Practical Home Theater:
A Guide to Video and Audio Systems
12th Edition, for 2013, available from Amazon!
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Inside Mark Fleischmann's
Practical Home Theater• How to buy a high-definition video display • How 3DTV works and is it worthwhile? • Interpreting TV, speaker & amplifier specs • The truth about premium cables • Understanding surround standards • How to set up a home theater system • Buying Blu-ray, DVR, satellite & antenna gear • Connection glossary, inputs & outputs • How many surround speakers are enough? • What to check when things go wrong
About the book
How can an average person navigate the maze of audio/video technologies that add up to home theater? For answers, turn to the 12th edition of Mark Fleischmann's Practical Home Theater: A Guide to Video and Audio Systems.
The ultimate answer book, it tells you everything you need to know when shopping for HDTV and surround gear including how to read a spec sheet, how to separate fact from hype, and how to get good value for your money. The book weighs the pros and cons of HDTV display technologies such as LED-backlit LCD, plasma, and both front- and rear-projection. It dispels the confusion surrounding such topics as 3DTV, 1080p, and HDMI. New sections discuss ultra-high-res 4K x 2K video and the ultra-wide 21:9 screen shape. The book explains the differences between Dolby, DTS, THX, and Audyssey surround technologies including the new height- and width-enhanced listening modes. And it covers all formats under the sun including Blu-ray and DVD, proliferating streaming devices, and anything that plays in an iPod.
The book also explores topics often ignored such as buying a DTV antenna, programmable remote controls, speaker mounts, power-line accessories, and cables. A richly detailed connections chapter discusses how to hook up every component. You'll learn how to solve common problems. The glossary is specifically focused on connection-related information. There are even chapters on how to use manufacturer technical support and how to hire a custom installer.
By knowledgably guiding readers through the briar patch of video and audio technology, Practical Home Theater has become the standard reference work for home theater buffs. The current edition is the 12th, with a cover date of 2013. Future annual editions will track changes in home video and audio technology.
About the author
Author of Practical Home Theater and Happy Pig's Hot 100 New York Restaurants, Mark has been a technology writer and expert on home theater for more than 25 years. He currently serves as audio editor, news columnist, and reviewer for Home Theater. He has also served as founding editor-in-chief of etown.com, senior editor of Video Magazine, audio critic of Rolling Stone, and columnist for Audio Video Interiors, DigitalTrends.com, Premiere, and The Village Voice. His writing has appeared in Bloomberg Personal, CrutchfieldAdvisor.com, Details, E-Gear, Entertainment Weekly, The Men's Journal, Newsday, Spin, The Ultimate AV Guide, The Washington Post, and many other publications. He has lived in New York City since 1975. Visit Mark's homepage.
What the critics are saying
"If you've been looking to have all your home theater questions answered in one place, this book will do it."
—Brian C. Fenton, Sound & Vision
"Practical Home Theater ... succeeds as both a primer on existing technology and a preview of emerging technology like digital television.... For less than the cost of a DVD, it'll remove the power of intimidation from your home theater."
—Kevin Hunt, The Hartford Courant
"Seasoned journalist Mark Fleischmann ... loves the subject and glories in its highest possibilities. But he also knows mere mortals are not tech experts and can't afford to spend more for their TV set than their car."
—Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News
" ... A sweeping guide.... Affords much useful information in an accessible tone. Just as any shopper would need to do, he breaks down home theater into the manageable topics of television, surround sound, picture and sound sources, accessories and connections."
—Lawrence B. Johnson, The Detroit News/USA Today
"His somewhat avuncular tone ... will appeal to those who are completely raw to the inputs and outputs of home theatre but appreciate the advantage of some intelligence. If nothing else, you may get to show up the mass-market retailer peddling home theatre, or perhaps hold your own against the specialist retailer."
—Paul Best, The Age (Australia)
"Mark is well qualified to write about this subject.... An excellent primer for consumers, retailers and manufacturers.... It's both enjoyable and educational at the same time."
—Steve Smith, This Week In Consumer Electronics
"If you're interested in building a home theater you'd be doing yourself a favor by checking out [this] book."
—Grant Clauser, E-Gear
Mark's General Store
Recommended Reading: The following books are Mark-approved! Krissy Rushing's Home Theater Design is an interior-savvy look at home theater. Mike Wood delivers authoritatively accurate information in Secrets of Home Theater. For a high end audio friendly perspective on home theater, check out Robert Harley's Home Theater for Everyone. Finally, to separate fact from hype in the controversial subject of cables, consult Stephen H. Lampen's Audio/Video Installer's Cable Guide.
Test Discs: Tune up your system with Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics, the latest version of the definitive tweak disc from video guru Joe Kane. Also useful is the Spears & Munsil High-Definition Benchmark.
Music: The SACD release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is a milestone in the development of multichannel music. Steely Dan, always brilliant in two channels, is now even more brilliant in 5.1 on the DVD-Audio release of Everything Must Go. The surround remix of Layla by Derek & the Dominoes turns a claustrophobic stereo soundstage into a spacious surround soundfield. Nick Drake's songs, always beautifully recorded by John Wood, sound even better in the Treasury compilation. And finally, Ebin-Rose have recorded a beautiful CD that marries Nick Drake-inspired guitar work to a poised, calming soprano.
More Music: Lang Lang's multichannel hybrid SACD of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto is a triple whammy: great work, great performance, great recording. Julia Fischer's performance of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin shows what surround can do for a fabulous solo instrumental recording. Stunning orchestral and choral textures lie in wait in the Three Choral Suites from Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, and King of Kings, classic film scores by Miklos Rozsa performed by Erich Kunzel, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Epics is another compendium of great film scores, by John Williams and others, from Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops. Finally, Entre Amigos by Rosa Passos and Ron Carter is a elegant combination of Brazilian singing and jazz bass in an audiophile Chesky recording.