Home cinema

Home cinema, also called a home theater, a home theatre, and a theater room, are home entertainment audio-visual systems that seek to reproduce a movie theater experience and mood using consumer electronics-grade video and audio equipment that is set up in a room or backyard of a private home. In the 1980s, home cinemas typically consisted of a movie pre-recorded on a LaserDisc or VHS tape; a LaserDisc or VHS player; and a heavy, bulky large-screen cathode ray tube TV set. In the 2000s, technological innovations in sound systems, video player equipment and TV screens and video projectors have changed the equipment used in home theatre set-ups and enabled home users to experience a higher-resolution screen image, improved sound quality and components that offer users more options (e.g., many of the more expensive Blu-ray players in 2016 can also "stream" movies and TV shows over the Internet using subscription services such as Netflix). The development of Internet-based subscription services means that 2016-era home theatre users do not have to commute to a video rental store as was common in the 1980s and 1990s (nevertheless, some movie enthusiasts buy DVD or Blu-ray discs of their favourite content).

Today, a home cinema system typically uses a large projected image from a video projector or a large flat-screen high-resolution HDTV system, a movie or other video content on a DVD or high-resolution Blu-ray disc, which is played on a DVD player or Blu-ray player, with the audio augmented with a multi-channel power amplifier and anywhere from two speakers and a stereo power amp (for stereo sound) to a 5.1 channel amplifier and five or more surround sound speaker cabinets (with a surround sound system). Whether home cinema enthusiasts have a stereo set-up or a 5.1 channel surround system, they typically use at least one low-frequency subwoofer speaker cabinet to amplify low-frequency effects from movie soundtracks and reproduce the deep pitches from the musical soundtrack.

Dedicated home theater
A dedicated home theater room with acoustic treatment, professional wiring, equipment and speaker placing

Introduction

In the 1950s, playing home movies became popular in the United States with middle class and upper-class families 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, as it enabled movie enthusiasts to add better sound and images to their setup. In the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, a typical home cinema in the United States would have a LaserDisc or VHS player playing a movie, with the signal fed to a large rear-projection television set. Some people used expensive front projectors in a darkened viewing room. During the 1990s, watching movies on VHS at home became a popular leisure activity. Beginning in the late 1990s, and continuing throughout much of the 2000s, home-theater technology progressed with the development of the DVD-Video format (higher resolution than VHS), Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio ("surround sound") speaker systems, and high-definition television (HDTV), which initially included bulky, heavy Cathode Ray Tube HDTVs and flat screen TVs. In the 2010s, affordable large HDTV flatscreen TVs, high resolution video projectors (e.g., DLP), 3D television technology and the high resolution Blu-ray Disc (1080p) have ushered in a new era of home theater.

Recent 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 an inexpensive "home theater in a box" surround sound amplifier/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-definition video projector and projection screen with over 100-inch (8.3 ft; 2.5 m) diagonal screen size (or a large flatscreen HDTV), and a several-hundred-watt home theater receiver with five to eleven surround-sound speakers plus one or two powerful subwoofer(s). 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 type of home cinema a user can set up depends on her/his budget and the space which is available within the home. The minimum set of requirements for a home theater are: a large television set or good quality video projector CRT (no new models sold in U.S.), LCD, Digital Light Processing (DLP), plasma display, organic 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, 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, 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.[1]

The most-expensive home-theater set-ups, which can cost over $100,000 (US), and which are in the homes of executives, celebrities and high-earning professionals, have expensive, large, high-resolution 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.

Design

Basic Home Theatre Design Flow Diagram
This chart shows some of the design flow options for home theatre in the 2000s.

