Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Have you ever been in the kitchen and turned on the garbage disposal and the lights in the room dim for a second then return to full brightness? That is an example of how imperfect the wiring is in a lot of homes. There are a lot of ups and downs in the current running through the sockets. It isn't a steady flow of current at the same level. This inconsistency affects everything that is connected to your sockets. For our discussion purposes, we'll talk about how that fluctuating current affects a high definition picture.

After slagging off Monster cables yesterday, I will say that there is one line of products they make that can be an essential part of any serious home theatre setup. Their line conditioners and power surge protection combo units.

You know when you connect up all the tv, vcr, dvd etc to a power strip? Well usually they have a power surge built in. What this does is "disconnect" the connection from the wall socket to your devices whenever there is an extreme surge in voltage from the socket. Yes, unknown to a lot of people, this happens. This prevents the surge from going into the TV and DVD players circuitry. These power strips that you can pick up for $20 are a poor mans power surge, but they work! The problem goes like this. You just spent over $5,000 in electronics throughout your home. If you buy a cheap surge protector (cheap because the components used to put it together are cheaply made), you risk your entire investment. If your power surge fails to act efficiently in the event of a surge, all your electronics can get fried. For this reason, it's worth spending a little money and getting a decent power surge.

What these power surges don't do, is stabilize the current. Without this, you can expect to see a certain amount of noise in your high definition picture. One example of noise in the pciture is where people or text onscreen seem to have a a ghostly aura around them. The reason? That fluctuation in current we were talking about earlier. The "line conditioners" as they're known can improve picture quality as much as 20% in some cases. The benefit of of these line conditioners is that the power surges are usually built in, making it a must have device. Going back to the Monster branded selection, they're surprisingly competitive, but the product itself is a good one!