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Wireless Surround Sound Systems - Are Wireless Surround Sound Systems the Right Choice?

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Wireless surround sound systems have been around for a long time, but is only recently that the technology has advanced enough to be practical. Even still, there are shortcomings to wireless systems that dissuade most audiophiles. For others, all of the cables and wiring involved in a home entertainment center is just too much to deal with. For them, the idea of trading off some sound quality for the convenience is a deal too good to pass up.

However, before rushing out and purchasing one of those new wireless surround sound systems, it is a good idea for the consumer to take a few moments and at least arm themselves with the basics. Just like the wired alternatives, wireless surround sound systems come in many different flavors, which can make the choice a difficult one for the average consumer. In order to make the choice a little easier, let us examine the core issues.

The most important issue is that the customer must enter this purchase with realistic expectations. Wireless speakers transmit their signal via radio waves or infrared light. That technology has evolved greatly and today these devices are high quality, but they are still not up to the caliber of traditional high-performance speakers. This is definitely not the right choice for the audiophile. Another negative is that wireless surround sound systems are not completely wireless. In many cases, it is only the rear speakers that are wireless, and even they have at least one wire, the power cable that connects to the outlet.

If the consumer already has a wired surround system, then there is a good chance that they will just be able to purchase the wireless portion of the system and integrate those new pieces into the system that they already have. If the consumer is buying their first system then they will want to begin by familiarizing themselves with the core components that they do have, such as the television, home theater PCs, DVD players, etc. This information, like available connections, will be extremely important during the shopping process.

For the first time buyer, it is likely best to select one of the wirelesses surround sound systems available in complete kits. This takes a lot of the chore out of the process for many people and these kits are priced from $100 to several thousand so that they fit any budget. Price will be relative to the component quality, number of speakers, wattage, space filled, and amount of wireless capability. Common mid-range systems today are very good quality. They generally include a receive that often doubles as a Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player, a subwoofer, and enough speaker power to fill the average living room.

The speaker count in a pre-packaged system will often be five, and placed in strategic locations gives the listeners Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound. An increasingly popular setup in prepackaged systems is the 7.1 orientation. This indicates two additional speakers for seven satellite speakers total. However, since most DVDs are mixed for 5.1 speaker systems, the additional speakers are often redundant. So consumers would be wise to stick with 5.1 wireless surround sound systems unless they know for sure they will take advantage of the additional speakers.

For the consumer who chooses to piece their system together piece by piece, there are some key points that they must take into account. First, ensure that the receiver provides enough power for the speakers, and that it is wireless or wireless-compatible. Generally, 100 watts per channel is a good rule of thumb by which to measure all components of the system. The buyer will also need to make some additional considerations if they plan to use the system for music as well as movies or even exclusively for music. In either case, the 7.1 speaker setup will provide actual benefit.

Another rule of thumb is that the greater wattage the more dynamic and full-bodied the sound will be. This is admittedly a bit of an oversimplification but it is a good rule to follow for the non-audiophile, and can be used to make a decision between two comparable wireless surround sound systems. Keep in mind the aesthetic nature of the choices. These boxes will be hanging on the walls of a central room in the house, and it is worth it to pay a little more for something that is attractive.

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