In the 2010s, many home cinema enthusiasts aim to replicate, to the degree that is possible, the "movie theatre experience". To do so, many home cinema buffs purchase higher quality components than used for everyday television viewing on a relatively small TV with only built-in speakers. A typical home theater includes the following components:

  1. Movie or other viewing content: As the name implies, one of the key reasons for setting up a home cinema is to watch movies on a large screen, which does a more effective job at reproducing filmed images of vast landscapes or epic battle sequences. As of 2016, home cinema enthusiasts using "Smart" Blu-ray players may also watch DVDs of TV shows, and recorded or live sports events or music concerts. As well, with a "Smart" player, a user may be able to "stream" movies, TV shows and other content over the Internet. Many 2016-era DVD players and Blu-ray players also have inputs which allow users to view digital photos and other content on the big screen.
  2. Video and audio input devices: One or more video/audio sources. High resolution movie media formats such as Blu-ray discs are normally preferred, though DVD or video game console systems are also used. Some home theaters include a HTPC (Home Theater PC) with a media center software application to act as the main library for video and music content using a 10-foot user interface and remote control. In 2016, some of the more-expensive Blu-ray players can "stream" movies and TV shows over the Internet.
  3. Audio and video processing devices: Input signals 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 EX, DTS-ES, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The user selects the input (e.g., DVD, Blu-ray player, streaming video, etc.) at this point before it is forwarded to the output stage. Some AV receivers enable the viewer to use a remote control to select which input device or source to use.
  4. Audio output: Systems consist of preamplifiers, power amplifiers (both of which may be integrated into a single AV receiver) and two or more loudspeakers mounted in speaker enclosures. The audio system requires at least a stereo power amplifier and two speakers, for stereo sound; most systems have multi-channel surround sound power amplifier and six or more speakers (a 5.1 surround sound system has left and right front speakers, a centre speaker, left and right rear speakers and a low-frequency subwoofer speaker enclosure). Some users have 7.1 Surround Sound. It is possible to have up to 11 speakers with additional subwoofers.
  5. Video output: A large-screen display, typically an HDTV. Some users may have a 3D TV. As of 2015, flatscreen HDTV is the norm. Options include Liquid crystal display television (LCD), plasma TV, OLED.[2] Home cinema users may also use a video projector and a movie screen. If a projector is used, a portable, temporary screen may be used or a screen may be permanently mounted on a wall.
  6. Seating and atmosphere: Comfortable seating is often provided to improve the cinema feel. Higher-end home theaters commonly also have sound insulation to prevent noise from escaping the room and specialized wall treatment to balance the sound within the room. Some luxury home cinemas have movie theatre-style padded chairs for guests.

Component systems vs. theater-in-a-box

Home cinema 01
A mid-level home theater system consisting of large-screen LCD television, a Sky+ HD satellite TV box, and a DVD player (and a Blu-ray Disc-capable PlayStation 3 game console). The equipment is on a TV stand.

Home cinemas can either be set up by purchasing individual components one by one (e.g., buying a multichannel amp from one manufacturer, a Blu-ray player from another manufacturer, speakers from another company, etc.) or a by purchasing a HTIB (Home Theater in a Box) package which includes all of components from a single manufacturer, with the exception of a TV or projector. HTIB systems typically include a DVD or Blu-ray player, a surround sound amplifier, five surround speakers, a subwoofer cabinet, cables and a remote. The benefit of purchasing separate components one by one is that consumers can attain improved quality in video or audio and better matching between the components and the needs of a specific room, or the consumer's needs.

However, to buy individual components, a consumer must have knowledge of sound system and video system design and electronics and she or he must do research on the specifications of each component. For instance, some speakers perform better in smaller rooms while others perform better in larger rooms and seating location must be considered. One of the challenges with buying all the components separately is that the purchaser must understand speaker impedance, power handling, and HDMI compatibility and cabling. Given these challenges, HTIB systems are a simpler and more cost-effective solution for many families and consumers; they are also better suited to smaller living spaces in semi-detached homes or apartments/condos where noise could be an issue. As well, buying an HTIB package is often less expensive than buying separate components.

Apartment smart home theatre
An example of a HTIB arrangement in an apartment/condo setting consisting of a wall mounted LED Smart TV, 3D Blu-ray home theatre system which features internet connected smart features such as Netflix and YouTube, Xbox 360 S, Xbox One S, and Nintendo Entertainment System game consoles, and Bell Aliant FibreOP IPTV HD PVR box.

Dedicated rooms

Projection-screen-home2
A large projection screen in a media room.
Home-theater-tysto2
This example is of home theater screening room with video projector mounted in a box on the ceiling. Built-in shelves provide a place for movie decor, DVDs, and equipment. Note the component stack on the right, where the audio receiver, DVD player, secondary monitor, and video game system are located.

