Looking for a New TV?
A: This all depends on how far away you are sitting from your TV. You can always go as big as you want, but I recommend no smaller than this:
6ft-8ft = 32"
8ft-10ft = 40"
10ft-13ft = 40-49"
13ft-16ft = 55"
16ft-19ft = 65-75"
6ft-8ft = 32"
8ft-10ft = 40"
10ft-13ft = 40-49"
13ft-16ft = 55"
16ft-19ft = 65-75"
A: A LED TV is a LCD TV. A LCD is a Liquid Crystal Display that uses an incandescent light to illuminate the picture. The LED TV is the same thing, but illuminated by either side placed LED (Light Emitting Diodes) or rear placed LEDs. Plasma TV's use small chambers of a plasma (gas) to illuminate adjacent areas of phosphors of different colors. Plasmas have the best black levels and fastest refresh rates, but the plasma screen is more reflective and is more difficult to watch in a bright room. LCDs are in fact a brighter TV with a less reflective screen making it easier to watch in a bright room with a lot of windows. Higher refresh rates are being developed addressing the problem LCD TVs have with motion blur that you don't find with a plasma.
A: High Definition TV or HDTV can be brought to your TV in 3 ways. You can call your cable/satellite provider and they can supply you with a HD cable box (set this up before your TV installation.) Second way is to use an off-air antenna. Yes these are still used and in some areas you can pick up all your local networks, PBS, and even some foreign government news channels all in HD. Third is with a Blu-ray DVD player which would allow you to watch High Definition Blu-ray movies.
A: This question I will answer based on my experience. When mounting your TV or putting it on a stand, the most comfortable level to have your TV is directly in front of you at eye level. The only time I suggest mounting a TV up high is in a bedroom where the viewers are laying down. Sometimes above the fireplace is the only place for the TV, and it isn't always bad, but remember that you will be looking up for long time.
A: Yes brand name is important and I'll tell you why. Buying a TV is an investment and you want to invest in a reputable brand. Sony, Sharp, and Samsung are three of the biggest names in TVs and they back that name up with great warranties and service and really that is what you are looking for. You don't want to buy an off brand that may be less expensive because if it does have a problem you won't find a local repair place and shipping it across the country will get expensive. I always' recommend buying an extended warranty no matter what brand TV or equipment you buy.
A: These numbers indicate the number of lines that are displayed horizontally on your screen and the larger the number the better the picture. The letter indicates how it is displayed, p = progressive and i=interlaced where progressive displays the image twice as fast giving the picture better clarity and color.
A: This number is really only associated with LCD TV and indicates how many times a picture is displayed per second. The problem with older LCD's was that they displayed at 60hz and would cause a flicker and motion blur. This was solved by increasing the refresh rate to 120hz or higher. A plasma TV would be the equivalent of 600hz and is why plasma is the choice for viewing action movies or sporting events. LCD's can be found with up to a 480hz refresh rate and are arguably as good a plasma in this regard.
A: There are somethings that are ok to buy online, but be cautious when it comes to electronics. Most reputable brands require a license to sell their product online. If you purchase from an unlicensed dealer you will not be able to register your product or receive any warranty work. Not to mention the fact that the product may not work or may be damaged and then shipping may be a hassle. Deal with someone local and you know where to go when you need service.
What do you need to know about Speakers?
A: The first thing you want to do is make sure you like the look of a speaker, because for the most part you are going to see it. Then look at the specs and that's where you find the right speaker. Buying a matched set is always a good recommendation, and a lot of times you can get a surround package which includes all you need. Power Handling = this is usually displayed in Watts. This number should be close to the output of your amplifier. Sensitivity = You will see this as a decibel rating on the speaker such as 89db. This is how efficient the speaker is a producing sound and the higher the number the less power you need to drive the speaker. A 3dB increase in speaker sensitivity produces the same audible increase in volume as doubling your amplifier power
A: Yes, and some in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can pivot or aim to give you a more directional sound.
A: In an ideal setting the front speakers should be at ear level while sitting and the rears should be 3ft above the listener and 3ft behind. I prefer the sub woofer to be placed in the front of the room, but some rooms may require a side placement for the sub. Special software and room calibration can allow for inconsistencies in speaker location.
A: This depends on the size of the room and what the floor plan can accommodate. A full surround sound system consists of 1 center speaker to be place as close to the TV possible. You will have two front speakers placed at ear level and about 6ft -12ft apart. If the room is wide enough I recommend a 6.1 or 7.1 surround system which means that you will have 2 side channel speakers and 2 rear center channel speakers completely surrounding the listener. Last but not least would be the Sub woofer which produces the low frequency that the rest of the speakers can't reproduce.
