A home theatre takes the movie-going experience into the comfort of your own home. However, for many, the prospect of setting up a home cinema system is frightening. Even so, with the correct set of principles, it may be rather stress-free.
This tutorial covers some fundamental rules for putting together a home cinema system. The extent, combinations, and connection choices vary depending on the number and type of components, as well as the size, shape, lighting, and acoustic features of the room.
What You Need to Set Up a Home Theater System
The first step is to determine which components you will require for your home theatre. A list of standard components to consider is provided below.
- receiver for home theatre (aka AV or surround sound receiver)
- TV or video projector with a screen
- Antenna, cable, or satellite (optional)
- Compatible with one or more of the following disc players: Blu-ray Disc, DVD, or CD (Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray Disc, DVD, or CD)
- Media player (optional)
- DVD recorder, DVD recorder/VCR combo, or VCR (optional) (optional)
- Loudspeakers (the number depends on the speaker configuration) (the number depends on the speaker layout)
- Speaker wire and subwoofer connection cables
- Wirecutter (for speaker wire)
- Label maker (optional)
- Meter of sound (optional but advisable)
The Home Theater Connection Path
Consider home theatre equipment connections to be roads or pipelines that transport items from manufacturers to distributors. Source components including cable boxes, media streamers, and Blu-ray players are the beginning points, and the TV and loudspeakers are the ends.
It is your responsibility to route audio and video signals from the source components to the speaker system and video display, respectively.
Connecting Home Theater Components
A basic setup may consist of a television, an AV receiver, a Blu-ray or DVD player, and a media streamer. For 5.1 surround sound, you’ll also need at least five speakers and a subwoofer.
The diagram below provides a general overview of how to link these various components.
The Home Theater Receiver
Most source connectivity and switching, as well as audio decoding, processing, and amplification to power the speakers, are handled by the home theatre receiver. Most audio and video components flow through the home theatre receiver.
Sending video from the home theater receiver to the TV:
Connect the TV monitor output of the AV receiver to one of the TV’s video inputs. (Ideally, this connection will be HDMI, the simplest and most effective connection for most systems.) It displays the video image from all video source devices connected to your home theatre receiver on your television screen. The AV receiver must be turned on, and the appropriate source input must be selected on your television display.
Sending audio from the TV to the home theater receiver:
Connecting the TV’s audio outputs (if it has them) to the TV or Aux audio inputs on the AV receiver is one technique to get sound from a TV into a home theatre. Another option is to use Audio Return Channel (HDMI-ARC) if your TV and receiver support it. You can watch sources linked to the TV and listen to stereo or surround sound audio through your home theatre system using either way.
TV or Video Projector
If you receive TV programming with an antenna, connect it straight to your TV. Check that your smart TV is connected to the internet.
If you receive programs through a cable or satellite box, connect the incoming cable to the box. Then you have two choices for connecting your cable or satellite box to your TV and the rest of your home theatre system.
First, connect the box’s audio/video output straight to the TV. The signal is then routed to your TV via your home theatre receiver.
If you have a video projector instead of a TV, the setup procedure is different.
As for the TV or projector screen size, that’s a personal option. Even little mini-projectors can generate large images. In our perspective, the larger the screen in a home theatre, the better.
Blu-ray Disc, DVD, CD, and Record Players
The connection setup for a Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player is determined by whether your home theatre receiver has HDMI connectors and whether those connections can access both audio and video data. If this is the case, connect the HDMI output from the player to the receiver and then to the TV.
If your home theatre receiver only supports HDMI pass-through, you may need to connect the player to the receiver via extra analog or digital audio (optical or coaxial) connections. If you have a 3D Blu-ray Disc player or 3D TV, you have additional connection options to choose from.
Connect one of the DVD player’s video outputs to the AV receiver’s DVD video input. Use the HDMI output if your DVD player has one. If your DVD player does not have an HDMI output, connect it to the AV receiver using another accessible video output (such as component video) and a digital optical/coaxial cable.
Make that your media streamers, such as a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV, is connected to the internet Connect the streamer to your TV in two methods, both utilizing HDMI, to view streaming content from these devices on your TV:
- Connect directly to the television.
- Connect to the home theater receiver, which will then route to the TV.
Notes For VCR and DVD Recorder Owners
Although VCR production has ceased, and DVD recorder/VCR combos and DVD recorders are uncommon, many individuals continue to use them. Here are some ideas for incorporating those gadgets into a home theatre setup:
- Connect the audio/video outputs of the VCR or DVD recorder to the home theatre receiver’s VCR video inputs (if you have both a VCR and DVD recorder, use the AV receiver’s VCR1 connections for the VCR and VCR2 connections for the DVD recorder).
- If your home theatre does not include inputs labeled specifically for a VCR or DVD recorder, any set of analog video If your DVD recorder has an HDMI output, connect it to the home theatre receiver using that option.
- You can also connect a VCR or DVD recorder straight to the TV and then let the TV transfer audio to the home theatre receiver.
Connecting and Placing Your Speakers and Subwoofer
Place and connect the speakers and subwoofer to complete your home entertainment setup.
- Place the speakers and subwoofer, but make sure they are not flush against any walls. Use your ears or this guide to determine the best location for all speakers, including the subwoofer.
- Connect the AV receiver to the speakers. Make sure the speakers are connected to the correct channel and that the polarity is accurate (positive and negative, red and black).
- Connect the AV receiver’s subwoofer line output to the subwoofer.
- Use the receiver’s built-in test tone generator, room correction, or automatic speaker configuration technologies to further optimize your speaker setup. This work can also be aided by the use of a low-cost sound meter. Even if your receiver includes an automatic speaker setup or room correction system, having a sound meter for manual adjustment is a good idea.
Speaker Setup Examples
The speaker configurations shown below are common for a square or somewhat rectangular room. You may need to change the positioning to account for other room shapes and acoustic variables.
Front center channel
Place right in front of the television, either above or below it.
A place to the left or right of the television.
Left and right main/front speakers:
Place about a 30-degree angle from the center channel, equidistant from the center speaker.
A place to the left and right of the listening position, just to the side or slightly behind it—about 90 to 110 degrees from the center channel. These speakers can be elevated above the listener.
Home Theater Setup Tips
Here are some helpful recommendations to help you get started:
- Pay particular attention to the connection and setup choices in the owner’s manual and pictures for your components.
- Have the correct audio, video, and speaker wires with the proper lengths. Consider utilising a label printer to identify the connections and wires as you go through the connection process if you need to make modifications.
- The THX Home Theater Tune-Up App makes it simple to double-check your initial TV or video projector picture settings and ensure your speakers are properly connected.
- Here are some troubleshooting tips if the setup effort becomes burdensome and nothing appears to be “correct.” If that fails to address the problem, don’t be afraid to pay someone (such as an attorney).