What home cinema set up is right for me?
Sofa-bound for the summer of football? Beef up your TV speakers for the big stadium atmosphere at home…
Big stadium sound
England will compete in the world’s biggest football tournament this summer – and you want to be as close to the action as you can.
The only problem is the tournament is in Russia - but you can still enjoy sound like you’re in the stadium by beefing up your TV’s speakers with a home cinema kit.
Why home cinema?
Sound is just as important as the picture. To do it justice you need speakers capable of big, bassy and beautifully detailed sound.
But as TVs have become slimmer and more streamlined, the speakers inside them have gotten smaller. Smaller speakers have less oomph.
What is a home cinema system?
A home cinema system is a set of speakers placed around your room to give you top-quality surround sound.
Cinematic sound with 5.1 Dolby Digital
For the authentic cinema experience it’s got to be 5.1. This has 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer – providing multi-layered surround sound.
5.1 home cinema is built for Dolby Digital Sound. The global standard for surround sound, these guys have been making you leap from your cinema seat for decades with sound effects from subtle to bombastic.
How does it work?
Movies watched through 5.1 systems sure sound sublime. Here’s how the magic happens:
Sound is separated into channels, to send different parts of audio to each speaker. It’s all rather technical underneath the hood but these systems are super-simple to set up.
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
What should I have?
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.
5.1 with a sound bar and smart sound multi-room
Another easy option is to buy a sound bar that can connect wirelessly to smart sound multi-room speakers.
The sound bar is a slim rectangular box that sits beneath your TV and does the job of the stereo speakers in a 5.1 system.
The multi-room speakers can meanwhile be used as left and right rear speakers for surround sound. Add a wireless subwoofer for added bass. Because they’re wireless, there are no trailing cables to worry about.
Adding a new speaker is easy. Simply load up the app on your phone or tablet and tap your way through.
Bose, Sonos and Samsung sound bars 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 sound bar beneath your TV
- Place 2 Virtually Invisible 300 speakers behind the sofa
- Add the Acoustimass wireless subwoofer for bass
Blu-ray and home cinema – the perfect partnership
So we’ve covered the sound. But don’t forget the picture – it needs to look as good as the sound sounds (or something like that).
Blu-ray has always been the best way to watch movies on your TV. Original Blu-ray players were designed to get the best from the 2 million pixels packed into your HD TV.
When 4K TV rocked up with its 8 million pixels, Blu-ray kind of lost its mojo. Thankfully it’s back in the game with Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs built for the 4 times sharper 4K TVs.
As well as 4 times the detail, they offer improved contrast and colour with HDR - a cutting-edge video technology that 4K Blu-ray unlocks.
And you can now choose from over 200 4K Blu-ray discs – from the latest Blockbuster cinema releases to classics making their 4K debut. Don’t miss Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jurassic World and the Greatest Showman.
Feeling retro? The Matrix and Grease are rocking up in May – imagine Neo’s coat and Danny Zuko’s hair in 4 times the detail? Slick.
Experience UHD Blu-ray in stunning colour with the Panasonic DMP-UB420 Blu-ray player