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Home Entertainment Systems

In the 1950s, playing home movies became popular in the United States as Kodak 8 mm film projector equipment became more affordable. The development of multi-channel audio systems and later LaserDisc in the 1980s created a new paradigm for home video. In the early to mid-1990s, a typical home cinema in the United States would have a LaserDisc or VHS player fed to a large rear-projection television set. Some people were using expensive front projectors in a darkened viewing room.

Beginning in the late 1990s, and continuing throughout much of the 2000s, home-theater technology progressed with the development of the DVD-Video format, Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio ("surround sound") speaker systems, and high-definition television (HDTV). In the 2010s, 3D television technology and Blu-ray Disc have ushered in a new era of home theater once again.

Later developments

In the 2000s, the term "home cinema" encompasses a range of systems meant for movie playback at home. The most basic and economical system could be a DVD player, a standard definition (SD) large-screen television with at least a 27 inch (69 cm) diagonal screen size, and a "home theater in a box" surround sound speaker system with a subwoofer. A more expensive home cinema set-up might include a Blu-ray disc player, home theater PC (HTPC) computer or digital media receiver streaming devices with a 10-foot user interface, a high-definitionvideo projector and projection screen with over 100-inch (8.3 ft; 2.5 m) diagonal screen size, and a several-thousand-watt home theater receiver with five to seven surround-sound speakers plus a powerful subwoofer. 3D-TV-enabled home theaters make use of 3D TV sets/projectors and Blu-ray 3D players in which the viewers wear 3D-glasses, enabling them to see 3D content.

Home theater designs and layouts are a personal choice, and the minimum set of requirements for a home theater are: a television set orvideo projector CRT (no new models sold in U.S.), LCDDigital Light Processing (DLP), plasma displayorganic light-emitting diode (OLED),Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD), Laser TV, rear-projection TV, video projector, Standard-definition television (SDTV), HDTV, or 3D-TV at least 27 inches (69 cm) measured diagonally, an AV receiver or pre-amplifier (surround processor) and amplifier combination capable of at least stereo sound but preferably 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital and DTS audio, and something that plays or broadcasts movies in at least stereo sound such as a VHS HI-FI VCR or LaserDisc player (no new stand-alone models of either are available; VHS VCRs are usually bundled in combo decks with DVD players), a DVD player and/or a Blu-ray disc player, cable or satellite receiver, video game console, etc. Finally a set of speakers, at least two, are needed but more common are anywhere from six to eight with a subwoofer for bass or low-frequency effects.

The most-expensive home-theater set-ups, which can cost over $100,000 (US), have expensive digital projectors and projection screens, and maybe even custom-built screening rooms which include cinema-style chairs and audiophile-grade sound equipment designed to mimic (or sometimes even exceed) commercial theater performance.

Today, home cinema implies a real "cinema experience" and therefore a higher quality set of components than an average television with only built-in speakers provides. A typical home theater includes the following parts:

  1. Video and Audio Input Devices: One or more video/audio sources. High quality movie media format such as example Blu-ray Disc are normally preferred, though they often also include a DVD, VHS,Or LaserDisc player and/or video game console systems. Quite a few home theaters today include a HTPC (Home Theater PC) with a media centersoftware application to act as the main library for video and music content using a 10-foot user interface and remote control.
  2. Audio Processing Devices: Input devices are processed by either a standalone AV receiver or a Preamplifier and Sound Processor for complex surround sound formats such as Dolby Pro-Logic/and or Pro-logic II, X, and Z, Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Digital EXDTS-ESDolby Digital PlusDolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The user selects the input at this point before it is forwarded to the output.
  3. Audio Output: Systems consist of at least 2 speakers, however most common today is 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system, but it is possible to have up to 11 speakers with additional subwoofers.
  4. Video Output: A large-screen display either an SDTVHDTV, or 3D TV. Options include Liquid crystal display television (LCD), plasma TVOLEDSXRDDLPLaser TVrear-projection TV, a traditional CRT TV,(only available second-hand at this point) or video projector and projection screen.
  5. Atmosphere: Comfortable seating and organization to improve the cinema feel. Higher-end home theaters commonly also have sound insulation to prevent noise from escaping the room, and a specialized wall treatment to balance the sound within the room

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