Home Theater Source Component Options

Today we are talking about the options available to play back movies, TV series, sports, and more in your home theater system. You might be surprised to find the old style Blu-ray players still make a lot of sense to have in a great home theater.

Streaming Service Playback Options

The most common source for most people today is streaming. Your choice here will be an Apple TV, a Roku device, an Amazon Fire device, a computer, an Nvidia streaming device, just to name a few. If you are using a smart TV, many of them have a host of built in streaming services. These streamers also allow us to “cut the cord” by using one of the network TV streaming services.

Our advice on streaming devices is to get the one that best suits your ecosystem. If you are an Apple family, an Apple TV is probably going to be a better choice. We do think Roku gives you the most streaming services options and their universal search will show you every place you can find content, letting you know the price of each. We found the Amazon devices tend to drive you towards paying for content when it might be free on another service. Any home theater should have a streaming player and we recommend to go ahead and get a 4K model so you can enjoy 4K streaming.

UBP X800M2 Home Theater Lifestyle

Check Your TV

If you plan to use your smart TV for streaming, make sure it supports the latest surround sound formats. Not all TV’s do, especially the older ones. Even if you connect a Roku or Amazon stick to your TV capable of all the audio formats, you need to confirm the TV outputs surround sound as that will be your limiting factor.

Add Things Up

Streaming is fantastic for movies and TV series. It is easy to go a little overboard though and subscribe to more services than you need. With Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Disney, and more offering a wealth of addictive content, you can quickly run up a pretty large monthly bill. Think about which ones you really need and don’t make the mistake of turning on a free month to catch a particular series and forgetting to turn it off!

Live Sports

If you are a sports fan, and want to stick with streaming, you may have to shell out a few more bucks to see all of your favorite teams. Just like the streaming TV services, sports streaming is growing at a rapid pace with new service providers popping up all the time. We suggest you do a careful analysis of the teams and types of sports you’d like to enjoy to try and keep your monthly bill from getting out of control.

Cable and Satellite TV

The legacy source box that we are actually seeing less and less of in home theaters is a cable or satellite receiver. Both cable and satellite have been promising us more 4K content, but the streaming services are currently winning this battle by a mile. There is also far more content in the new Dolby Atmos audio surround sound format on streaming services.

There is one use case for satellite TV if you are in an area with very limited internet speed. Your picture experience might be better with a satellite feed than a very slow streaming service. Typically if you can get cable service to your home, you can also get high speed internet.

We’ve all probably had a cable box or satellite receiver and if you have not cut the cord yet, you might be keeping one for local content and sports. If you have had yours for a while, be sure and call your provider to upgrade you to the newest model. Many times people will stick with a very outdated cable or satellite box just not knowing they could upgrade if they asked. It's usually free if you sign up for another year or two of service.

kaleidescape home theater

Should You Get A Blu-ray Disc Player?

Many years ago, it was not possible to have a home theater without a DVD player, followed by Blu-ray players. With the advent of high speed internet and a massive increase in streaming services, the physical disc is dying off. Many people think there is no need for a Blu-ray player in a home theater these days.

We would argue you are missing out on a better experience. Blu-ray players are not very expensive compared to the price of other theater components, and if you shop around, purchasing a physical disc in many cases actually costs less than buying it from a streaming service. With RedBox kiosks blanketing the countryside, it's actually even less expensive to rent a Blu-ray from RedBox (typically $2 for a Blu-ray) than it is to rent a movie from Apple, Vudu, Amazon, etc as those are usually $4-$6. You just have to plan a little bit in advance to grab the disc on the way to the grocery store, but it is less expensive and higher quality than streaming.

Blu-ray Discs Offer Better Sound

The real reason to go for a Blu-ray player is the sound. You’ll get full audio quality on a physical disc, which does not always happen with a streaming movie. Most streaming services will try to make the picture look the best and compromise the audio with lots of compression. Plus, almost any Blu-ray disc of a movie has the soundtrack done in either Dolby Digital, DTS, HD-Master Audio, Tru-HD, or Dolby Atmos whereas many streaming services compromise the surround track. When you have the actual disc, you are assured of the best possible sound, and heck, it even costs less in most cases. Our advice is to include a Blu-ray player, and better yet a 4K Ultra HD model, in your theater plans. And if you are adding a gaming console to your system, it’s probably going to have a Blu-ray drive anyway!

You probably spent a lot of time picking out your perfect home theater speaker system. Why not give it the chance to show itself off to you with a Blu-ray disc?

Imagine a Perfect Copy of the Movie

For the ultimate movie lover, in a high performance home theater, an even better option is Kaleidescape. They have been around for decades and manufacture a hard drive system that allows you to legally download and own a bit-for-bit perfect copy of the movie. This can take over an hour even with a high speed connection, but the picture and sound are well worth it.

The bigger your screen size is and the better your home theater speaker system is, the more you will appreciate a Kaleidescape player. A spinning disc still has error correction as the laser reads the disc and puts all the bits back together. With a Kaleidescape download, you have every single detail of the movie, just like the content a real movie theater gets for playback. The sound and picture are even better than Blu-ray and as your screen gets bigger, it's easier to see the difference. Plus their user interface is second to none.

The price of entry for a Kaleidescape system is well into the 4 figure range, but heck, if you’ve got a video projector with a 140”+ sized screen and amazing surround speakers, you want the best!

  1. Sony UBP-X1100ES - 3D Blu-ray disc player - upscaling - Bluetooth, Wi-Fi - Front View Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player w/ HDR
    Special Price $498.00 Regular Price $598.00

  1. Prime Elevation Speaker


SVS Prime Elevation Surround Speakers - Pair
    $399.99 - $499.99

  1. Anthem MRX 720 Multi Channel Receiver Anthem MRX 720 Multi Channel Receiver
    Rating:
    98%
    $2,499.00

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