Five Tips For Buying A Home Entertainment System

Hans Dekker

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Looking for a new home entertainment system? Here are five tips for choosing the best model for your home environment.

1. Choose a system that can be expanded. Most of your music collection may be on CDs, but with the growing popularity of DVD audio you don't want to be left behind. Even if you are only interested in stereo sound make sure you buy a system that can be adapted to new technologies. This includes video as well as audio mediums. Buy a stereo system for now, but make sure it has surround sound capabilities.

Also consider whether you want your home entertainment system accessible in different parts of the house. An expandable system allows you to place speaker systems and playback modules in different rooms so that you can enjoy home entertainment throughout the house.

2. Buy a system with enough power. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Don't buy a unit which has just enough power for your current needs, but rather, think about how you will be expand it in the future. Surround sound speaker systems require more power than stereo, and satellite speakers systems installed in other rooms also require extra power.

Dedicated power amps for different parts of your home entertainment system can make a vast difference in the quality of sound. For example, a subwoofer amp can take the load off the rest of your system will providing massively deep bass sounds.

3. Choose a system that matches your entertainment preferences. If you are mainly interested in DVD video a surround sound speaker system can add amazing authenticity to your viewing experience. On the other hand, if you mostly listen to classical music, divide your budget so that you can get a good set of stereo speakers. If you like rap or hip-hop you should choose speakers designed for bass heavy music - a subwoofer is a necessity.

4. Make it backwards compatible. Many people still have a sizable collection of VHS tapes and vinyl records. Rather than throwing out these valuable sources of entertainment, make sure your new entertainment system can handle them.

5. Buy the best you can afford. It's a waste of money to buy inferior components for your home entertainment system. You will quickly become dissatisfied with them and end up ditching them. If you have a limited budget, divide it up wisely. Rather than starting with a full-featured audio and video home entertainment system, concentrate on a few components. As long as your system is expandable, you can continue adding new features as your budget allows.

Hans is an audio enthusiast and author of the Audio How To Section of the


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