The classic home cinema vs. all-in-one: The test

By Posted 3 Jul 2011, 11:49

Last month we looked at some things you can do to get the most out of that nice flat screen TV you may have. We briefly touched on ways to improve the audio to make those movies stand out more. So today we are going to have a more in-depth look at the classic home cinema set up vs the all-in-one, and ask you our readers what you prefer.

Many decisions need to be made before deciding between the classic home cinema systems i.e. an AV receiver, and an all-in-one. For many consumers this will be the cost as well as the size of the room where they need the sound system in. A home cinema in a box solution is often the cheaper option, and normally contains all the components to get you up and running.

They can be found in most retailers including the likes of Walmart and are less likely take up so much room on your rack where you may have the TV situated. You will normally find the system having a built-in DVD player with a 5:1 speaker configuration which includes the sub-woofer. They can even come with the required speaker cables and easy to use instructions in getting everything set up.

The speakers with these systems can quite often easily be mounted on universal stands, which maybe not the best option but more affordable. These types of systems do have their disadvantages though compared to the separate option. The speakers will be a huge improvement over the built in ones of the TV and have quite impressive sound, but can’t compete with what can be had via separates.

Some of these systems can also be restricted in how much extra equipment can be connected to them, such as games consoles and Blu-ray payers. Another problem with these systems is if the built in DVD player suddenly decides to give up the ghost, this could result in it being ready for the trash can. But despite all of this an all-in-one system can offer a really good solution to the often weedy speakers found on some flat screen TVs.

Now if you have the space and finance’s for an AV receiver this will be your best option to choose for sound quality, and for future proofing the system. Many modern AV receivers now have internet connectivity and can have many different devices connected to them. You also get the choice of a vast selection of speakers systems to connect to it, and most of them these days’s have the capability of up to 7:1 surround sound.

Even if you don’t require 7:1 with your TV you can use the spare channels for audio in another room or area. With the speakers that can be purchased for these receivers not only are they normally better quality in terms of sound, you can purchase better quality cables to deliver audio to them.

A good quality speaker cable need not cost the earth to improve on the often used bell wire which is supplied with an all-in-one. The speakers you may buy for an AV receiver will benefit from their positioning and how they are mounted. If you have the space and money some good quality dedicated stands will further improve the sound.

But this is where the classic system setup becomes expensive as costs can easily mount up. If you want to have this system but are worried about cost, try and spend the most you can afford on the receiver first. You could always add some secondhand speakers to start with and then upgrade when finance’s allow.

Whatever system you decide to have be it for financial or space reasons, you will notice a vast improvement from the sound you get from your TV. Take part in our poll below and tell us what system if any you have.

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