2 August 2013 by Shifali Rao
A 7.1 Home theater system is a full range surround sound set comprising seven speakers and a subwoofer. Although typically meant for large rooms, these sets are now available in smaller sizes to suit your home and are essentially designed to deliver the most true-to-life sound effects like in a theatre. A 7.1 setup requires a good 7.1 channel AVR, and speakers of appropriate power for your room size.
How it works: 7.1 home theatres implement all the technology and include all the information present in a 5.1 speaker set, but unlike a 5.1 channel HT, a 7.1 channel HT splits the surround effects and rear channel sound effects into four different channels: side sound effects to the right and left channels and rear sound effects to the rear sound channels. So you have the main speakers i.e. your center channel speaker placed by your HDTV to deliver dialogues, while the front left and right speakers sit on either side of it for sound effects. Background sound effects are directed to the four rear speakers placed behind the viewer.
Another pretty convenient feature about a 7.1 Home theatre system is that it can be made to have a dual purpose, simultaneously; by using it as a 5.1 channel surround and the two speakers for something else. Say you're watching a movie on your /blu-ray players while someone else wants to watch or listen to music in another room; you could hook up a DVD player (along with the BLu-ray player) to the AVR and use two of the rear channel speakers in another room to watch your DVD.
The best 7.1 home theaters now come with Blu-ray players to play high definition video and DTS or Dolby surround sound with 7 discrete channels and a subwoofer, for high definition audio.