Some home cinema enthusiasts build a dedicated room in their home for the theater. These more advanced installations often include sophisticated acoustic design elements, including "room-in-a-room" construction that isolates sound and provides an improved listening environment and a large screen, often using a high definition projector. These installations are often designated as "screening rooms" to differentiate them from simpler, less-expensive installations. In some movie enthusiast's home cinemas, this idea can go as far as completely recreating an actual small-scale cinema, with a projector enclosed in its own projection booth, specialized furniture, curtains in front of the projection screen, movie posters, or a popcorn or vending machine with snack food and candy. More commonly, real dedicated home theaters pursue this to a lesser degree.

As of 2016, the days of the $100,000 and over home theater system is being usurped by the rapid advances in digital audio and video technologies, which has spurred a rapid drop in prices, making a home cinema set-up more affordable than ever before. This in turn has brought the true digital home theater experience to the doorsteps of the do-it-yourselfers, often for much less than the price of a low-budget economy car. As of 2016, consumer grade A/V equipment can meet some of the standards of a small modern commercial theater (e.g., THX sound).

Seating

Home theater seating consists of chairs or sofas specifically engineered and designed for viewing movies in a home theater. Some home theater seats have a cup holder built into the chairs' armrests and a shared armrest between each seat. Some seating has movie-theater-style chairs like those seen in a movie cinema, which feature a flip-up seat cushion. Other seating systems have plush leather reclining lounger types, with flip-out footrests. Available features include storage compartments, snack trays, tactile transducers for low-frequency effects that can be felt through a chair (without creating high volume levels which could disturb other family members), and electric motors to adjust the chair. Home theater seating tends to be more comfortable than seats in a public cinema.[3]

Backyard theater

In homes that have an adequately sized backyard, it is possible for people to set up a home theater in an outdoor area. Depending on the space available, it may simply be a temporary version with foldable screen, a video projector and couple of speakers, or a permanent fixture with a huge screen and dedicated audio set-up mounted in a weather-proof cabinet. Outdoor home cinemas are popular with BBQ parties and pool parties. Some specialist outdoor home-cinema companies are now marketing packages with inflatable movie screens and purpose-built AV systems. Some people have expanded the idea and constructed mobile drive-in theaters that can play movies in public open spaces. Usually, these require a powerful projector, a laptop or DVD player, outdoor speakers or an FM transmitter to broadcast the audio to other car radios.

History

1950s-1970s

In the 1950s, home movies became popular in the United States and elsewhere as Kodak 8 mm film (Pathé 9.5 mm in France) and camera and projector equipment became affordable. Projected with a small, portable movie projector onto a portable screen, often without sound, this system became the first practical home theater. They were generally used to show home movies of family travels and celebrations, but they also doubled as a means of showing some commercial films, or even private stag films. Dedicated home cinemas were called screening rooms at the time and were outfitted with 16 mm or even 35 mm projectors for showing commercial films. These were found almost exclusively in the homes of the very wealthy, especially those in the movie industry.

Portable home cinemas improved over time with color film, Kodak Super 8 mm film cartridges, and monaural sound but remained awkward and somewhat expensive. The rise of home video in the late 1970s almost completely killed the consumer market for 8 mm film cameras and projectors, as VCRs connected to ordinary televisions provided a simpler and more flexible substitute.

1980s

The development of multi-channel audio systems and LaserDisc in the 1980s added new dimensions for home cinema. The first-known home cinema system was designed, built and installed by Steve J. LaFontaine as a sales tool at Kirshmans furniture store in Metairie, Louisiana in 1974. He built a special sound room which incorporated the earliest quadraphonic audio systems, and he modified Sony Trinitron televisions for projecting the image. Many systems were sold in the New Orleans area in the ensuing years before the first public demonstration of this integration occurred in 1982 at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Illinois. Peter Tribeman of NAD (U.S.) organized and presented a demonstration made possible by the collaborative effort of NAD, Proton, ADS, Lucasfilm and Dolby Labs, who contributed their technologies to demonstrate what a home cinema would "look and sound" like.

