With the latest innovations readily available to consumers and many boasting an affordable price-tag, an increasing number of homes are becoming technologically advanced. One measure of this trend is the popularity of home entertainment systems, including home theatres.

"Most customers want to have a home theatre as soon as they decide to buy a flat-panel TV," says Jimmy Patel, General Manager, Jacky's Electronics.

"Many customers are willing to invest not only on products with digital picture quality but optimal sound quality as well. It's all about having the experience of complete home entertainment."

"A good picture on your TV without the required sound effects does not provide the environment and setting to enjoy movies," says Vincenzo Ventricelli, Director of Customer Marketing, Middle East and Africa for Philips Consumer Lifestyle.

"So if you want to have
the right sound separation and movie effects, you need a home theatre system. Most new home theatres on
the market come with HDMI 1080p output, which is the new standard
in digital connectivity and a single cable solution for picture and sound. Basic systems are quite easy to set up but
if you buy a more advanced one,
the technician from the company that [has] supplied it can set it up for you."
However, there is another option.

For those who are venturing into home entertainment for the first time, professional advice is available at many of the major electronics outlets in the region. "Most organised retailers offer delivery and installation and pre-sales — the experienced and knowledgeable sales staff guide the customer to choose the right flat-panel TV and home theatre to suit their requirements," says Patel.
For consumers working within a set budget, the best option is to buy equipment with multiple features and that have flexible upgrades.

"Key pieces consumers should consider purchasing are a TV and
a home theatre system including
a DVD player with a built-in amplifier, subwoofer, centre, side and rear speakers," says Ventricelli. Other products to choose from to enhance
the entertainment system include multiple-media connectivity such
as HDMI ports for Blu-ray players and games consoles, USB interfaces, a VGA port for PC and a module slot with
a standard interface that enables easy reception of pay-per-view TV.
"The main cost would be the
flat-panel TV and the accompanying audio system," says Patel.

"Home theatres have various options such as wireless, ultra compact with adjustable tall boy and satellite speakers. A true audiophile may want to go for separate components and a top-of-the-range lifestyle system. In general, there are various brands available in the market
to suit all customer needs and requirements."

Ventricelli adds, "You can buy very professional and expensive equipment that would cost about Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 or you can opt for a very basic home theatre unit for as little
as Dh600."
Another popular option for the
techno-phobic customer is home
theatre in a box (HTIB), which comes with a user-friendly guide to ensure
a seamless set-up in the customer's home.

"Delivery and installation is free and is done at the customer's premises when he purchases the TV along with the HT," says Patel. "If customers need some tailor-made special installation then that costs a nominal fee after a site visit is done by the technician."
"Philips also provides an option for consumers to buy a single unit with
a subwoofer called Ambisound that provides 5.1 channel surround sound from a single unit, eliminating the need for an elaborate set-up," says Ventricelli. Indeed, industry experts believe the emergence of Philip's HTS 8140 Sound Bar DVD home theatre system, which is part of the new Philips'
design collection, will take the home entertainment industry to the next level.

The system includes touch-screen controls for easy playback, an integrated DVD player and one single speaker solution for 5.1 multi-channel
surround sound.
"Home entertainment is not just about good picture but also hi-power quality sound to engage you in action while watching," says Patel. "With this system, you don't compromise on looks or sound quality and enjoy maximum home entertainment experience." n