Home Theatre Power Manager. The idea of a Home Theater is to recreate the cinematic experience in our homes. For this, we add large displays (TVs or Projectors), Hi-Fi Surround Sound Systems, Blu-ray or DVD Players, Streaming devices, nice and comfy Recliner Seats, and many more. Different people have different definitions of Home Theatres. Some use their living room and upgrade it with a good sound system, while others dedicate a special space, the Home Theatre Room. Irrespective of setup, every home theatre setup must give significant importance to the Power Supply. It is where the Home Theatre Power Manager comes into play.
Home Theatre Power Manager is a special device that takes “dirty” electricity and converts it into clean, noise-free power. With this power, the expensive equipment in our home theatre room will work safely and have a very long life.
Everyone loves a good home theatre. It transforms the movie-watching experience to a different level, right in the comfort of your home. But to get that experience, you need to invest in expensive electronics. These include AV receivers, Multi-channel Surround Sound Speakers, floor-shaking subwoofers, projectors, TV (or a screen), and several other devices.
If you plug these hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of equipment into a regular electrical outlet, you will be in for a “shocking” surprise. Why plugging expensive electronics directly into outlets is such a bad idea? Our household electrical outlets can be subject to everyday over voltages and under voltages.
If the frequency of these events is high, it puts a significant toll on the life of the electronics inside the equipment. Apart from these everyday events, there are occasional power spikes and surges, either from lightning strikes or similar extreme sources, which can cause severe damage to your equipment.
Noise in Electricity and Dirty Electricity
Any unwanted signal is Noise. We usually hear this term when we talk about sound. But even in electricity, there exists Noise. One of the sources of Noise in household electric supply is Switching Power Supplies.
Small and medium electronic devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, etc., need DC Power Supply. Nowadays, we usually do this by converting the AC Supply from the mains into DC Supply using special devices known as Switching Power Supplies.
While they convert mains AC Supply and provide DC Supply to different electronic devices, some inefficient power supplies introduce Noise back into the household electrical circuits. Some other sources of Noise in electricity are radio signals, EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), weather, and several other external sources.
If the electricity we get from our outlets has a lot of Noise or is unreliable, then we call it Dirty Electricity.Apart from the internal sources such as EMI, Switching Power Supplies, etc., external sources such as voltage fluctuations, lightning strikes, spikes, and surges can also contribute to Dirty Electricity.
Irrespective of the source, dirty electricity is a problem and can cause significant damage to the electronics inside the equipment. When we say “equipment,” it doesn’t have to be Home Theatre related but all sorts of electronic devices and appliances.
What is a Home Theatre Power Manager?
A Home Theatre Power Manager is a specialty electronic device that protects expensive audio, video, and other home theatre equipment from dirty electricity. It converts “dirty” electricity into clean, stable, and noise-free electricity.
It further improves the performance of the devices (especially sound systems), increases the longevity of the electronic components, and ensures a reliable output from all the devices. Home Theatre Power Manager smoothens any irregularities in the incoming mains’ power supply. It also filters surges, spikes, and dips in voltage. Additionally, it can clean the power supply from EMI.
As a result, Home Theatre Power Managers are also known as Home Theatre Power Conditioners. If you take a look at some popular Home Theatre Power Manager modules, they look very similar to DVD or Blu-ray Players. But if you turn it around, you can see several outlets where you can plug different devices. These outlets are isolated from each other (at least separated in banks) and can protect from spikes, surges, Noise, and other anomalies that are usually harmful to sensitive equipment.
Modern power managers have several safety features, but Automatic Voltage Monitoring, or AVM, is very important. It continuously monitors the incoming AC Voltage for over-voltage, under-voltage, momentary spikes, etc., and automatically regulates the voltage. If the power manager senses the voltage as “unsafe,” it can disconnect and connect the device only after safe voltage levels are returned.
Advantages of Power Manager
A home theatre power manager’s first and obvious benefit is protecting your expensive electronics from dirty electricity. Be it surges, spikes, blackouts, Noise, EMI, etc., Power Manager produces a clean and safe power supply for your electronics.
As a result of the “safe” power, the electronic components inside the devices or appliances feel less stressful and can last significantly longer. With the reduction in Noise, amplifiers do not amplify unnecessary Noise. As a result, it will increase the performance of the sound system.
You can control at least eight devices with decent home theatre power managers. If you want to protect more equipment, you can add a power conditioner or buy a slightly better one to handle more devices. As the power supply to all these devices comes from a single source (the power manager itself), wiring, cabling, and managing those cables becomes very easy.
Do You Need a Home Theatre Power Manager?
It is a tricky question. But how can someone not recommend special equipment that protects other electronic devices? Before answering the question, let us look at the average cost of a typical home theatre power manager. Popular brands such as Panamax and Furman have a wide range of Power Conditioners that start at $200 and go up to $5,000 or more.
Protect from Dirty Electricity
Now, returning to the main question, most users usually don’t need a power manager. If your home has a high-quality electrical installation with all good components and devices, you can get away without a power conditioner.
However, if you live in an area prone to frequent lightning strikes, power fluctuations, or surges, we highly recommend a decent Home Theatre Power Manager. In such a situation, the power conditioner becomes a basic necessity rather than a luxury.
Surge Protector vs. Power Conditioner
Is Surge Protector a good alternative to Power Manager or Conditioner? As the name suggests, a Surge Protector protects equipment from sudden voltage surges, usually due to lightning strikes.
It doesn’t protect the equipment from other types of “dirty” electricity such as every day over voltage, under voltage, Noise from EMI, etc.A Power Conditioner can protect from all the anomalies mentioned above. It is the main difference between a Surge Protector and a Power Manager.
Effect on Speakers
Another reason you might want to consider installing a home theatre power manager is if you hear Noise, hum, or interference from the speakers in your home theatre.Audio electronics are very sensitive devices. The amplifier can detect any low-level noise that travels through the power lines and, in turn, produce it through speakers, which you will hear as interference.In such situations, a power manager can filter all the Noise and send clean power to speakers and amplifiers.
But there is a problem with this approach. Sometimes, power conditioners can filter too much Noise, which can decrease speakers’ performance. Many users faced this issue when they observed a decreased dynamic range of speakers after installing power managers.
They could hear rich and dynamic audio when plugging the audio equipment into the main outlet. But with a power conditioner, the audio becomes flat. So, if you are looking to improve the audio quality of your home theatre. Try to experience the audio quality with and without a power manager and then decide whether you need t purchase one.
What about Computers and other electronics?
You already use a UPS with your computer with several protection mechanisms. Also, the power supplies of most modern computers have sophisticated power filtering, noise reduction, and voltage regulating features. As a result, you generally don’t need a power conditioner with computers.
Building a dedicated Home Theatre is a dream for many people. They spend a lot of money, time, and effort to set up the room with a high-quality sound system, projector. AV Receiver, Blu-ray and Streaming players, TV, and many other devices. With such a setup, you can enjoy movies, sports, or gaming with friends and family. And transform into a different zone. Everything is well and good until a lightning strike occurs near your place. If your electricity has frequent voltage fluctuations. Then, the electronic equipment in your home theatre room is not good.