find your perfect home cinema system