A Beginner’s Guide to Home Theater

Getting started in home theater can be intimidating, scary, and, let’s face it, expensive. It doesn’t have to be. If you’ve always wanted that movie theater experience at home but were afraid the salesman at the big box store or the home consulting/installing service would pull a fast one on you, keep reading, as I’m about to simplify and help you set budgets (and stick to them) and explain the different types of home theater equipment a beginner may consider. I’m going to assume that at the very least you already have:

    1. FHD or UHD display (55-inch or larger)
    2. Cable or satellite service

Okay, you got the TV home, it’s connected to your cable or satellite service, but the sound from the TV is plain horrible. Well, there is a reason for that. As more and more consumers demanded a TV that appeared more like a picture frame that could be hung on the wall, manufacturers had to figure out a way to include speakers in their TVs. Think of a laptop – most have pretty crummy sound, too, mostly because the manufacturer had to cram two tiny speakers somewhere into the case. Large flat panel displays are no different – chances are the speakers are located along the bottom edge of the bezel, facing downward and are likely powered by a 10-watt amplifier. Sound waves are directional, so rather than having the sound from the TV travel towards you, the sound is traveling down into the floor. Luckily, you have some options, but you need to consider what you want – better sound or a more movie theater experience.

All I want is better sound…

Soundbars
The simplest and often least expensive solution to better sound from your TV is a soundbar. The more basic models are just a thin bar containing two speakers (a left and a right) plus a wireless subwoofer, and can start as low as $100 and can exceed $2,000. A lower-end soundbar is going to give you better sound, usually more amplification, better quality speakers, and a subwoofer to help with bass than what your TV is capable of. And if all you are looking for is better sound, then this is probably the solution for you, although most would not consider this a “home theater.” Soundbars are easy to set up, especially if all you are using is your DVR or converter box and the built-in streaming apps on your TV (for Netflix, Vudu, etc.). Simply connect an optical cable to the optical audio output on your TV to the optical audio input on the soundbar, turn off the built-in speakers in the setting on your TV, select the optical audio selection on the soundbar, and you are good to go. This will give you stereo sound, and some soundbars even include a simulated surround, although your mileage may vary with that feature. In my experience, if you are looking for a soundbar with simulated surround, look for one that has DTS Virtual: X, as that is the only surround simulator I’ve come across that comes close.

2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1 – What do all those numbers mean?
If you’ve been to a big box electronics store and started looking at soundbars, you probably noticed and/or the salesperson probably started throwing these numbers at you like 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, etc. Huh? It may be confusing at first, but it is really rather simple. “2.1” refers to left and right front speakers and a subwoofer. “3.1” refers to a left, center, and right speaker plus a subwoofer. Anything over 3.1 would be surround. He may have even said something like “3.1.2.” In this case, he is referring to spatial audio, either Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, possibly both. The “.2” means two height or reflecting speakers. Some soundbars have multiple little speakers inside, all at varying angles, trying to bounce the sound off the walls in your room. Others have optional add-ons like wireless surround and height speakers. I usually do not recommend going that route, as those add-ons are always proprietary and will only work with that particular make and/or model of soundbar. This means that if a speaker or the soundbar fail, and those are no longer available (which happens quite frequently in home electronics these days), everything must be replaced.

Home Theater in a Box (HTiB)

This is a sector I’m actually happy to see being phased out by most electronics manufacturers. These typically consist of a main unit housing the amplifier, input switcher, and a DVD or Blu-ray player, to which 4 satellite speakers, a center channel speaker, and a subwoofer are then attached (wired, wireless, or a combination of the two). These are self-contained units, and the speakers are usually low-wattage and proprietary. The number of inputs, especially HDMI, are usually extremely limited, often with only one input for your converter box or DVR. While they will still sound better than the built-in speakers on your TV, if one of the speakers go bad or the disc player stops working, the entire set must be replaced.

Soundbars and HTiB’s are better suited for the bedroom, dorm rooms, and playrooms rather than a living room or dedicated home theater room, where space and convenience are more important.

What I really want is sound like at the movie theater

This is where many people get intimidated by complexity and/or cost (and cost can get out of hand pretty quickly if you don’t stay firm from the outset). There are two basic ways you can go here, with both offering the flexibility to easily upgrade as you continue to build your system, and there are some great money-saving tips as well.

When considering a budget, make certain it is attainable and realisitic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone ask me to help them find a home theater setup, then tell me they only have $200 to spend. $500 is doable, but you will have to make some sacrifices, at least temporarily. $1,000 is a more realistic budget to start with, and will likely include cables. Once you’ve settled on a budget, take an inventory of what you currently have. If starting from scratch, does that include furniture, or in other words, a place to put your receiver, converter box, Blu-ray player, etc.?