A: Without question my response would be the center channel. The center channel speaker is the speaker that reproduces all of the dialog. Poorly placed center speakers causes the dialog to become muffled or muddy and unable to be heard clearly causing the listener to strain and turn the volume up just to hear what they are saying. The center channel speaker should be at ear level and in a clear line of site.
Receivers – The Heart and Brain of your system
A: . Your receiver is the brain and processor of all your audio and video information. The receiver is your amplifier to your speakers and your tuner to the AM, FM, and XM bands. Each component such as your cable box and DVD player is hooked up to your receiver, then the sound is processed and amplified to your speakers and the Video is processed to your TV. Cost for a receiver varies based on features like the number of inputs and outputs and how much power it outputs to your speakers. High end receivers can calibrate your audio to fit your room and tune streaming internet radio.
A: You need to understand what features you are looking for. Do you need it to pass 3D signal or power a second zone like your back porch speakers? How much power do you need out of the amplifier and will it drive your speakers? How many inputs do I need and do I need them to up convert my signal to HDMI? Do I need XM radio built in or other streaming audio features? Be careful of a salesman that doesn't ask you a lot of questions when picking out a receiver.
What other Components do I need?
A: Cable depends on your location and service providers. Some area's can't get a cable line out to their homes so satellite is the only way to go. Some Cable providers are just not very good and are a little behind in their equipment and service. Satellite is the same no matter where you are, but does require a dish usually mounted to your house. Weather can be a factor causing bad reception and you may not have TV in a bad storm. Satellite companies like DirecTV and Dish Network have come a long way and offer a full high definition line up including local channels.
A: DVD Players have for a long time replaced the VCR for playing back movies in your home, but recently they have gotten much better. Blu-ray DVD's hold over 6 times the information as a standard DVD and can provide you a higher resolution picture as well as audio formats that a standard DVD can hold. Blu-ray discs can give you 1080p resolution to your TV and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD™ Master Audio to your receiver giving you the most realistic sound possible.
A: Gaming is not for everyone, but lately gaming systems have included so many other features that gaming has become secondary to the device. Playstation 4 has a built in bluray player (one of the best on the market) that plays 3D movies and games. XBOX One has an incredible windows media extender built in allowing you to play movies, TV, and music from a computer with Media Center on the network. Nintendo Wii has a market for younger kids with its easy to use controller and children's gaming content. All of these gaming systems connect to the internet to give you streaming video from netflix and others as well as web content.
A: All of these components can be located wherever you want. If you chose to located the equipment in a cabinet, just make sure that it is vented. Placing equipment in a closet is a great idea because there is usually extra room in a coat closet for a small rack of equipment. The trick to having your equipment remotely located is keeping it cool and having a remote control system which can be either IR (infrared) or RF (radio frequency) that allows you to control your equipment from the other room.
What other products should I look into?
A: I always recommend placing a surge protector inline with your equipment and TV. There are slim line wall mountable surge protectors designed to fit behind your flat panel TV. Surge protectors usually have warranties covering a dollar amount of the protected devices, but I wouldn't purchase one for that reason. Just like any insurance type situation, they are going to try and find away to not pay out. Look for something with over 1000 joules and a built in line conditioner which will help eliminate electronic noise either audible or visual in your system.
A: Yes. If you have more than three remote controls sitting on your coffee table or in a basket by your couch, then you need a universal remote. I have seen it all, from 7 remotes in a basket to a multi page instruction list on how to turn on your tv and watch cable or watch a DVD. A properly programmed universal remote takes your complicated system and makes it so easy your mother in-law can use it. Imagine pressing a button labeled "watch TV" or "watch DVD" and when you press the button your TV turns on to the correct input, your receiver turns on to the correct input and your DVD starts playing. You don't have to remember anything, maybe just where you left the remote.
A: Yes there is a difference when buying cables. You can go online and find a HDMI cable for $3.00 or you can go to a big box store and buy one for $100.00 and neither may be the right one for you. Sure you can buy cheaper cables online, but you do get what you pay for. Cheap cables are not made well and may not work right away or even worse, they may stop working down the road after they have been run through your walls and installed. Most mid-level wires are really good and shouldn't cost you too much. Unless you are building the best system you don't need the best wires, but you always want a good wire. All HDMI cables are NOT the same and that goes the same for all other A/V cables as well. Third is with a Blu-ray DVD player which would allow you to watch High Definition Blu-ray movies.
A: When you have to put your equipment in a cabinet it is a good idea to use a fan or ventilation system. We recommend ATM Active Thermal Management who offer a wide range of cooling and temperature control systems. They are designed to be ultra quiet and only turn on when needed. Your technician will let you know what the right product for you will be.