Options for home theater audio solutions have exploded in recent years. Speakers and systems on the market meet every price point, allowing for a staggering array of configuration options. What are the best performing choices? What’s designed for audiophiles not willing to compromise on quality? We outline the common types of audio components you’ll encounter — and those you should look out for — in the home entertainment system market today.


Soundbars are just what they sound like — small stereos that look like a plain rectangular bar. Cheaper than HTIB (home-theater-in-a-box) systems, soundbars offer decent sound quality, but they lack the sonic realism and directional template of multiple-unit surround sound systems.

Stereo Speakers

For a little more money, stereo speakers offer better quality than a soundbar provides. Stereo speakers consist of two high quality speakers that usually sit on the sides of your home entertainment console, on a bookshelf, or on another piece of furniture. Although stereo speakers don’t give you the directional capabilities of a full system, the sound quality is better than with a soundbar.

Complete Surround Systems

THX refers to the audio technology used by audio engineers in theaters. When your home theater system is THX, you have the full sound depth and quality of a professional theater’s audio system. For the true audio junkie, a 5.1 THX system or better is the only way to go. The “5.1” refers to the number of channels the system can receive. The channel number basically means the number of speakers — a 5.1 system typically has center, left and right front, left and right surround, and subwoofer channels. Newer 7.1 channel systems add an extra pair of left and right speakers.

Although soundbars and stereo speaker systems are good options, for audio junkies, 5.1 or the newest 7.1, 9.1, or 11.1 channel behemoths, are optimal.

Ask our Advanced Home Theater Systems professionals about our full list of brands that provide complete surround sound systems. Call us today: (469) 656-4804.