Selecting the Proper Television for your Home Theater

home theater televisionSorry I just could resist this pic of a ´╗┐´╗┐home theater television aqarium style. While there are many components that make up the average home theater system most people often overlook the importance of their televisions to the overall video and movie watching experience.

As with all things in life, bigger, when it comes to televisions for your home theater, is not always better. There are many things that must be considered when selecting the best possible television for your home theater and size is only one of many.

Mass retailers show home theater television in a manner that suits their purpose, which is a sale. This doesn’t mean that their methods for displaying their televisions paints those sets in a proper light for your home viewing experience. Not so long ago, a 20-inch viewing window for your television was considered huge. It was a luxury saved for those who were extremely wealthy. The truth of the matter is that if you do not sit a proper distance from your television the quality of the picture will look horrible if your set is too large. [Read more…]

The Great Installation Debate

One huge questions looms in the minds of many who purchase massive home theater systems for their homes is home theater installation : Do I install it myself or pay for installation? This great home theater installation debate seems to consume consumers the world over and there really is no easy answer as it completely and entirely depends on your own confidence of your abilities and whether or not you will postpone the work for six months or get right to it once you get your home theater-well home.

home theater installation

In my house it all depends on who wants the product most and who has the ability to handle an installation. I’ve learned that when it comes to things such as home theaters my husband is an ace at getting it done right away. On the other hand I lugged my laundry to the laundry mat for 6 weeks while a washing machine and dryer sat in my basement waiting for him to install them. With this in mind, I pay for installation on anything that I want installed quickly and if it doesn’t matter too terribly much to me, I’ll leave it to him to install on his own timeline.

Of course timing isn’t the only consideration when it comes to the home theater installation. Knowledge is actually a key component. If you break something during the course of installation it may not be covered by the warranty, particularly if it is easy to prove that it was broken and not the result of a factory defect. At the same time you do not wish to get down to the last little bit only to discover that one small part is missing, which may actually require you to take everything out, box it up, and return it to the store. Time is money for many of us and going through the installation process twice is not only frustrating it is expensive (even in terms of the amount of our leisure time it robs us of).

home theater installation

There are of course other considerations when it comes to the decision of whether or not to pay the price of professional home theater installation and one of those is the warranty on your home theater system and its components. There are some warranties that are nullified if you do not have your home theater factory or professionally installed. You need to be certain if you are installing your own home theater that your warranty won’t be wasted as a result.

There are positives to consider when it comes to installing your home theater as well. Number one on that list is the amount of money you will save. Professional home theater installation (anything with professional in front of it for that matter) is quite costly and many consumers neglect to consider that when budgeting for their home theaters. In many cases professional installation can be a real deal breaker when it comes to getting the home theater system that you really want.

The second positive when it comes to performing the installation yourself is that you know without a doubt how to take it apart and move the pieces if you ever have the occasion or need to do so (such as a move or the need to repair or replace certain pieces or parts). It is also a good idea to know where everything plugs in and doing the installation yourself will give you a clear indication of that as well.

Finally, there is a sense of pride that comes with knowing you did the home theater installation yourself and you did it well. Being able to accomplish something that not everyone is able or willing to do on their own is impressive and something you should take great pride in doing. Whether you decide to go with professional installation (there is no shame in this decision) or home theater installation for yourself I wish you many years of enjoyment with your new home theater.

Why Buy Home Theater Kits?

You will find all kinds of homes around the country and around the world. Some are big, some are small, and some are simply average. When you are searching for home theater systems you will find the same thing. This is particularly true of the home theater systems that come as a package deal. While I do not normally endorse these purchases, just as all homes are not alike, neither are all people. This means that what may be best for me and my home theater may not be the best plan of action for you and your home theater.

I definitely recommend listening to any home theater you are considering before taking the plunge and purchasing. There are many times in life when you get what you pay for. While most of us live within some degree of budget constraints you will find that most of us have certain things we simply will not go ‘cheap’ when purchasing. You should keep in mind that there are great ways to get outstanding bargains however, when it comes to purchasing electronics. One of these ways is by purchasing a home theater kit where all the pieces (generally with the exception of the television) are included.

Seeing is believing when it comes to value for most of us. The best way to find a home theater kit that you are going to be confident about purchasing is to take a look at the kit, listen to the speakers (the first 5 to 10 minutes of the movie Top Gun is an excellent test for sound), and take a look at the system to see how you find the interface. It doesn’t matter how great a system sounds if you can’t figure out how to use it once you’ve taken it out of the box. You might also want to look into the price of professional installation if you are electronically challenged when it comes to matters of programming and installation. These kits are also often appealing to those who find the prospect of shopping around for the parts and components tedious.

While it is difficult for me to accept at times, we were not all born shoppers. For people such as this, home theater systems that come as a package deal are often life rings tossed out in a sea of shopping among sharks. This convenience for some is worth any price that could be stamped on the box. The good news is that there is enough competition that prices are typically competitive according to quality.

Box kit home theater systems are appealing to many consumers for many different reasons. Those who live in small apartments or have very small home theater rooms typically find that it makes no sense to invest in a system that will rattle the walls or have the neighbors complaining. Those with limited budgets find that this is an economic way to get everything at once. People who have little time to invest in researching all the items they will need find it incredibly convenient that they will not need to worry about missing something important such as a receiver during the process. Still others find that they like knowing up front what the price for the total home theater experience is going to be, at least the electronics component at any rate.

