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Home cinema, also commonly called home theater, are home entertainment set-ups that seek to reproduce a movie theater experience and mood with the help of video and audio equipment in a private home.

In the 1950s, playing home movies became popular in the United States as Kodak 8 mm film projector equipment become affordable. The development of multi-channel audio systems and later LaserDisc in the 1980s created a new paradigm for home cinema. In the early to mid 1990s, a typical home cinema in the United States would have a LaserDisc or VHS player fed to a large rear-projection television set. Some people were using expensive front projectors in a darkened viewing room. Beginning In the late 1990s,and continuing through out much of the 2000s home theater technology progressed with the development of the DVD-Video format, Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio ("surround sound") speaker systems, and high-definition television. In the 2010s 3D television technology and Blu-ray Disc have ushered in a new era of home theater once again.

In the 2000s, the term "home cinema" encompasses a range of systems meant for movie playback at home. The most basic and economical system could be a DVD player, a Standard Definition large-screen television with at least a 27" diagonal screen size, and a "home theater in a box" surround sound speaker system with a subwoofer. While a more expensive home cinema set-up might include a Blu-ray Disc player or media center appliance/computer with a 10-foot user interface, a High Definition video projector and projection screen with a 100+" Diagonal Screen size "and a several thousand-watt home theater receiver with five to seven surround sound speakers plus a powerful subwoofer. The most advanced systems are 3D TV enabled home theaters making use of 3D TV sets/projectors and Blu-ray 3D players which use special glasses to aid viewers in seeing 3D movies and sporting events.Home theater means different things to different people. Home theater designs and layouts are personal choices and the only known minimum set of requirements for a home theater are: A television set or video projector CRT(no new models sold in U.S.), LCD, DLP , Plasma display, organic light-emitting diode (OLED), SXRD, Laser TV, rear-projection TV, video projector, etc. (SDTV, HDTV, or 3DTV) at least 27" inches measured diagonally, an AV receiver or preamp (surround processor) and amplifier combination capable of at least stereo sound but preferably 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital and DTS audio,and something that plays or broadcast movies in at least stereo sound such as a VHS HI-FI VCR or LaserDisc Player (no new stand-alone models of either are available. VHS vcr's are usually bundled in combo decks with DVD players) , a DVD player and/or a Blu-ray Disc Player, cable or satellite receiver, video game console, etc. Finally a set of speakers at least two are needed but more common are anywhere from six to eight with a subwoofer for bass or low frequency effects. an inexpensive DIY type home theatre setup in a bedroom consisting of mostly used and mismatched components, note the console television, iPod nano with dock, Xbox 360 and speakers of different brands, (the receiver is made by Sony and the subwoofer is made by Philips.)

The most expensive home theater set-ups, which can cost over $100,000 (US), have expensive digital projectors and projection screens, and maybe even a custom-built screening rooms which include cinema-style chairs and audiophile-grade sound equipment designed to mimic (or sometimes even exceed) commercial theater performance.

Home video is a blanket term used for pre-recorded media that is either sold or hired for home entertainment. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era but has carried over into current optical disc formats like DVD and Blu-ray Disc and, to a lesser extent, into methods of digital distribution such as Netflix.

The home video business distributes films, telemovies and television series in the form of videos in various formats to the public. These are either bought or rented, then watched privately from the comfort of home by consumers. Most theatrically released films are now released on digital media, both optical (DVD or Blu-ray) and download-based, replacing the largely obsolete VHS (Video Home System) medium. The VCD format remains popular in Asia, though DVDs are gradually gaining popularity.

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