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Top 8 tips on optimising home entertainment

There is a variety of television and home entertainment systems - from compact soundbars to high-end separates - to suit every space and budget. We show you how to get the most of your TV and home theatre equipment.

#1 - SEATING ARRANGEMENTS

Many people overlook this, but the wrong types of seats or positioning can compromise your home theatre experience.
Chairs with high backs block the sound from your home theatre system, producing surround sound that isn’t as immersive as it could be. Seats that are positioned wrongly could also block some of the sound.

#2 - BACKGROUND NOISE

Try to reduce or eliminate background noise. Set up your equipment in a dedicated room if space permits - shutting the door cuts out a lot of ambient noise. Thick curtains reduce outside noise. If possible, set up your home theatre away from sources of background noise, such as air-conditioner compressors or large fans.

#3 - VISUAL DISTRACTIONS

Picture quality is a key factor to consider when buying a TV. Draw the curtains or blinds to reduce on-screen reflection and avoid placing reflective surfaces or bright lights near the TV screen.

#4 - SCREEN SIZE

TVs are the heart of any home entertainment setup. Match the screen size to your distance from the TV. Large TV screens may be too overwhelming if your seat is too close. If the screen is too small, it will be hard to notice details.

#5 - TECHNOLOGY

Home theatre technology evolves rapidly. A system that supports the latest audio and video formats helps “future-proof” your setup, though models incorporating the latest standards such as 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) usually cost more.

#6 - SURROUND SOUND

Speaker positioning is crucial to getting the most out of your home theatre system. Centre channel speakers should be placed just above the TV. Surround speakers should be placed around the height of listeners’ ears. The system’s subwoofer should be tuned and positioned to produce good bass notes that don’t sound too boomy.

#7 - HARDWARE BASICS

Your home theatre amplifier will serve as a hub for other devices, so check that it has enough inputs for all your peripherals. Systems with programmable remotes let users control all devices with just one controller, making it more user-friendly.
A powerful system with big speakers doesn’t make sense if your room is too small. Some systems are optimised for rooms of certain sizes, so measure your listening area before buying your system.

#8 - CALIBRATION

This is the final step in setting up your home theatre. Many systems have built-in software that uses a calibration microphone to automatically set output levels for each speaker. If your system doesn’t have one, set up your audio manually by sitting at your favourite listening position and adjusting output levels for each speaker. Adjust image quality on your TV to produce sharp, vivid colours and deep, rich blacks.

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