If you’re building or updating a home theater system, a more realistic task is separating what’s simply trendy at the moment from important home theater trends, which will provide many years of viewing enjoyment.
It’s almost a full-time job keeping up with all of the technological developments which make home theater installations obsolete (at least, in the eyes of some techies) almost as soon as they’re set up. The owner of DTV Installations, John Lysy, does custom home theater installation every day, and here’s his insider view:
Screen Resolution: 4K vs. OLED vs. 3D
Home theater monitors are going to be changing, and fast. 1080p (a type of high-definition video) has been the standard for a while now, and will continue to deliver a nice picture. However, technology has advanced to the point where video with much higher resolution is not only possible, it’s here. Most manufacturers are producing fewer 1080p televisions and monitors in favor of the vastly superior video quality of 4K (whether they call it Ultra HD, Ultra HD 4K, UHD or 4K, it’s all the same thing) and prices are coming down quickly.
Most people won’t be able to fully enjoy the advantages of 4K for a while, since only a few providers (including Netflix and Amazon) stream with the new technology, and 4K Blu-ray players and movies are expensive. But it’s a trend that isn’t just trendy; it will be with us for quite a while, so it makes sense to get ahead of the curve.
What about OLED TV (a different technology with the same basic advantages as 4K) or 3D? They’re both good, but both fall more into the “trendy” category. Most of the industry has chosen 4K over OLED, so your fancy OLED TV may eventually fall into the same black hole as Betamax or videodisc players — nice, but not supported. As for 3D, it’s cool and there’s some impressive (although limited) programming for it; however, it has never really caught fire. And be honest: do you really want to go through life wearing special glasses just to watch a movie?
Audio: Bars or Plates?
Sound bars have been a welcome addition to the home theater scene over the last couple of years. DTV Installations has seen a huge surge in their popularity, because they replace the mass of speakers and wires that have typically been associated with home theater while allowing easy connections to other components, iPods and even satellite radio. They look great, too.
But the newest innovation is one to seriously consider: sound platforms. These may be called plates, platforms, bases or pedestals depending on the manufacturer, but they all function the same way. They act a base for your TV or monitor, and since they have a larger cabinet than sound bars they deliver a much richer high-resolution sound, with so much quality bass that you often don’t need a complimentary subwoofer.
Even die-hard videophiles have given into the Netflix revolution, and have to admit that devices with the ability to bring internet signals into your home theater aren’t just trendy, they’re a trend that will last. Whether you opt for an internet-enabled television, gaming console or Blu-ray player (perhaps the most inexpensive and easiest solution), the sheer volume of terrific content which is now “online only” now make internet-capable home theater systems a virtual requirement.
In the short term, many companies only offer connections from their products to the online services they’ve made deals with, so it’s necessary to know what you’d like to stream before buying. But over time, it’s almost certain that access to all services will become available on all capable devices, because sooner rather than later, the internet may become the world’s number-one source for home theater video.
The home theater system installers at DTV Installations can easily add any of these components to your existing system, or build you a completely new one, so that you’re not just following the trends — you’re ahead of them.