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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Chapter 2. Video Components

Hacks 9–20

No matter how you cut it, home theaters are about great pictures. You can have killer audio, amazing décor, and even an old-fashioned popcorn machine, but nobody will care if your picture is fuzzy and dull. That means you need to spend lots of time getting the right components, and making sure they perform at their very best. This chapter will help you make the right selections, and get them performing at their peak levels.

Get the Right TV

Getting the right television to provide that picture isn’t trivial, but here are plenty of good tips to help you pick the right unit.

Figuring out which TV to buy, even with a fixed budget, is worth some explanation. The first decision you need to make relates to the aspect ratio [Hack #13] . If you’ve got less than $700 or so in your TV budget, this might be a moot point; you’re going to have to spend at least that much to get into the widescreen TV market. You might consider saving up a little longer and making sure you can afford a widescreen TV, for several reasons:

  • You’ll get to watch movies in the closest possible format to how they were filmed, without losing much of the picture to the screen edges.

  • Most HD broadcasts [Hack #28] are coming in 16:9 these days, so your favorite episode of CSI will look right on your TV.

  • Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube all support widescreen TVs; you simply can’t beat Halo on a 16:9 screen.

  • Widescreen TVs invariably come with the highest selection of inputs for video ...

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