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Consumer Electronics

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How to Decipher Amplifier Power Ratings

Power ratings for amplifiers measure how well an A/V receiver amplifies (increases) outgoing audio signals. The power rating for an amplifier is measured in watts per channel. This is usually measured [more…]

How to Figure Out How Much Receiver Power You Need

The amount of power needed for your home-theater receiver depends, in part, on the speakers you choose. Given a certain amount of power, different speakers have different [more…]

Evaluating A/V Receivers with Multizone Functionality

Many home theater A/V receivers include multizonefunctionality, which lets your receiver control your home theater and provide music to multiple rooms. A multizone receiver is a good way to get started [more…]

How A/V Receivers Decode Surround-Sound Formats

The A/V receiver in a home theater decodes surround-sound formats in audio and video programming so that sound can be distributed to all speakers. Two kinds of chips in the A/V receiver handle all this [more…]

Looking at the Interface of an A/V Receiver

You interface with a home theater's A/V receiver through the buttons and knobs on the front (the controls) and through the remote control. The A/V receiver controls a lot of things in your system, such [more…]

The All-in-One A/V Receiver vs. Separate Components

If you're deciding between an all-in-one A/V receiver or separate components, consider this: A high-end, all-in-one A/V receiver is probably suitable for most home theaters, but those with larger budgets [more…]

Key Features of the Sony PlayStation 3

Sony’s top-of-the-line gaming console is the PlayStation 3 (or PS3). The PlayStation 3 was designed for high-performance gaming in a home theater with an HDTV display. [more…]

Key Features of the Microsoft Xbox 360

If you're into gaming, consider adding Microsoft's Xbox 360 high-performance gaming console to your home theater. Xbox 360 uses a custom version of IBM's PowerPC chip, with three [more…]

Key Features of the Nintendo Wii

Nintendo, the granddaddy manufacturer of game consoles, has its own high-powered home theater-ready gaming console called the Nintendo Wii. By the way, Wii is pronounced “we” or “wheeee!” [more…]

How to Access Online Games with a Game Console

Connect to online games with a game console. The Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii game consoles have optional online game kits that enable you to connect to the Internet and play [more…]

Additional Uses for Game Consoles

Game consoles such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii aren't just for playing games anymore. These gaming consoles are multipurpose devices that can be the centerpiece of a home [more…]

PC-Based Gaming with Windows Media Center

The easiest way to add PC-based gaming to your home theater is to get a PC that uses the Windows Media Center software. Windows Media Center is included in certain versions of the Microsoft Windows Vista [more…]

Building Your Own Gaming PC

You can build your own gaming PC to add PC-based gaming to your home theater, rather than having to purchase a Windows Media Center PC. With the right hardware, PCs are sometimes even better than gaming [more…]

Adding Extra Game Controllers to a Gaming Console

Whatever game system you choose — console or PC, Xbox 360 or PS3 — you need to use controllers (such as joysticks, wheel controllers, or wireless controllers) to interface with it. That's the whole point [more…]

Checking Out Types of Remote Controls

The remote control is a means to tell your system what to do. The term remote just means you don’t control your home theater equipment manually (by getting up and pushing buttons). [more…]

Remote Control Features to Watch For

Remote controls aren't clunky any more. New remote controls have all sorts of features and options for your home theater: tiny, large, color, touch-sensitive, voice-controlled, time-controlled, and on [more…]

A Sampling of Universal Remote Controls

Universal remote controls work with any electronics device in your home theater by way of onboard code databases. Universal remote controls can have touch screens, backlit buttons, color screens, voice [more…]

Cool Things that a Programmable Remote Control Can Do

Many remote controls for home theater devices can be programmed. Programmable remote controls allow you to create macros that perform several tasks at once. You could program a macro to turn on your TV [more…]

How to Set Up a Central Wiring Panel for a Home Theater

Designate a space for a central wiring panel when setting up a whole-home theater network. The central wiring panel is where you locate the devices that let you connect the home theater to the rest of [more…]

Tips for Setting Up a Hub in a Home Theater

A home theater requires a centralized connection point — a hub — for the A/V gear. For most people, the hub is the A/V receiver. An A/V receiver should be capable of accepting the connections from every [more…]

How to Place the Front Speakers in a Home Theater

Properly placing the front speakers in your home theater is key to creating the desired sound effects. The front speakers — left, right, and center — provide the bulk of the sound you listen to while watching [more…]

How to Position Surround Speakers in a Home Theater

Position the surround sound speakers in your home theater the right way to add a third dimension to your audio. Properly placed surround sound speakers [more…]

How to Position the Subwoofer for Optimal Bass

Typically, you position a subwoofer along the front wall of the room. Moving all of the bass sounds to the subwoofer gives your front speakers the ability to focus on mid- and high-range frequencies. [more…]

How to Choose Quality Cables for Short Runs

When choosing cables to connect your home theater components over short runs, look for decent quality. Choosing quality cables ensures you get the right look and sound you want in a home theater. The cables [more…]

Basics of Audio Interconnects and RCA Jacks

The standard analog audio interconnect is the most common type of short-run cable connector in any home theater. Audio interconnects use a standardized RCA jack. Traditionally, these cables come in pairs [more…]

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