Now let’s let our heads go and get ourselves a dream system

If you have plenty of money to spend on your high definition system, the selection of equipment may seem easier. But sometimes it can be even harder, thanks to the wealth of wonderful options that open up with a large budget. We’ll make some suggestions here that ought to keep you on track.
Even if you don’t (yet) have that kind of budget, this chapter can help you keep in mind an eventual end-point while you’re building from modest foundations.

The picture

A high-end system is going to take the ‘cinema’ part of ‘home cinema’ seriously, so you would expect to see a projector with a high quality screen. With current technology, even though some extremely large TVs are becoming available, a projector remains the only way to deliver the necessary picture scale. These days, with full high definition projectors and HDTV and Blu-ray sources, such a large image can look just about as good as it does at a real cinema.

Most people need to back this up with a good ‘direct view’ TV: an LCD or plasma TV. This beats a projector for watching regular standard definition TV and such everyday items as the evening news, or for the kids’ viewing.

Think about a big TV, perhaps even a 165 cm or 178 cm (65 or 70 inch) model, in these circumstances. This would match in scale the kind of sound system you would want and keep the kids happy for picture size. For the really big feature movie evenings you could have a projection screen automatically lower in front of the plasma and the full HD projector lower on a ceiling mount. This provides the best of both worlds.

The sound

For your high definition sound you will be planning around the full capabilities of Blu-ray. So think 7.1 channels, with high quality speakers driven by plenty of power.

As a starting point, choose the speakers that please you (see ‘The Audition’) and work from there. Usually this will consist of a pair of superb stereo loudspeakers, with solid, tonally-similar performers providing the centre channel, surround and surround back sound. The are many options open to you here.