Also take into consideration the size and layout of your room. Will you be able to run speaker wire easily? Are there walls or doors preventing you from running wires? Do you have cathedral-style ceilings? If so, are there beams to hang your overhead Atmos speakers from (reflective speakers do not work well with these types of ceilings)? If your room is relatively small, you are likely limited to a 5.1 or 5.1.2 speaker configuration. A comprehensive (and for some, exhaustive) list of speaker setup guides can be found on Dolby’s website. Keep in mind these are recommendations, as not all rooms are created equal, and most receivers include speaker calibration and room correction software to help you achieve the best sound possible (although a few tweaks may be necessary).

For those looking for a “one and done” approach, you may want to consider a receiver/speaker package from Yamaha or Onkyo. These typically sell for under $500, and are entry level receivers paired with decent (not great) satellite speakers and a subwoofer. Something like this will get you up and running with a 5.1 sound system fairly quickly, at a relatively low cost, and the best part is that you can easily upgrade the speakers to better quality ones over time. Should you decide to upgrade the speakers, it is recommended that you replace all fronts and/or all rears with the same manufacturer and series, if possible, so that your speakers are what is referred to as “timber matched,” meaning all of the speakers have a similar tonal quality to them so that as sounds pass from one speaker to the next, there is little to no noticeable change in sound quality. One thing to note about Onkyo – it has been customary for their lowest priced bundle to include a passive rather than active subwoofer. This means that the subwoofer is being powered by the receiver, which reduces amplification power to other speakers. It also makes it more difficult to upgrade later on, especially if you upgrade the receiver, as most home theater receivers only include one or two outputs for an active subwoofer (in other words, a subwoofer with its own built-in amplifier).

If you are wanting better sound from the get go and/or want the flexibility to expand up to 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos or 7.1 surround in the future, then you may want to consider purchasing a higher-end 7.2 receiver and speakers as your budget allows. This will be a more costly approach, but will yield better results to your ears and allow you to more customize your home theater. A good 7.2 receiver will start at around $500 and go up from there. If you shop around, you may be able to find a previous model year receiver on clearance, and that could save you over $100 or more. Here is a little secret about home theater receivers and their manufacturers – much like car manufacturers, receiver manufacturers come out with new models every year, and in most cases the new models have nothing new to offer except maybe a few more watts of power and some minor bells and whistles. You can also look at used or refurbished, but keep in mind these often have no warranty or a 90-day warranty at best, and sometimes the same model can be purchased as new for $20-30 more. If purchasing used or refurbished, make sure it is from a reputable seller with a good return policy (obviously), but also do not purchase any receiver manufactured before 2015, as it will likely not be HDCP 2.2 compliant, meaning it will not be able to pass true UHD video from your UHD Blu-ray player or streaming device, despite claiming to be “4K ready.”

You can then add, as your budget allows, a pair of tower or bookshelf speakers, a center channel, and a subwoofer. At the bare minimum, I would recommend either (1) a pair of tower speakers with good bass response or (2) a pair of bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer, and then build on from there, but make sure the manufacturer makes a matching center channel speaker to add next. In-ceiling speakers are only recommended for Atmos use and not for traditional left, right, center, and surround. Speakers are very subjective from person to person, so it is highly recommended you visit a big box or specialty store to give them a listen to before purchasing, or find an online retailer that has a very flexible and lenient return policy, especially one that doesn’t require you to pay for return shipping. Some receivers, such as those made by Denon and Marantz, now include DTS Virtual:X which offer a virtual surround sound (one of the best I’ve ever heard) from as few as two speakers.

To round out your home theater, you may want to consider a Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players are usually well-under $100 these days, while a decent UHD Blu-ray player starts at around $250. You can also add a streaming device or two, like a Roku ($30 and up), Fire Stick ($50 and up), or Apple TV ($150 and up).

Lastly and most importantly, don’t forget the cables and surge suppressors. I cannot stress that enough. You will need a high-speed HDMI cable for each device you are connecting to the receiver, plus one high-speed HDMI cable to connect the receiver to the TV. You will also need plenty of speaker wire to connect all of your speakers to the receiver. Personally, I prefer the type of speaker wire that is CL3 rated for in-wall use.

If your speakers are less than 50 feet from the receiver, I’d recommend 16 gauge wire. Otherwise, you may want to consider 14 or 12 gauge instead. If you are connecting a subwoofer, you will need a subwoofer cable, too. There really is no need to spend big bucks for cables, but you also don’t want to go cheap. Monoprice and Amazon are usually good places to find reasonably-priced HDMI, subwoofer, and speaker cables. I will say this, though, about AmazonBasics HDMI cables – I have not had good luck with these cables on runs 10 feet and longer. Remember to use a quality surge suppressor and/or line conditioner to protect your investment but also to keep all those power cords connected to one central spot for easy shut-off in the event of an electrical storm.

