My wife bought me a Samsung HT-Q70 home theater system from Circuit City for Christmas to hook up to our 40 inch Samsung LCD TV. It’s a nice, middle of the road system with seven components and a maximum total output of 1000 Watts. And it sounds really good when we’re watching movies like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. I love it.
But that’s not the point of this post.
The real point is that my life is filled with more wires than ever. Oh how I long for the days of a single coaxial cable running into my TV set. Now, I have about two dozen wires running all over my living room, and I don’t even feel totally confident that they’re setup for maximum visual and auditory pleasure. You know what I mean?
The situation gets worse. Now we’re being asked to pay upwards of $150 for “higher quality” HDMI wires. Now, I have no doubt that these wires make a big difference to the quality of audio and video. But for God’s sake, when did wires start costing over $100. It seems like the biggest rip-off since bottled water.
The sad thing is, though, that when you buy a home theater system you now have about four choices for “types” cables. You can get composite, component, S-Video + optical audio, or HDMI. Supposedly, HDMI produces the best quality digital signal. In fact, some people tell me that HDMI is the only cable that is capable of giving you true 1080p resolution.
My parents recently got a similar setup. They had Comcast come to their homes to set everything up (I would have set it up, but I recently decided that being the tech geek of the family was taking too much of my time, and I made it clear that everyone is now on their own). Anyway, Comcast setup their home theatre system, but guess what? They did it wrong. They are running the HD signal from the Comcast box to their DLP HDTV via Component cables. From what I understand, component is not capable of carrying true HDTV. Maybe I’m wrong. But I’m pretty sure that their signal is not coming in as HDTV…at least it doesn’t look it.
Apparently, not even the company that is selling you HDTV can get their wires and cables right. But things get worse. The Comcast guy doesn’t have their TV sound running through their 5 speaker system. It’s just running through the TV speaker. That means that the only way they can make use of their home theater system is when they are watching DVDs.
But I digress. The main point of this post is that the current state of home theater systems and the mass of wires they produce is a complete disaster. The average consumer is overwhelmed and not properly informed to make a wise decision. Further, rather than advances in technology resulting in fewer cables, it seems to be resulting in more and more cables for more and more components.
Here’s what we need. The home theater sector is in desperate need of high bandwidth, fully digital, multi-channel, low-cost and low-loss wireless connectivity. I’m fine with plugging units into the electrical outlets, but can someone please get all these components to communicate with each other, wirelessly, out of the box already?