Over the course of three days, retailers, manufacturers, and members of the consumer electronics press were exposed to the first "home-like" experience of combining a high-quality video source with multi-channel surround sound. That one demonstration is credited with being the impetus for developing what is now a multibillion-dollar business.

1990s

In the early to mid-1990s, a typical home cinema would have a LaserDisc or VHS player fed to a large screen: rear projection for the more-affordable setups, and LCD or CRT front-projection in the more-elaborate systems. In the late 1990s, a new wave of home-cinema interest was sparked by the development of DVD-Video, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1-channel audio, and high-quality front video projectors that provide a cinema experience at a price that rivals a big-screen HDTV.

2000s

2000s home theater, "California Casual"
A home cinema from the late 2000s, using a rear projection television.

In the 2000s, developments such as high-definition video, Blu-ray disc (as well as the now-obsolete HD DVD format, which lost the format war to Blu-ray) and newer high-definition 3D display technologies enabled people to enjoy a cinematic feeling in their own home at a more-affordable price. Newer lossless audio from Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio and speaker systems with more audio channels (such as 6.1, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, 10.2, and 22.2) were also introduced for a more cinematic feeling.

2010s

LG전자, 3D 홈시어터로 북미 3D AV 시장 공략 강화
A store display for a home cinema package at a consumer electronics retailer. Some stores "bundle" home cinema components into a package which can be purchased for a lower cost than buying each component separately.

By the mid-2010s, the Blu-ray Disc medium had become a common home media standard, and online video streaming sources such as Netflix and YouTube were offering a range of high definition content, including some 4K content (although various compression technologies are applied to make this streamed content feasible). The first 4K Blu-ray discs were released in 2016. By this point, 4K TVs and computer monitors were rapidly declining in price and increasing in prevalence, despite a lack of native 4K content. While many DSP systems existed, DTS-HD Master Audio remained the studio standard for lossless surround sound encoding on Blu-ray, with five or seven native discrete channels. High definition video projectors also continued to improve and decrease in price, relative to performance.

As a result of continuing price reductions, large (up to 80'') TVs became a financially competitive alternative to video projectors in living room or even smaller dedicated room setups.[4] Technologies such as local dimming and the like improved the black levels of LCD screens making them more suitable for use in a dark room. Consumer-grade OLED TVs measuring 55'' and above began to emerge in the second half of the decade. These had even better black levels.[5] However, as of 2018, video projectors remained the only viable option when screen sizes much over 80'' are needed.

Entertainment equipment standards

Noise Criteria (NC) are noise-level guidelines applicable to cinema and home cinema. For this application, it is a measure of a room's ambient noise level at various frequencies. For example, in order for a theater to be THX certified, it must have an ambient sound level of NC-30 or less. This helps to retain the dynamic range of the system.[6] Some NC levels are:

  • NC 40: Significant but not a dooming level of ambient noise; the highest "acceptable" ambient noise level. 40 decibels is the lower sound pressure level of normal talking; 60 being the highest.
  • NC 30: A good NC level; necessary for THX certification in cinemas.
  • NC 20: An excellent NC level; difficult to attain in large rooms and sought after for dedicated home cinema systems. For example, for a home cinema to be THX certified, it has to have a rating of NC 22.[7]
  • NC 10: Virtually impossible noise criteria to attain; 10 decibels is associated with the sound level of calm breathing.

Projectors used for home cinemas have a set of recommended criteria:

  • Brightness, usually at least 1800 lumens.
  • Resolution (the number of pixels making up the image), usually at least 1920×1080, one of the HDTV standards.
  • Contrast (how well white, black and greyscales are displayed), usually a minimum of 5000:1.
  • HDMI connection sockets (Although some people use older Component video,connections with three-cord sockets for the different individual colours)
  • Good quality manufacturers, although this is a subjective element which depends upon user tastes and budget. For one user with a modest budget, "good quality" may mean a mainstream consumer electronics brand; for a well-to-do user, a Christie projector may be their interpretation of "good quality" (Christie units are widely used in professional, commercial theatres)

