So you’ve scraped and saved, now you’ve finally gotten together a semi-respectable home theater system. You want even more, but idea of spending another few thousand on new front speakers doesn’t cut it. What can you do?
There are ways to get most out of what you have without breaking bank. There are several areas you can look at to ensure your theater is set up correctly and performing at its best.
Cables and Interconnects – It’s imperative signals are transferred from your source components to your speakers, going through various components along way, with least amount of degradation. Make sure your audio, video and speaker cables are all of good quality and that none are old and corroded. You can use contact enhancer to be sure connection is really good.
Contact enhancers increase contact area of metal to metal connections, such as you find with a typical RCA connection. Because of surface imperfections, most connectors actually make fairly poor contact. As low as 5% of surface area is actually in contact with each other. Contact enhancers fill in minute gaps between two connectors.
One such product is Quicksilver. It uses a silver-based solution, just like some of finest specialty A/V cables. You’ve really got to check this stuff out, it can make a noticeable improvement for not much money.
Make sure to use highest level of A/V connection your system supports. i.e. if you can use a component or DVI video connection from your DVD to your display device then do it. Calibration – Your video display will definitely not look its best without proper calibration. Manufacturers have a dismal record when it comes to calibrating sets at factory. Most are TVs designed to look their best on showroom floor, not in your home theater. In fact, a CRT based rear projection TV can have its life dramatically shortened by improper calibration.
The contrast is invariably set too high to make set stand out in showroom environment. This sells more TVs but causes premature tube wear. (That sells more TVs too, I guess) Proper video calibration will correct problem.
I have used Joe Kane’s Digital Video Essentials for years and Video Essentials laser disc before that. It is a great tool to help you get best out of your home theater. It has all needed video test patterns and explanations on how to properly use them. Pick one up here: http://1touchmovie.com/DVDOnline/Digital_Video_Essentials.html