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CREATE YOUR OWN HOME THEATER
Putting together a full surround-sound entertainment system is easier than you might think. With the right equipment, your home theater sound can pack the punch of a movie theater or concert-going experience.

With a surround-sound system, you'll be fully immersed in your movies, music and games. Your sound will take on three dimensions, which might include the sensation of aircraft or cars whizzing by, explosions going off all around you, or being in the middle of a huge cheering crowd. You'll hear the clarity of individual musical instruments playing within a mix and feel the full power of movie soundtracks.

Which products make up a full surround-sound home theater system?

The most common home theater system with full surround sound is a 5.1-channel system. The "5" refers to how many speakers will be around you, and the ".1" refers to a standalone subwoofer, which delivers a fuller and deeper bass sound than the speakers can provide. The five speakers will include a pair of front speakers, a center channel speaker and a pair of rear speakers. The speakers can be either bookshelf size or floorstanding models.

As audio technology has advanced, so has the complexity of some home theater systems. We also offer 7.1-channel systems, which add two side speakers to the setup for an even more immersive experience. In addition, we carry 2.1-channel systems. These provide a simulated surround-sound experience in a compact setup, but they are not full surround-sound systems.

In a full surround-sound setup, you will also have a receiver, which includes enough connectors for at least five speakers, a subwoofer and various home theater components. These home theater components can include things like a DVD or Blu-ray player, cable/satellite box or gaming system. Some advanced receivers (or specialized audio products, sold separately) even allow for wireless connection with speakers around your home and with your computer.

How can I build a full surround-sound home theater system?

There are various ways to build a system, depending if you are starting from scratch or whether you already own a component or two, and whether you're looking to buy a package of components or shop for them individually:

1. Buy a speaker system that doesn't include a subwoofer or receiver (buy separately, if needed).
This is a good choice if you already own a subwoofer and receiver and want your speakers in a complete package. It's also a good choice if you want to choose your subwoofer and surround-sound receiver individually.
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2. Purchase a speaker & subwoofer system that doesn't include a receiver (buy separately, if needed).
This is a good choice if you already own a receiver and want your speakers and subwoofer in a complete package. It's also a good choice if you want to choose your surround-sound receiver individually.
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3. Purchase your speakers, subwoofer and receiver as part of an all-in-one system.
If you're starting from scratch, an all-in-one system is a convenient way to get your speakers, subwoofer and receiver in one package. Some also include a Blu-ray or DVD player, but be aware that some do not. However, any Blu-ray or DVD player that you purchase separately will work just fine with any home theater system.
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4. Purchase your speakers, subwoofer and receiver individually.
The advantage here is you get to choose each component separately for the brand, features and quality you want. This will involve purchasing separate front-, center- and rear-channel speakers.
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For any of these setups, you can obviously add components like a Blu-ray or DVD player, gaming system or wireless audio product.