See also

References

  1. ^ "How Much Cash Do I Need For A Home Theater Setup?". about.com. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  2. ^ Feldstein, Justin. "Next Generation Televisions: Beyond Conventional LED and LCD Technologies". Audio Den. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Create Your Own Home Theater", by Stargate Sonem, Articles Organization Free Directory.
  4. ^ "Is there any reason to own a projector when big TVs are so cheap? Glad you asked". Digital Trends. 2017-12-29. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  5. ^ "OLED vs LED LCD: Which is the best display technology? | Trusted Reviews". Trusted Reviews. 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  6. ^ Reviewscon. "Design the Ultimate Home Theater—On a Budget." Home Theater.
  7. ^ DeBoer, Clint (2007)."THX Certified Home Theater Program." Audioholics Online A/V Magazine.

External links

Audio crossover

Audio crossovers are a type of electronic filter circuitry used in a range of audio applications, to split up an audio signal into two or more frequency ranges, so that the signals can be sent to drivers that are designed for different frequency ranges. Crossovers are often described as "two-way" or "three-way", which indicate, respectively, that the crossover splits a given signal into two frequency ranges or three frequency ranges. Crossovers are used in loudspeaker cabinets, power amplifiers in consumer electronics (hi-fi, home cinema sound and car audio) and pro audio and musical instrument amplifier products. For the latter two markets, crossovers are used in bass amplifiers, keyboard amplifiers, bass and keyboard speaker enclosures and sound reinforcement system equipment (PA speakers, monitor speakers, subwoofer systems, etc.).

Crossovers are used because most individual loudspeaker drivers are incapable of covering the entire audio spectrum from low frequencies to high frequencies with acceptable relative volume and absence of distortion. Most hi-fi speaker systems and sound reinforcement system speaker cabinets use a combination of multiple loudspeaker drivers, each catering to a different frequency band. A standard simple example is in hi-fi and PA system cabinets that contain a woofer for low and mid frequencies and a tweeter for high frequencies. Since a sound signal source, be it recorded music from a CD player or a live band's mix from an audio console has all of the low, mid and high frequencies combined, a crossover circuit is used to split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to loudspeakers, tweeters or horns optimized for those frequency bands.

Active crossovers are distinguished from passive crossovers in that whereas passive crossovers split up an amplified signal coming from one power amplifier so that it can be sent to two or more drivers (e.g., a woofer and a very low frequency subwoofer, or a woofer and a tweeter), an active crossover splits up audio signal prior to amplification, so that it can be sent to two or more power amplifiers, each of which is connected to a separate driver type. Home cinema 5.1 surround sound audio systems use a crossover which separates out the low-frequency signal, so that it can be sent to a subwoofer, and then sends the mid- and high-range frequencies to five speakers which are placed around the listener; in a typical application, the signals sent to the surround speaker cabinets are further split up with a passive crossover into a low/mid-range woofer and a high range tweeter. Active crossovers come in both digital and analog varieties.

Digital active crossovers often include additional signal processing, such as limiting, delay, and equalization. Signal crossovers allow the audio signal to be split into bands that are processed separately before they are mixed together again. Some examples are multiband dynamics (compression, limiting, de-essing), multiband distortion, bass enhancement, high frequency exciters, and noise reduction such as Dolby A noise reduction.

Background noise

Background noise or ambient noise is any sound other than the sound being monitored (primary sound). Background noise is a form of noise pollution or interference. Background noise is an important concept in setting noise levels affect your background in formations. See noise criteria for cinema/home cinema applications.

Examples of background noises are environmental noises such as waves, traffic noise, alarms, people talking, bioacoustic noise from animals or birds and mechanical noise from devices such as refrigerators or air conditioning, power supplies or motors.

The prevention or reduction of background noise is important in the field of active noise control. It is an important consideration with the use of ultrasound (e.g. for medical diagnosis or imaging), sonar, and sound reproduction.

