© 2008 Jeffrey Jacobowitz


What You Need.


Multi-Channel Sound.

What to Buy.

Where to Buy.

Hook It Up.


Did you know research has shown that good sound gives the illusion that the picture looks better?  Adding multi-channel or surround sound such as 5.1 (five speakers and a subwoofer) can really up the movie watching experience.  


A basic Multi-Channel Sound System consists of an AV Receiver and six speakers.  The speakers include the left and right front speakers, center speaker, left and right rear speakers, and an optional sub-woofer.  This mated with an HDTV is also known as a home theater system.


Typically budget 2 ½ - 3 times the cost of your HDTV for your sound system.




As for the argument involving the sound difference between cables (and power cables and power conditioners), I wish the reviewers would at least test the sound improvements using double-blind tests, and report whether they could detect a difference via this method.  This adds a little science to an otherwise anecdotal approach.  


The reason double-blind tests are universally rejected is because they produce results indicating expensive cables sound no better than well made inexpensive cables.  I believe this is a sound method for evaluating a cable.  Many experts believe long term listening is required.  You can be sure that a “better” HDMI cable cannot improve picture quality.


For those interested in saving money when buying cables, try PCH Cables.


Cable Guide  - For connecting components together.  Hook Up Guide.





$5000 Sys.

$20,000 Sys.




AV Receiver






There are many .choices for speakers.  Some systems use full range speakers for the fronts and some use small limited range speakers for all the channels and count on the subwoofer for providing the low end.  


Instead of an AV Receiver, higher end systems typically use a separate Video Processor and Amplifier. There are many good systems you can find at the better audio and video retailers.   A few systems I recommend are Marantz, Meridian, and Anthem.  


Signal Type


Connector Type


HDTV Video, Digital


HDMI Connector

HDMI Cable


HDTV Video, Analog


RCA Connectors

Component Video Cable

Multi-Channel Sound, Digital


RCA Connector or TOSLINK Connector

RCA Video Cable or TOSLINK optical cable

Multi-Channel Sound, Analog


RCA Connector

RCA Audio Cable

Speaker Level Sound


1 pair Binding Posts or Spring Terminals

Speaker Wire


What to Buy.