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What do you need to build the ultimate entertainment setup
This year has been unprecedented in terms of movie release strategies. Even the largest films, ones that had a budget of $200 million or more, could be streamed at home the same day they premiered in theaters. Whether or not this practice will continue in the future, it has made people realize how important it is to have a premium home entertainment system. Here are the basic steps to follow—along with some recommended gear—to help you build the ultimate entertainment setup.
Pick a room
There are two aspects you need to consider when choosing the perfect room for your ultimate entertainment setup: sight and sound.
When choosing an entertainment room, you should have one that is large enough for you to watch the screen without needing to turn your head at an awkward angle. Looking to the right or left, tilting your head up or leaning forward are all undesirable positions to watch TV. Your body should be in a supported neutral position, which means the TV is directly in front of you at mid-vision height. The room you choose must also have an empty wall that is large enough to mount the size TV you desire.
Sound can be tricky. In an irregularly shaped room, with lots of soft or hard surfaces, sound waves might not reflect back to your ears and you may not experience the full spectrum of sound that you were expecting. Conversely, a room that is perfectly square can have the same sound reflection issues, often resulting in a louder bass end. A rectangular room with an average ceiling height offers the best chance of obtaining optimum sound.
Choose your TV
While it is easy to get overly technical and scrutinize the specs of a TV, you can find one that is perfect for you without needing a degree in electrical engineering.
There is a very important reason why you need to pick a room before buying a TV. The best TV isn’t the biggest TV — it is the one that fits the room. Most people realize a small TV in a large room isn’t the best option. However, it is possible to have a TV that is too large for a room as well. Placing a large TV in a small room means you will be sitting too close, the picture size will overwhelm the room and the light from the screen may be bright enough to hurt your eyes. Additionally, you may not be able to take the whole screen in without moving your head, which will diminish your enjoyment as well.
So, what’s the ideal size? As a starting point, measure the distance you will be sitting from the TV in inches. Half of that is how big your TV should be. For example, if your couch is 60 inches (5 feet) from the screen, start by considering a 30-inch TV. If you will be sitting 120 inches away (10 feet), a 60-inch screen should suffice.
The four main types of TV screens you’ll run into are LCD, LED, OLED and QLED.
- LCD: A liquid crystal display screen is the most common display in electronics. It utilizes liquid crystals and voltage to display an image. While this type of screen is highly affordable, the downside is images tend to lose their crispness.
- LED: A light-emitting diode screen is simply an LCD screen that is backlit with LEDs instead of the cold-cathode fluorescent lights that are used on LCD screens. While these screens are essentially the same as LCD screens, they are more energy-efficient and can be manufactured thinner. However, they come at a higher price.
- OLED: The organic light-emitting diode screen is a step above an LED screen. It requires no backlight and can produce greater contrast and deeper blacks. Also, it can be very thin. Again, with the step up in technology, the price increases.
- QLED: For value, a quantum light-emitting diode screen is the way to go. A QLED TV offers the best and brightest colors, lasts the longest and costs less than the OLED screens. On the downside, they underperform when it comes to contrast.
If you’ve ever watched a blurry video on YouTube, you understand the importance of resolution. Resolution is essentially how many pixels the screen has to display an image. Up to a point, the more pixels that a screen has, the crisper the image will look. Not too long ago, a top-of-the-line TV had 720 pixels. Then, the standard became 1080 pixels. Today, a 4K Ultra HD TV has four times more pixels than a 1080p TV, so it produces a noticeably sharper image. However, the price of a 4K Ultra HD TV also goes up. If you have the budget, it’s worth it. And at the distance an individual typically sits from the TV, the human eye simply cannot perceive any difference in quality, so there is currently little value in purchasing a TV above 4K Ultra HD.
Add a surround sound system
If you’d like to upgrade the audio quality of your TV, you can do that by purchasing a sound system. The most important aspect to understand when choosing a sound system is knowing how many speakers you get and what type they are. Luckily, this is easy to figure out, as all sound systems are categorized by a series of up to three numbers. The first number tells you how many regular speakers the system has and the second number designates the number of subwoofers. The third tells you how many height speakers there are, which are to be mounted above the listener. If you have a 5.1.2 surround sound system, for example, that would be five speakers, one subwoofer and left and right speakers installed above the listener. Not all systems have subwoofers and height speakers.
Consider additional components
Depending on the type of TV you purchase and the type of viewing you’ll be doing, you may need a couple of additional components. The most common ones are a quality Blu-ray player and a streaming media player such as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku or Apple TV.
Keep up with upcoming deals
While many shoppers simply wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, that is not the ideal approach for getting the best entertainment system gear. A better option is to do your research now and watch prices over the season. This ensures that you get both the best entertainment setup and the best price. One way to track prices is to sign up for the BestReviews email newsletter to stay informed about new products and noteworthy deals.
Best products for the ultimate entertainment setup
Here are some of the top gear choices for building your ultimate home entertainment setup. Feel free to add any of them to your cart now and watch for sales so you can purchase with a click.
With vivid colors, an ultra-thin screen, 4K definition and built-in Alexa, this QLED is the perfect cornerstone for the ultimate home entertainment system.
Sold by Amazon
The high-tech OLED display on this model has over 8 million pixels that offer deeper blacks and richer colors. For the gamer, the HDMI delivers faster speeds and the TV features up to 5.1 channel support.
Sold by Amazon
If you are working within a tight budget, this smaller LED TV could be a great fit. It’s a basic TV that offers a high-quality picture but no smart functionality, so you can get it at a fraction of the cost of other models.
Sold by Amazon
If you’d like a compact entertainment system, this versatile Bluetooth soundbar employs technology that makes it feel like the sound is coming from every direction — even overhead. For added convenience, Alexa and Google Assistant are built-in.
Sold by Amazon
This is a premium 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that includes smart and streaming features. It allows you to enjoy Blu-ray discs, DVDs and streaming content.
Sold by Amazon
Don’t have a smart TV? No worries. This affordable device from Amazon lets you stream in vibrant 4K Ultra HD from all your favorite services. It features support for Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10+.
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.