BUYING THE BEST HOME CINEMA & THEATER SYSTEM
WHICH HOME CINEMA SYSTEM DO I NEED?
Recreate the cinematic experience at home with immersive surround sound. Here's how to choose the components you need.
And if you need a little help to set up your home cinema, an installation service is available when you buy in our shops or by phone. Call 03301 230 106, or visit your local John Lewis.
This long narrow unit contains surround sound decoding, amplification and multiple speakers. Position in front of the TV or secure it to a wall. It usually comes with a subwoofer, which enhances bass and sound depth. Subwoofers can be wired or wireless, depending on the brand
- Already own a DVD or Blu-Ray player
- Don’t want the fuss of installing a large speaker setup, but want the same power
- Want something compact and versatile that could hang on the wall
- Also want to listen to music in stereo
Then consider a sound bar.
DVD AND BLU-RAY PLAYERS
Most home cinema systems come with Blu-Ray players,
but if you’re choosing a sound bar or sound base you may need to purchase one separately.
Upgrading to Blu-Ray or Ultra HD Blu-Ray players is also a great
way to get smart functionalities and play your old DVDs in better quality.
We no longer sell DVD players, but if you need to replace yours and you have a large DVD collection, a Blu-ray player will play your DVDs perfectly well - they just won't be of an enhanced picture quality unless they're actually Blu-Ray discs.
Blu-Ray players can play your existing DVD collection, upscaling them so they sparkle on your HD TV. If you buy one with a built-in recorder, you can burn your own high definition videos onto Blu-Ray.
4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Players
These are more like complete entertainment hubs than players. You can experience 3-dimensional sound and cinematic picture quality in the comfort of your home (compatible speakers and TV needed).
A 4K UHD Blu-Ray player is a great way to upscale your DVDs and standard Blu-Rays (even from 2D to simulated 3D), plus, with built-in Wi-Fi you can access a range of features and online content - from gaming apps to favourites such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube.
2.1 vs 3.1.2 What do the numbers mean?
The first number refers to the number of speakers in the actual soundbar
The second number refers to the number of subwoofers
The third number details the number of upward-firing speakers. Not all soundbars have this, but they do, they support Dolby Atmos to create an immersive sound experience.
Front left and right channels deliver dialogue
Separate surround speakers reproduce on-screen sounds and surround effects
The LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel provides low frequency bass for sound effects such as explosions
5.1 surround speaker system
- A six-channel system of five speakers and a subwoofer
Very precise cinema-style surround sound
Front left centre and right channels deliver dialogue and on-screen sounds
Twin left and right surround channels provide the surround effect
Dolby Digital and DTS are forms of 5.1 surround sound
7.1 surround speaker system
Two additional speakers
Eight channels made up of seven speakers and a subwoofer
Creates a more immersive sound, especially in larger rooms
A long narrow unit containing surround sound decoding, amplification and multiple speakers
Versatile - position in front of the TV or secure it to a wall
Usually comes with a subwoofer, which enhances bass and sound depth
Subwoofer can be wired or wireless, depending on the brand
Thicker than sound bars, with an integrated subwoofer
Position underneath the base of the TV
Boosts the built-in TV sound
Ideal if space is limited or if you prefer a more discreet sound-enhancing option
- A loudspeaker which generally sits above or below your TV
Reproduces dialogue and other front-oriented sound effects
Coaxial digital cable
Used to connect a DVD player to a home cinema surround system
Carries the 5.1 signal to be decoded by the receiver
A sound format that decodes audio encoded in two-channel Dolby Surround for four-channel playback
Channels consist of Front Left/Right, Centre (mainly for speech) and Rear (for sound effects)
Offers superb three-dimensional sound
Good sources of Dolby Surround material include TV broadcasts, video games, or DVDs of older films (which don’t carry 5.1 audio).
The latest sound format that uses superior surround sound technology
Isolates sounds and effects come from every angle, including from above
Available in a number of sound bars and TVs with sound base units
5.1 and 7.1 become 5.1.2 and 7.1.2 if you add two speakers for height
5.1 and 7.1 become 5.1.4 and 7.1.4 if you add four speakers
A type of 5.1 surround sound created by Digital Theater Systems
Uses less compression than Dolby Digital, so it gives a slightly clearer sound
Optical digital cable
- Connects a DVD player to a home cinema surround system
Carries the 5.1 signal to be decoded by the receiver
Also known as TOSLink
The heart of the home cinema
Decodes and amplifies the 5.1 signal (Dolby Digital or DTS) from the DVD player
Usually features a Dolby ProLogic decoder for extracting surround sound from stereo sources
May also have the DVD player built-in
A loudspeaker which reproduces very low frequency sound i.e. bass
- Reproduces sound effects
When used as a pair, position them above and behind the sofa
- Provides a surround sound effect while only using two front speakers
Normally found on televisions or all-in-one systems
- A DVD or Blu-Ray recorder that includes a hard drive
Transfer your saved and edited programmes from the hard drive to DVD
Other features include memory card slots, chasing playback, simultaneous record and playback
Built in to some of our home cinema products, check individual product pages
Stream music, podcasts, radio, and access Google Play
- Create a seamless audio experience throughout your home, using your Wi-Fi network
A multiroom system can begin as small as you want it to be, with one compact speaker for example
As time goes on simply pair up additional speakers of the same brand
You can group selected sound bars, bases and speakers to create your own 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 cinematic sound system - check individual product pages for compatibility
Bluetooth & NFC (Near-Field Communication)
- Bluetooth and NFC connectivity allows you to play music wirelessly
Use your device to connect to your home cinema system speakers
Play from streaming services such as Spotify and Soundcloud
Pair up via Bluetooth or connect NFC devices with one touch
NFC enabled speakers have a ‘touch-point’ whereby you simply ‘tap’ your enabled device to establish a connection
Quicker than Bluetooth, NFC has the ability to sync multiple speakers to create a stereo sound
Bluetooth connections are seamless and very high quality
Acoustic beam technology
- Mixes and delivers sound so it appears to come from the exact point where the action happens on screen
- Allows sound to flow through the pipe, which makes each hole act as an individual speaker. Theis helps to control the direction that the sound travels
- Creates a surround sound and panoramic experience
What are my delivery options?
Standard delivery of your home cinema or DVD / Blu-Ray player is free, within 5 working days. You'll be offered delivery slots at checkout.
Delivery by our approved supplier means your delivery will be made by the manufacturer, or their chosen courier, and they will arrange delivery with you.
Click & collect is free for orders of £30 and over.
When you buy your home cinema in our shops, we can:
Unpack and connect your home cinema system
Set the right sound levels
£55, or £29.99 if you include this with another TV installation service.
Does your room have wooden floorboards? Consider laying down a rug
or hanging up thicker curtains to help absorb audio and stop sound distortion.