Home Theatre System Basics

Home Theatre System Basics

Thinking of purchasing a home theatre system but not quite sure about what to buy or look out for? With all the options and components you can purchase with your home theatre system finding out what you need oppose to what you want can be a journey of frustration. Below are some home theatre system basics that all novice's should arm themselves with before making that next big home theatre system purchase.

All In One Or Multi Channel

The two most common flavors of home theatres are the all in one, commonly known as theatre in a box and a multi channel surround sound package. The all in one packages are geared towards consumers that are new to the market and usually comes with a few speakers, a receiver and sometimes a DVD or Blue Ray player.

A multi channel package comes with all the speakers and a bass module. Generally the receiver and DVD or Blue Ray is not included with these packages. The multi channel packages are geared towards audiophiles who want the best sound quality but don't want to be stuck with one manufacturer. If you purchase a multi channel package remember that you need to buy a receiver for your speakers to work.


A receiver is a central hub that all your speakers and devices connect to it orchestrates the sound and video for your home theatre system. For the most part the one thing you want to look for in a good receiver is that it has enough input and output for all your devices.


Some home theatre systems come packaged with speaker cables but not all home theatre systems do, make sure you always double check in the event that no speaker cables are included or if they are too short and you need to extend the length of the cables. You can always buy a spool of speaker wire at your local hardware store just for this scenario.

In addition to the speaker cables most of the older receivers require that you use an optical audio cable for each device that you hook up to. It is very important to ask the sales man if you need these cables. Some of the newer receivers do not require optical audio cables instead the audio is run through the HDMI video cables.

So in short you'll need at least a few HDMI cables depending on how many HDMI outputs you have and possibly an optical audio cable depending on your receiver make and model in addition to extra speaker wire. Don't forget to label them with tape because once you set them in place it's a nightmare to trace out which one is which.

Putting It all together

Once you have your speakers, receiver and cables together the only thing left to do is to mount your cables and run your speaker wire. I suggest plugging all the components in first to make sure that every thing works accordingly before you start running wires along the wall or inside of the walls. The last thing you want to do is have all your cables running just to find out that one speaker doesn't work. There you have it the basics of home theatre in a nutshell.