Surround Sound Doesn't Mean You Have To Be Surrounded By Wires

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking at the back panel of this surround sound receiver reminds us of those contests where you're supposed to guess how many jelly beans are in the giant jar. Quick, guess how many connecting jacks are there! We aren't really sure, because each time we try we lose count. But it looks like about 115 jacks - so you could connect 115 wires and cables to the back of the thing. That's a lot of wire. It's also a lot of copper. Industry experts now predict that in 2007 the world will use over 18 million tons of copper! 

The wire basketball in back of my TV

Several years ago, when I still had a 5.1 surround system, we had our living room repainted. So the painters had to unplug the TV and sound system and move everything into the middle of the room to be covered with tarps. What I discovered in back of the TV was a bale of speaker and connecting wires significantly larger than a basketball...all tangled up with each other in a frightening, dusty mass. There were two connecting cords in the wire-ball that weren't connected to anything at either end! I decided I had to clean things up, so I disconnected all the wires and started from scratch. Two and a half hours later I finally had everything put back together and working.

The experience was very instructional and very aggravating. It was one of the defining moments that lead to the creation of ZVOX Audio.

I never met anyone who looked in back of his or her TV and said "I don't have enough wires back here." Everybody hates wires. They're expensive ($100 for a 3-foot HDMI cable!!!). They're messy. And inevitably, the get plugged into the wrong thing. My current home theater setup is far, far simpler. I use a ZVOX 325 home theater system with one connecting cable. A DVD player with one (HDMI) connecting cable. And a cable box with one (HDMI) connecting cable. If you add in four power cords (TV, ZVOX, DVD, Cable Box), and one cable connecting wire, my system has a total of eight wires in the back. And I'm working on ways to cut that down. I'll let you know when I figure it out.


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