Home Theaters

A home theater is a theater built in a home, designed to mimic (or exceed) commercial theater performance and feeling, more commonly known as a home cinema. Today, home cinema implies a real "cinema experience" at a private home. Components and attributes include home cinema, backyard theater, home theater in a box (HTIB), audio-video (AV) receiver, front video projector and projector screen, home theater (PC, HTPC or media PC), media center, and switchable projection window.

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I don't watch much broadcast TV directly (I hate commercials), but I do have an extensive library of video files (movies and TV episodes) on my PC's hard disk.  When I got my new Toshiba HDTV, the first thing I did was hook up the "PC Interface" as I'd done with my old TV (see my previous article).  A VGA or DVI cable connects the video and a simple audio cable with supplied adapter hooks up the sound (s-video connection is not usually supported these days).  The drawbacks:  The PC must be located physically near the TV and you probably won't be able to start or pause playback without getting up from your easy chair.

But I'd bought a "smart TV" (Toshiba 55SL417U) that provides a wireless connection to my home network and surely there must be a way to play my video files directly to the TV...  There are, in fact, several options.

Here are three ways to play your video files on your DLNA-compliant TV

...listed in the order in which I tried them (in reverse order of preference).

Prerequisite:
First, connect your TV to your network.  Just plug in the Ethernet cable or use the TV's Network menu to connect to your home wireless network (you'll need to enter a password -- assuming that your wireless network is secured -- I hope for your sake that it is).  The wireless has the downside
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by:lherrou
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Interesting article! It got my YES vote above.

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by:Padn1
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I use PS3 Media Server for my Samsung Smart TV, works great.
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by Todd L'Herrou

An important part of the home theater experience is surround sound. Surround sound is the use of multiple speakers to create a 3D ambiance of sound - so that does that mean? Well, simply put, surround sound is what makes it sound like the bad guy's bullet is whizzing past your left ear while the choppers are flying in from somewhere to the right and behind you. Typically this is accomplished with, at a minimum, a 5.1 system. 5.1 refers to a layout with three front speaker channels (left, center, right), two rear speaker channels (left, right) and a low frequency channel (often called the "subwoofer" channel).

In this setup, you typically need a minimum of 5 speakers (the .1 is the low frequency channel, which may be handled by a dedicated subwoofer or by those speakers in the system capable of handling low frequency sound). And, usually these speakers need to be set up around the room, three in the front and two in the back of the room, to accomplish a true "surround" experience. And, most of that time that means running wires to each of the speakers.

For the last 10 years, I've lived in a house with tile floors and a cement slab between floors. Running wires along the edge of the wall under the carpet isn't an option when you have no carpet! Running them inside the walls would have been exceptionally tricky, since they would have had to go around a doorway and a bay window. And, my wife objected to wires running along the baseboards and around the …
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by:Deyk
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Hmmm... I tought the max power of the wireless device will limit speakers.
Now I'm confused.
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by:lherrou
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It's less than ideal, but as I said, this is for back speakers, which is mostly fill and directional sounds, not continuous volume of sound. The speakers are under-driven in this setup, but 30w/channel is more than sufficient to safely drive them.
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As more and more media become available over broadband Internet, a common question is:  How can I watch these movies and TV episodes (eps), anime, YouTube subscriptions, etc... on my big-screen TV?  

Why limit your viewing experience to the small screen at your desk?  Wouldn't you rather lie back in your Barcalounger® with a bowl of pretzels and an adult beverage?  Of course you would.  Aren't TV eps meant to be viewed by the family... in the living room in the evening?  Of course they are.

Your "video experience" has already been revolutionized by your PVR.  You are no longer a slave to the broadcast schedule... or are you?  Odds are, you occasionally have to watch one show live (brain-damaging commercials and all) so you can record another show for later viewing.  And what about those TV shows that present a continuous storyline?  Shows like, 24 or Damages or Crash or Dexter or... well, any of the best dramas?  You will generally need to wait a WHOLE WEEK between episodes.  And what about that irritating deal where the network ends a popular show at, say, 10:01 just so your TiVo won't start recording the other network's show that starts at 10:00?  

Frankly, my TiVo doesn't get much attention these days:  I have a Terabyte of quality video downloads in the queue.  When I'm in the mood for a particular drama, I watch three episodes of it back-to-back-to-back.  If my wife's in the mood for some Hugh Laurie, and we're up-to-date with House, MD
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by:WaterStreet
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Nice, useful article.
Got my yes vote, above.
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by:lherrou
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So, with my Droid capable of VNC, I've been using the Droid to control my multimedia computer, which means I can control what plays from where ever I am... always handy when you have teens!
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Home Theaters

A home theater is a theater built in a home, designed to mimic (or exceed) commercial theater performance and feeling, more commonly known as a home cinema. Today, home cinema implies a real "cinema experience" at a private home. Components and attributes include home cinema, backyard theater, home theater in a box (HTIB), audio-video (AV) receiver, front video projector and projector screen, home theater (PC, HTPC or media PC), media center, and switchable projection window.

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