My First Surround System

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OneCall had specified that delivery of my Pioneer HTIB system for today, so I was quite surprised Friday when the FedEx Express truck (the real corporate FedEx, not a Home Delivery contract driver) pulled up Friday morning, with a 75-pound box for me.

So I spent the weekend setting it up, and trying out a few SACD and DVD-A discs to get my first feel for it. I was disappointed that the system came without some of the key cables required to connect it properly. There was a composite video cable that the documentation recommended for connecting to a TV, with narry a mention that buying your own S-Video cable and using that instead would result in a better picture.

And although there is a stereo line input for TV audio, there is absolutely no mention of the main reason for making this connection. Aside from the obvious ability to use the much higher quality Pionner speakers instead of your TV’s built-in ones, the huge benefit is the ability to decode surround sound from those TV programs that use Dolby Pro Logic II encoding, but nowhere does the manual mention this, or tell you how to configure it, and there is of course no stereo line cord included in the box.

Yuck. But I’m thoroughly enjoying the system, now that I’ve plugged all the necessary cables into it.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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