Bias lighting

In home cinema and video editing technology, bias lighting is a weak light source on the backside of a screen or monitor that illuminates the wall or surface behind and just around the display.The purpose of bias lighting is to reduce the perceived brightness of the display as a result of the contrast with the slightly illuminated area around it. This reduces the eye strain and fatigue that occurs when viewing a bright display against a very dark background for an extended time, and increases the perceived blackness and contrast of the display.Bias lighting was already used in the early days of television in the form of "TV lamps", often taking the shape of an animal, that were set atop television sets and projected light onto the wall behind the set. As of the 2000s, bias lights often use LEDs, attach to the backside of flat-panel displays, and draw power from a USB or HDMI port. They may also be integrated into the display. Some Philips televisions, for example, feature integrated bias lights since 2002 with the brand name "Ambilight".

Bias lights with a cool white color temperature of 6,500 K match the temperature of most monitors' white color. They are used in professional editing environments and are recommended to maximize the fidelity of the perceived image. In home cinema, bias lighting that is no brighter than 10% of the display's brightest spot and with a color rendering index of at least 90 is recommended.

Cinema Novo

Cinema Novo (Portuguese pronunciation: [siˈne.mɐ ˈno.vu]) is a genre and movement of film noted for its emphasis on social equality and intellectualism that rose to prominence in Brazil during the 1960s and 1970s. It means "New Cinema" in Portuguese, which is the official language of Brazil, the movement's "home". Cinema Novo formed in response to class and racial unrest both in Brazil and the United States. Influenced by Italian neorealism and French New Wave, films produced under the ideology of Cinema Novo opposed traditional Brazilian cinema, which consisted primarily of musicals, comedies and Hollywood-style epics. Glauber Rocha is widely regarded as Cinema Novo's most influential filmmaker. Today, the movement is often divided into three sequential phases that differ in tone, style and content.

Comparison of video player software

The following comparison of video players compares general and technical information for notable software media player programs.

For the purpose of this comparison, video players are defined as any media player which can play video, even if it can also play audio files.

Curzon Artificial Eye

Curzon Artificial Eye is a British film distributor, specialising in independent, foreign-language and art house films for cinema and home entertainment.

Curzon Cinemas

Curzon Cinemas are a chain of cinemas based in the United Kingdom, mostly in London, specialising in art house films. They also have a video on demand service, Curzon Home Cinema.

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is the name of a surround sound technology by Dolby Laboratories that was introduced in June 2012 with the release of the animated film Brave.

Habib Rezaei

Habib Rezaei (born 12 Bahman 1348) is an Iranian actor and casting director.

Home audio

Home audio systems are audio electronics intended for home entertainment use, such as shelf stereos and surround sound receivers. Home audio generally does not include standard equipment such as built-in television speakers, but rather accessory equipment, which may be intended to enhance or replace standard equipment, such as standard TV speakers. Since surround sound receivers, which are primarily intended to enhance the reproduction of a movie, are the most popular home audio device, the primary field of home audio is home cinema.

Home theater PC

A home theater PC (HTPC) or media center computer is a convergence device that combines some or all the capabilities of a personal computer with a software application that supports video, photo, audio playback, and sometimes video recording functionality. In recent years, other types of consumer electronics, including gaming systems and dedicated media devices have crossed over to manage video and music content. The term "media center" also refers to specialized application software designed to run on standard personal computers.An HTPC and other convergence devices integrate components of a home theater into a unit co-located with a home entertainment system. An HTPC system typically has a remote control and the software interface normally has a 10-foot (3 m) user interface design so that it can be comfortably viewed at typical television viewing distances. An HTPC can be purchased pre-configured with the required hardware and software needed to add video programming or music to the PC. Enthusiasts can also piece together a system out of discrete components as part of a software-based HTPC.Since 2007 Digital media player and Smart TV software has been incorporated into consumer electronics through software or hardware changes including video game consoles, Blu-ray players, networked media players, televisions, and set-top boxes. The increased availability of specialized devices, coupled with paid and free digital online content, now offer alternatives to multipurpose (and more costly) personal computers.

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic (MPC) is a compact media player for 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows. MPC mimics the look and feel of Windows Media Player 6.4, but provides most options and features available in modern media players. It and its forks are standard media players in the K-Lite Codec Pack and the Combined Community Codec Pack.

This project is now principally maintained by the community at the Doom9 forum. The active forks are Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC) and the Black Edition (MPC-BE).

