Home cinema: Digital technology brings the magic of the movies into your living room - at a price.

Technology has long promised to "bring cinema into the home" and the advantages are obvious: no journey, no queues, no people talking, no walking in sticky popcorn. Just sit back in your favourite chair, sip whatever takes your fancy, and dim the lights. But can we really recreate the magic of cinema in the living room?

Spectacular sound is something we take for granted at the cinema, although it is only 20-odd years ago that Dolby and surround sound were first introduced (Star Wars persuaded cinemas to introduce the new technology). Now it is possible for home systems to reproduce sound and vision to the standard of a local Odeon. A basic set-up will consist of a screen, a source (video or DVD player), an amplifier and speakers.

One of the problems of home cinema is that the set-up takes over the room. It would not do justice to the high-end system featured here to be competing for space with a fireplace and sideboard in a small lounge. So for those without the open-plan loft, it is possible to upgrade the Philips TV from Nicam stereo to a basic Dolby surround sound system with the addition of two rear speakers.

If picking and choosing components is too complicated and expensive for you, then Pioneer is shortly introducing the NS-DV1, a complete home cinema (around pounds 1,200, available next month, stockists on 01753 789 500). It includes a DVD/CD player, a sub-woofer with built in amplifier and five compact satellite speakers, providing an excellent home cinema for a fraction of the usual cost.

Screen To replicate the cinema experience you need a large, quality screen. Widescreen is preferable in order to show films in their 16:9 ratio (wide and narrow). The Philips Silver Shadow (1) (pounds 1,600, stockists on 0181-689 4444) is a 32-inch widescreen television that uses 100Hz Digital Scan technology to ensure flicker-free images (far superior to standard 50Hz sets). Rear projection models provide even bigger screen sizes, although the quality is not as sharp. Toshiba makes a massive 56-inch widescreen model (around pounds 3,400, stockists 01276 62222).

Player DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) is the reason home cinema looks and sounds so good. It delivers sound and images far superior to VHS tape, and does not suffer from drop out or deterioration. The Denon DVD-5000 (2) (pounds 1,600, stockists on 01234 741 200) has a full selection of DVD features, such as picture ratio adjustment, multi-angle function and subtitles. It is also packed with state-of-the-art components, including a 24 bit/96Mhz converter giving fantastic sound reproduction, and a HDCD decoder to get the best from existing music CDs.

Amplifier The amplifier is used to control the distribution of sound to the speakers. There are now two competing surround-sound systems. Dolby Digital Pro Logic is the established standard and is compatible with most DVD films. The new arrival is dts (Digital Theatre Sound) which some people find superior to Dolby, but currently there are few films available that use the technology. However, it is being promoted by Steven Spielberg, so it seems likely that films will increasingly be formatted for both systems. The Denon AVC-A1D amplifier (3) (pounds 2,000, stockists on 01234 741 200) has decoders to work with either system and is designed to be "future proof" in case of further technological developments.

Speakers For surround sound, speakers can be limited to a front and a rear pair, but to get the full effect (and a good system can literally have you jumping out your seat) you will need a bass bin. The Revox Elegance Home System (pounds 2,000, stockists 01992 573 030) consists of twin front columns (4) and a pair of rear shelf speakers (5), a centre dialogue (6) and active sub-woofer (7) - pumping out 150 watts of deep bass - which, if you are at all limited for space, can be tucked away discreetly in the corner of a room

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

    £30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

    Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

    £34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

    Developer - WinForms, C#

    £280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game