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What is a Home Theater Power Conditioner?

A power conditioner or surge protector is a device that protects your equipment from electrical problems and fluctuations. The most common problem with household AC power is the voltage: it alternates between 120 volts when the utility wants to charge your batteries and as much as 170 volts when they don’t. A power conditioner reduces those excessive peaks to a manageable 120 volts.

Power conditioners also filter your incoming power to remove any noise picked up along the way. In addition, they protect against high-frequency noises that can interfere with audio and video signals. It ensures that you get the best possible picture and sound out of your components.

It is why if you have a sizable A/V system, it is a good idea to have a power conditioner between your wall outlet and your A/V components. You’ll notice a difference not only in the quality of your movies but also in the quality of music as well.

How does a home theater power conditioner work?

A power conditioner is an appliance that sits between your home theater components and the wall outlet and regulates the incoming voltage. What it does do is clean up and regulate the power, so you get a steady, reliable voltage going to your home theater equipment.

All electrical power in the United States is nominally 120 volts, 60 Hz AC (alternating current). It means that the voltage alternates between positive and negative values from a low of about 100 volts to a high of about 140 volts before it cycles back to zero twice per second.

A power conditioner is called “active” because it uses components such as capacitors and inductors to correct the fluctuations actively. In contrast, a passive device would use simple resistance to suppress voltage spikes. Electronic noise filters typically work by allowing only the desired voltage peaks and blocking all others by transforming them to heat.

Is it necessary for me to use a home theater power conditioner?

If you decide to use a home theater power conditioner, there are several benefits, but this is an accessory and isn’t required. However, if you’re using several home theater components that are sensitive to dirty power, or you want to protect your investment, then it’s a good idea. An active power filter protects against electrical noise/RFI and EMI/RFI filtration, degrading video performance. It is essential when you consider the array of sources for electronic noise found in today’s homes: two-way communications systems, copiers, fax machines, fluorescent lights, HVAC systems, large motors, wireless equipment, and more.

How to connect a home theater power conditioner?

We will explain how to connect a home theater power conditioner. Connecting a home theater power conditioner is very easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your surround receiver or amplifier is turned off, and then plug the power conditioner into the wall outlet.
  2. Connect your home theater components to the various outlets of the power conditioner with speaker wire or AC power cords. You can connect it with the A/V receiver’s LFE(Subwoofer), DVD player, TV, VCR player, and other components.
  3. Connect the power cord of your home theater system to the power conditioner AC inlet jack.
  4. Turn on your surround receiver or amplifier and listen to and enjoy it.

rear side of power conditioner

How to choose a good home theater power conditioner?

If you get through the confusion about what power conditioner to choose, here are the most common things that you need to pay attention to when you get a new power conditioner.


Most people think a bigger conditioner always means better performance. That is not true in home theater. The bigger, the more components can be connected, and the shorter working time each piece can work before it gets into protection mode. A good home theater needs a high power density product that usually uses small sizes with high watts ratings.


Some customers choose conditioners based on the number of connectors needed, but it is not a good idea. Most power conditioners use universal connectors, which customers can replace if needed. The most common power conditioner connector types fit most home theater needs.


A good power conditioner for home theater should protect your electronics and provide clean and reliable current to them. All components in your home theater system need to work within proper specifications, or they will degrade themselves faster than usual.

Output waveform

To get the best performance out of your home theater, you may need either sine wave or square wave output type depending on your equipment needs. Sine wave output is more expensive than a square wave, so usually, customers can save money by choosing a square wave.

Protection modes

A good power conditioner should have a proper protection system to prevent damage to your components before it happens. Different power conditions offer different sets of protection systems. Usually, people can choose based on their needs or the money available for the product.

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About Frederick Douglass
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