Onkyo

Onkyo Corporation (オンキヨー株式会社, Onkyō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, specializing in premium home cinema and audio equipment, including AV receivers, surround sound speakers and portable devices. The word Onkyo translates as "sound harmony". The company started under the name of Osaka Denki Onkyo K.K in 1946 (a company not related to Nippon Denki Onkyo, which became Denon). The current Onkyo Corporation umbrella includes the Integra and Integra Research divisions as well as the main Onkyo brand.

In March 2015, Onkyo purchased Pioneer Corporation's Home Electronics Corporation, which produces home cinema amplifiers, Blu-ray players and other AV products. In return, Pioneer took a 14.95% stake in Onkyo. The Ohtsuki family remain the largest shareholders of the company with an approximately 26% stake, just above Gibson Brands, with a 16.5% stake.

Professional audio

Professional audio, abbreviated as pro audio, refers to both an activity and a category of high quality, studio-grade audio equipment. Typically it encompasses sound recording, sound reinforcement system setup and audio mixing, and studio music production by trained sound engineers, audio engineers, record producers, and audio technicians who work in live event support and recording using audio mixers, recording equipment and sound reinforcement systems. In contrast, consumer audio equipment is a lower grade of gear which is used by regular people for the reproduction of sound in a private home on a home stereo or home cinema system.

Professional audio can include, but is not limited to broadcast radio, audio mastering in a recording studio, television studio, and sound reinforcement such as a live concert, DJ performances, audio sampling, public address system set up, surround sound design in movie theatres, and design and setup of piped music in hotels and restaurants. Professional audio equipment is sold at professional audio stores and music stores. While consumer electronics stores sell some of the same categories of equipment (e.g., power amplifiers and subwoofer cabinets), the equipment that consumer stores sells is a lower consumer-grade type of equipment, which does not meet the standards for low noise and low distortion that are required in pro audio applications.

Richer Sounds

Richer Sounds is a British home entertainment retailer that operates online and through a chain of 53 stores, mainly in England. The business is 100% owned by Julian Richer, the founder and managing director of the company.

Technophilia

Technophilia (from Greek τέχνη - technē, "art, skill, craft" and φίλος - philos, "beloved, dear, friend") refers generally to a strong enthusiasm for technology, especially new technologies such as personal computers, the Internet, mobile phones and home cinema. The term is used in sociology to examine individuals' interactions with society and is contrasted with technophobia.

On a psychodynamic level, technophilia generates the expression of its opposite, technophobia. Technophilia and technophobia are the two extremes of the relationship between technology and society. The technophile regards most or all technology positively, adopts new forms of technology enthusiastically and sees it as a means to improve life, whilst some may even view it as a means to combat social problems.The term technophilia is used as a way of highlighting how technology can evoke in humans strong positive futuristic feelings. However, the reverential attitude towards technology that technophilia produces can sometimes inhibit realistic appraisals of the social and environmental impacts of technology on society. Technophiles do not fear of the effects of technological developments on society, as do technophobes. Technological determinism is the theory that humanity has little power to resist the influence that technology has on society.

Video projector

A video projector is an image projector that receives a video signal and projects the corresponding image on a projection screen using a lens system. All video projectors use a very bright light or laser to project the image, and most modern ones can correct any curves, blurriness, and other inconsistencies through manual settings.

Video projectors are used for many applications such as conference room presentations, classroom training, home cinema and concerts. In schools and other educational settings, they are sometimes connected to an interactive whiteboard. In the late 20th century they became commonplace in home cinema. Although large LCD television screens became quite popular, video projectors are still common among many home theater enthusiasts.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi? is a magazine published thirteen times a year by Future. It is a buying guide to consumer electronics, featuring reviews and articles on hi-fi, home cinema, television and home audio. What Hi-Fi? claims to be "the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home cinema" and home to "the most trusted tech reviews in the world".

The magazine has nine international editions, and its publisher claims that its total readership is in excess of one million per issue. whathifi.com has a comprehensive, constantly updated library of audio and video hardware reviews, plus news, features, advice and opinion from the editorial team. In the course of 2017, whathifi.com hosted over 24 million unique users.

What Hi-Fi? was sold to Future Publishing by Haymarket in multi-brand deal for £14m.

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Set-top boxes,
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