By Azure Nelson,
Published Oct 8, 2009
Audio and video equipment may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of wedding registries,
but a home theater--whether it takes up a corner nook in your living room, the living room itself, or a separate dedicated space--is the place where you and your betrothed can cozy up and enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, music, and home videos from whatever sources you choose. You'll want to feature the components prominently in your registry. That’s why this week’s Amazon Registry Tip
is all about Audio and Video equipment.
Home Theater System
Home theater systems have a lot to offer. Their chief benefits are ease of use, affordability, and compactness: the setup instructions come in the box, it's cheaper to purchase a packaged system than to buy individual elements separately, and they won't take over your home or apartment with their multiple black boxes and thick power cords. The downside? Quality tends to suffer when all-in-one considerations come into play, and not all systems include the video component--a DVD player--built in to the receiver/amplifier. For absolute convenience choose a system with a DVD component.
A TV is perhaps the most basic item people think of when they envision a home theater, and indeed it often serves as the centerpiece of an A/V system. You may own a set already, but if you're thinking true "home theater," you'll want a TV optimized for DVD and HDTV (high-definition TV) playback--in other words, one that has a screen that's 27 inches or larger and composite-video (RCA), S-video, component-video, and HDMI inputs.
DVD players and recorders have replaced VCRs in most homes these days. The key to their success has been the winning combination of quality and convenience, as they offer stellar sound (curtailing the future of home CD players) and superb pictures (spurring to market high-definition and HD-ready TVs).
Most home entertainment components today are compatible with each other and equipment you may already own. The main exceptions in the area of compatibility with your existing equipment are surround receivers. The modern surround (or A/V, for audio-video) receiver is the key to the seamless integration of your home theater, serving not only as a decoder and amplifier for 5.1-channel digital surround sound, but as a router and switcher for all your audio and video components.
Speakers are a crucial part of a home theater, so you'll benefit from thinking carefully about which kind of speaker setup you want. If you're listening in stereo (two-channel) only, floorstanding speakers offer the fullest and most pleasing sound for your video and music listening. If space is a concern, a pair of bookshelf speakers will do nicely. To maximize the benefits of DVD playback and HDTV programming, however, a 5.1-channel surround sound speaker system is the ticket because it delivers the immersive sonic environment that movies and HD programming intend. A 5.1-channel setup includes left, center, right, and left and right surround speakers, as well as a powered subwoofer (the ".1" in the surround spectrum). 6.1 and 7.1 systems are also available, each offering one additional speaker. The same considerations apply for speaker systems as for theater systems, but if you're not too picky about sound, you can easily mix and match center channels, surrounds, and subwoofers to your existing stereo speakers. For the best surround experience, however, we recommend either buying a complete system or assembling your own speaker setup with models from a single manufacturer.