I invite moms who work at companies to share their information about technology from the “moms” perspective. On my search to learn more about the digital living room, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a mom who works at Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
**Guest post by Robin L. Selden – Senior Vice President, Marketing, Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
I’m not a complete novice when it comes to technology – I came to Dolby with more than 20 years of experience in the PC technology and digital media industries – so why did I have PC speakers (though they were nice) attached to my beautiful 50” plasma HDTV?
I knew what good surround sound was like in the movie theater. My family is a huge fan of the movies and my husband and I often go with our 17 year old daughter and 15 year old son to watch the epic films on the big screen. But we also rent a lot of movies at home and I knew that it never sounded quite like the theater. So after I heard a fantastic demo at Dolby of a crystal clear 5.1 home theater setup, it finally hit me… I could have a similar surround sound experience in my home. And not just with movies, but with video games and sports too!
The entire family was involved in developing our surround sound plan. We started by deciding which room would be dedicated to the home theater setup. We rearranged a big space in the house that previously doubled as an office and exercise room, and moved the HDTV to the middle of the room as the centerpiece. With the help of some Dolby experts, who were thankfully at my disposal, we selected a high-end audio video receiver (AVR) (with Dolby Volume to curb the “turn that down” family feuds) and a high-end 5.1 speaker system that looked gorgeous and fit the space well.
But what about aesthetics? To figure out where the speakers should go, I used Dolby’s Home Theater Speaker Guide to aid in my husband and my rounds of discussions about the back left and right (surround) speakers in particular. He wanted to mount them on the wall. I did not. So we ended up putting them on stands, but positioned them far enough away so they would neither be an eye sore nor compromise the experience.
Recommended 5.1 speaker placements for your home theater:
With our new surround sound system, football Sundays have never sounded so sweet. Football is where the real entertainment is at for my family (baseball too), and now we can hear the crowd roar behind us, the hard hitting of helmets and pads through the subwoofer and the piercing penalty whistles through our center channel. It’s amazing how broadcast television, especially in sports, sounds so awesome in surround sound. I never really expected this, so it’s a nice surprise. Our family looks forward to football Sundays even more now since we got the new surround sound system.
We look forward to Friday nights too, which are reserved for our family movie nights (family time that’s a bit more appealing than sports for my daughter, who just started driving and has one foot out the door). It’s like we’re at the movies, but without my kids having to hang out with their parents in public!
Since installing our new setup, my son has also become obsessed with playing Call of Duty on the PS3 in surround sound. He loves that he can hear the enemy creeping up from behind and the ambient sounds of dogs barking, gun fire and explosions that bring realism to the game.
And when the kids are gone, my husband and I love watching something like Anita O’Day in Jazz on a Summer’s Day from the Newport Jazz Festival on Blu-ray.
Surround sound has brought a new perspective to the way my family enjoys entertainment at home – from sports, to movies, music, and even games. I realize now that we were missing an important element of the entertainment experience and I can never go back. Sound really does matter.
Here are some surround sound tips I learned from my family’s experience:
- First, give your theater pride of place. Then work all other furniture out around the location.
- You can get quality surround sound at an affordable cost. Some great brands make very nice AVRs for around $300. Be sure to get a 5.1 speaker setup (Center, L/R front, L/R rear, and a subwoofer). Don’t be afraid to invest in an entry level speaker system at an affordable price if it’s a good brand. Good brands never skimp on quality even on their low end.
- Put the speakers in the right locations that work for your home, but be sure to angle them correctly to give you a sweet spot from your listening area.
- Lastly, calibrate the system to make sure you’re getting the best possible experience from your system.
This is not a sponsored post, it is just an answer to my open invitation to moms at companies to share their information with my community.