Originally Posted by bud659
does the 7.1 provide a better surrond sound experience than 5.1 for movies/sports through Comcast cable?
Do the speakers for 7.1 systems get placed to the left/right of the couch to hear the sounds from the either side?
And with a 7.1 system, am I limited to only 7.1 speakers? I want the Energy Take Classics but these speakers are only 5.1
The benefit of 7.1 over 5.1 is largely a matter of personal choice. There is little material out there that is actually encoded as 7.1. What is available is only available on Blu-Ray.
More likely, if you had a 7.1 configuration, you would use something like Dolby ProLogicII decoding to extract the rear surround data from broadcast TV audio tracks and simulate 7.1. For sporting events, NASCAR, etc. where there is a lot of ambient stadium noise, it can add a good deal to the overall experience.
For speaker placement, check out this guide from Dolby
. Note that for 5.1 systems, the surround speakers are placed to the sides. It's the 7.1 setups that include the speakers in the "rear" of the room. This is a VERY common misconception.
Also, as you mentioned, for 7.1 you need to have several feet of space between the seating and the back wall for maximum effect. It sounds like your room geometry would support a 7.1 setup if you opt to go that way.
Finally, all 7.1 surround sound receivers can be configured to run as 5.1 (or 4.1, 3.0, etc.). The important thing when setting up a 7.1 receiver as 5.1 is to connect the surround speakers to the "side surround" terminals on the back of the receiver. Do not connect them to the "back surround" terminals - those are reserved for 7.1 setups.