Home theater is a fun hobby, and if you start out right, it can bring decades of enjoyment as you upgrade and update your system as both your tastes and technology evolve.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

19 Comments

  1. I think there is some confusion on what a “Home Theater” is vs an elaborate home entertainment system. First of all, if you use a soundbar or a TV in a living room, den or any other part of the house that is a regularly used living space, it is not a “Home Theater”. I see too often people with 55″ TV’s and soundbars setup in their living rooms where their kids play and dogs hang out with a the kitchen within spitting distance calling it a theater. Yes, people try to simulate the experience the best they can but lets not fool ourselves. Here are the best guidelines for a proper home theater if you want to take it seriously. And yes, I am fully aware this will piss off a lot of people because everyone considers whatever they have thrown together to be a real home theater. Hey, if you see Brad Pitt when you look in the mirror, that doesn’t make you Brad Pitt now, does it.

    1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
    2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100″ or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
    3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
    4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12″ driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
    5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
    6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc… capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

    There you have it in a nut shell. No sugar coating, political correctness or worrying about your feelings. Aspiring for a true home theater experience takes a lot of work, a lot of research and a deep pocket. You’re not likely to going to accomplish it in one visit to Best Buy.

  2. Wookie Groomer

    I think there is some confusion on what a "Home Theater" is vs an elaborate home entertainment system. First of all, if you use a soundbar or a TV in a living room, den or any other part of the house that is a regularly used living space, it is not a "Home Theater". I see too often people with 55" TV's and soundbars setup in their living rooms where their kids play and dogs hang out with a the kitchen within spitting distance calling it a theater. Yes, people try to simulate the experience the best they can but lets not fool ourselves. Here are the best guidelines for a proper home theater if you want to take it seriously. And yes, I am fully aware this will piss off a lot of people because everyone considers whatever they have thrown together to be a real home theater. Hey, if you see Brad Pitt when you look in the mirror, that doesn't make you Brad Pitt now, does it.

    1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
    2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
    3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
    4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
    5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
    6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc… capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

    There you have it in a nut shell. No sugar coating, political correctness or worrying about your feelings. Aspiring for a true home theater experience takes a lot of work, a lot of research and a deep pocket. You're not likely to going to accomplish it in one visit to Best Buy.

    Not everyone has the means or a dedicated room to follow your definition. This article was aimed at the novice, someone looking to get into "home theater" and gets easily intimidated and flustered on what to purchase. The Forum gets a lot of requests daily from such people asking for advice, and this was written to try and point them in the right direction. The Forum also published a podcast on Defining Home Theater.

  3. I cannot state this more plainly: @wookie groomer is wrong.

    If you have a 27″ CRT on your shelf and that’s your hometheater., more power to you.

    Wookie, someone once told me something profound and I think it might help you:

    It doesn’t matter what brand of motorcycle you ride. It matters what brand of motorcycle _I_ ride.

    In other words:

  4. I'm of the opinion that the.minimum standard for a "home theatre" is the ability to recreate or simulate a surround sound environment whether it is done virtually through a sound bar or headphones or by use of discrete speakers and a multichannel receiver.

    The room may be a dedicated media room or regularly used living space but creating the surround sound atmosphere of a theater is a must for a "home theatre". Everything else is icing be it screen size, resolution, seating and room treatments,

    My first " home theatre" was a 27" CRT TV with a Prologic sound system. It was just TV until I got that first Prologic receiver with front and back surround speakers. It suddenly felt like a home theater when I watched "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on a laser disc rental and heard that first whip crack that sounded like it was flying over my shoulder and past my ear.

  5. @Edwin-S again missing the point. You can set whatever criteria you want for your own theater. Whenever someone wants to set limits on minimum specifications others can have before they can say they have a home theater they are going to have a hard time here and will find no support at HTF. We’re here to be friendly enthusiasts for all theaters however you define them. Anything else is unacceptable elitism.

  6. Piffle – Setting up rules is silly. "Must have surround sound and a massive woofer."
    I watch mostly movies from the 30's and 40's they didn't have (and don't have) surround sound and they were shown in "real" theaters that didn't have surround sound and massive woofers.

    It is a slippery slope. I could contend that your screen must be acoustically transparent. Your screen must be much larger than a miniscule 100" (what theater were you ever in that had that small a screen) and so on and so on.

    Each of us builds our "special place" that we optimize for our viewing of movies based on our room and budget. Each of us has a hot button for what we like. For some it's all about the sound system. For others clarity of image. I'm a big screen guy. My screen (when in wide screen mode is 10' across (I'd make it bigger if I had a higher ceiling)

    I say it's a home theater and I love it – hope you enjoy yours.:razz:opcorn:

  7. I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

    I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

    We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

    You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

    Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?

  8. Wookie Groomer

    I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

    I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

    We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

    You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

    Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?

