Complete Guide to Home Theater Media

What good is having a home theater system if you don't have anything to play through it? Whether it's choosing between Blu-ray or an upscaling DVD player, or maybe looking at streaming video options, there are many things to consider. You may even want to know how to convert your DVDs to Blu-ray or copy all your movies to a hard drive so you can share between devices like tablet computers or an iPhone. In this guide, we'll show you more about the different home media formats and which ones boast the best technical specifications, plus the many different ways in which content can be displayed on your system or shared with other devices.

Know Your Formats

Not all video is the same since there are so many different ways it can be transmitted. Even the signal coming from a cable or satellite service can be rendered differently on your TV depending on what equipment is used and how it is all hooked up. If you want to get the best possible sound and picture from your home entertainment devices, you should educate yourself on the different mediums of delivery and which ones yield the best output. This will also help you in deciding what equipment to buy.

DVD and Blu-ray

CD/DVD

Right now, in homes all across the world, a war is raging between DVD and Blu-ray formats. Some folks say they can't tell the difference while others swear by the superior quality of Blu-ray. If you can't tell the difference by looking at them, then chances are your equipment is not configured properly or you are using the wrong cabling to connect your components. Either way, learn more about these two formats and also consider that both may soon be obsolete thanks to online streaming.

Media Conversion

Suppose you have a movie that you'd like to play on your computer, or maybe you want to copy that movie onto your iPad or iPhone? There are various ways you can go about ripping, burning, encoding, and copying movies from one device to another, and oftentimes special software is involved. Some movies even include a bonus digital copy to make this all much easier, but sometimes you have to do all the work yourself.

Streaming Content

Many analysts are saying that streaming audio/video content is the future of home media. No longer will you have to worry about keeping stacks of discs around because everything can be accessed online. While this brings the concept of ownership into question, you can't argue with the convenience that streaming services offer because instant access is better than waiting several days for something to be shipped. Learn more about streaming options and how you can start watching movies online today.

Troubleshooting

Your equipment may occasionally act up, like discs getting stuck inside of players or maybe the sound stops working. The cause of this could be anything from equipment failure, overheating, incorrect installation, or simply a loose cable. Before you go out and buy a new device or take yours back to the store, these troubleshooting tips may help get you back into your entertainment quickly and easily.

What Do You Use?

If you watch a lot of movies or TV at home, what kind of service or equipment do you use? I've been quite happy with the performance of Netflix on my PS3 system, and probably use the PS3 more for Netflix than gaming. It's also good on the Apple iPad, though I haven't used the iTunes video service yet because the prices tend to be too high. We'd love to hear about your own home setup, so please use the comment section below to leave us some feedback.

References

  • Image credit: CD/DVD Icon by Malkowtich, royalty free
  • Image credit: Apple TV by Max Lewis, CC-BY