    :rolling-smiley:

  9. Wookie Groomer

    I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

    I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

    We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

    You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

    Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?

    I guess we can agree to disagree on this.

  10. Sam Posten

    Wookie, someone once told me something profound and I think it might help you:

    It doesn't matter what brand of motorcycle you ride. It matters what brand of motorcycle _I_ ride.

    I know I’m late to this, but that’s a pretty bad analogy.

    Putting a 27” tube TV on an IKEA shelving unit and calling it a “home theater” makes about as much sense as buying a Schwinn and calling it a “motorcycle” because it has handlebars, a seat, and two wheels.

    I’m actually building a home theater in my basement. My living room is not a home theater. I don’t know why people feel the need to have this all-inclusive mindset as if they’re worried about stepping on toes or hurting someone’s feelings over something so trivial.

  11. Good for you. Build your home theater to whatever standard you want. Come at people and tell them what they consider their home theater, even if it's a mobile phone on the shitter, doesn't qualify, and we are going to have issues. That's it. That's the bottom line. If't not up to you to determine what the minimum specs are for anyone but yourself. If you don't want to help someone who has what you consider a sub par setup that's on you. But if you rag on them, even a little, your input is not welcome here.

  12. Sam Posten

    Come at people and tell them what they consider their home theater, even if it's a mobile phone on the shitter, doesn't qualify, and we are going to have issues.

    You think a "mobile phone on the shitter" qualifies as a "home theater"?

    I guess you're going to have a problem with me, then, because that's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a special interest forum — and I belong to a number of forums.

    This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.

  13. Jeffreybomb

    You think a "mobile phone on the shitter" qualifies as a "home theater"?

    I guess you're going to have a problem with me, then, because that's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a special interest forum — and I belong to a number of forums.

    This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.

    Sam is fond of hyperbole, but it's possible to understand the gist of what he's saying. I don't know what the percentage of people who have a dedicated HT room is, for example. It has to be low. I have one, and it's the biggest room in the house. Most people don't. The point here is, there's no use in declaring some level as being the minimum to qualify as a "Home Theater", whether it's a teenager living at home, with a 32" LCD and a soundbar in his bedroom, or someone with a dedicated laser projection room with CIH and 9.2.8 Atmos. The point is to help others. Not compete.

  14. Is there a reason we have to define what a home theater is? Would it satisfy the purist to call it a home entertainment system if the room doesn't fit certain criteria?

    By the definition below I have a home theater but I have never thought of it as such. It is just my living room.

    1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.

    Lights automatically dim when projector turns on. Projector is only used for watching movies.

    2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.

    1080 Projector with 100" powered drop screen that is programmed to drop when projector comes on. Also programmed to turn off TV at the same time.

    3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
    4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)

    Nine B&W speakers and 2 subs capable of hitting down to 17Hz.

    5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.

    Plenty of seating right in front of the screen.

    6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc… capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

    Floor and window treatments to eliminate sound reflections.

    Does this mean I can start calling it a Home Theater?

    This reminds me of the debate on the Dodge Challenger forum about certain stripes being considered "up badging". Who cares. If someone can only afford a 32" TV and an Insignia soundbar and want to call it their home theater – go for it, it has no bearing on my life. And if I have a quick tip to help them make that Insignia soundbar sound better, I'm going to let them know so they can get even more enjoyment out of their "Home Theater".

    Brian

  15. Jeffreybomb

    This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.

    Well, one of us has to deal with the fallout of people arbitrarily defining what is and what is not a legit home theater and the other doesn't. One of us is working from the owner's definition of what makes a fun and informative forum and the other isn't. One of us has to deal with the ego of posters who think their definition of what makes an acceptable home theater is law and the other doesn't. One of us has 27,000 messages on this forum being as helpful, kind, courteous (and hell, let's throw the other 9 points of the boyscout law in for good measure) as they can be to people of all walks of life with all kinds of budgets, and the other has determined that they can set the minimum specs for a real home theater after posting here 60 times in 10 years.

    If that's flexing, I'm flexing.

    @JohnRice Guilty =p

  16. xx Brian xx

    By the definition below

    Brian

    Mine fails on at least 2 of your 6 criteria. I guess I am not turtle-y enough for the turtle club =(

    Oh wait, that's just my MAIN theater. The other 3 in my house fail on most others. They are still fully capable home theater systems.

  17. 1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
    2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
    3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
    4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
    5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
    6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc… capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

    The funny thing about these lists is they tend to be determined by what the poster has, rather than being determined by some undeniable standard. If I was the type to make iron-clad requirements, which I'm not, I'd tell everyone that if they power their system with a receiver, it's not a real "Home Theater". Interesting that's not on "The List". After all, show me one Movie Theater that runs their system with a receiver. That would achieve the real goal of these types of standards, which is to feed the ego.

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