It is important to remember that a home theater means different things to different people. Finding the ideal home theater for you may not necessarily equate to the ideal home theater for someone else who has grand visions of a cinema themed room with dark rich colors on the walls and muted lighting effects along with blacked out windows for the ultimate movie viewing experience.

Don’t get too caught up in the details and remember that it only has to work for you and your needs. Creating a wonderful home theater is a great way to bring the family together on a regular basis. Buying a pre made home theater kit or system is a great way to begin enjoying the wonderful benefits of a home theater experience while learning the things you like and dislike about your system. This could be a work in progress for many years to come as you learn more about what you do and do not prefer.

Wireless Speakers Offer Excellent Sound Selection

Technology is constantly evolving and introducing new products to an already full line of home theater products. While not the newest kids on the block, wireless speaker technology is also advancing at a rate that prices are no longer out of reach of the average consumer and the value of being able to move your speakers around without going to the work of rewiring is appealing to consumers on an increasingly large scale.

I always try to keep in mind when buying new electronics and electronic components that this year’s technology will sell at half the price this time next year. For this reason I have a hard time investing in the latest and greatest when it comes to technology and tend to remain exactly one generation behind the curve when buying new products. I like to save money whenever possible and in most cases my like of saving money outweighs my like of having new gadgets and gizmos at the high price they often command.

I also have a nasty habit of keeping those products until they are no longer useful at all (I still have my little 13 inch television from my college dorm and I won’t tell you how long ago that was). I will keep it until it no longer works. It is currently being used in my television. I only mention this in order to convey the fact that making a sizeable investment in electronics in most cases is an investment that will last for quite some time unless you are one of those people who has to have the latest and greatest new tech toy each and every year.

Back to my original point wireless speakers have been emerging technology for a few years now. We’ve finally developed enough competition that market prices are trending downwards. This makes now the perfect time to look into the option of purchasing wireless speakers for your home theater. They are still a sizeable investment for the average home theater consumer but well worth it in my opinion for the freedom of choice and movement that they provide.

This is a great add on if you have an existing home theater in place and are considering an upgrade. I think that many people will find that the options this affords makes it well worth the investment that will be required in order to achieve. I strongly recommend however that you do not simply go online and buy the first set of wireless speakers and receiver that you find. This is a serious gamble, as you have no idea what kind of quality you will receive. The best possible recommendation is to make the rounds of local stores and listen to the various systems that are on the market.

Once you’ve found the one wireless sound system that appeals most to you it is time to go online in order to compare prices. Once you’ve found the best price online you should then check your local stores and see if they offer a low price gurantee that will match the online price you found. This is a great way to find better deals and save a little money (by not paying shipping charges).

You should always keep in mind that there are no absolutes when it comes to creating a home theater. You do not have to follow a specific code, or use certain components or even certain seating. The best thing you can do is to create an atmosphere in which you and your family can best enjoy your television and movie viewing experiences. You should keep the sounds you like in mind when selecting speakers and choose speakers that will provide the fullest amount of sound that you are comfortable with the idea of paying your hard earned money in order to purchase. Seriously, this is your money and your home theater is an investment you should take great care to make the best possible investment for your money.

Basic Components for a Home Theater

Many people never bother looking into purchasing a home theater through sheer fear of the decisions that may need to be made in the process. Many among these aren’t even sure of exactly which components are included in a home theater or which ones are needed in order to create an effective and entertaining home theater. For this reason, many people simply do not bother going through the process of looking at their options when it comes to these wonderful systems on the market today much less ever bother actually purchasing one.

If you are one of the many who has experienced some degree of confusion when it comes to the individual parts and pieces that are included in a home theater system and what they do, hopefully you will gain a better understanding once you’ve finished reading. The first thing to understand is that there are varying degrees when it comes to home theaters. The following components are the makings of a very basic home theater that will provide excellent functionality. They are not however inclusive of every possible piece or part that could make up a home theater system.

Off to the basics, the first thing you’ll need when creating a home theater for your family to enjoy is a television. It might seem a little too obvious to some but I have yet to find a box kit that includes a television-mainly because the choice of screen is for many the most personal aspect of selecting a home theater. There are essentially three choices in today’s television market: front projector, rear projector, and plasma. There are variations within each of these and the prices fall anywhere from modest to quite costly. This is the component that most home theater owners spend the most time contemplating and it affects the types of components that will be most effective later on in terms of things such as high definition and other choices you can make.

A receiver is another important component. You will probably have a DVD player or recorder of some sort as part of your system; you may have a Tivo and cable box or satellite and will probably have speakers of some sort for your system. The receiver is the box you plug them all into-it receives all of this inputs and correlates it so to speak. This is the ultimate traffic director when it comes to your home theater and I suggest you spend a good portion of your home theater budget making sure that this is a good quality part.

Speakers are where your sound will flow. One of the best things to me about a home theater is the ability to experience surround sound very similar to what I experience in theaters while having the ability to put my feet up or snuggle under blankets (which simply can’t be achieved in a theater). Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and are also quite personal for some consumers while give and take for others. You can purchase these are part of a kit in order to make the selection process easier.

Finally, you have your DVD player or recorder. If high definition is important to you, you now have that option. If your television isn’t HD ready or capable, I’d pass and go for an older (less expensive) model of DVD player until something more up-to-date is called for. These items are a great start for any home theater and you can build, expand, and upgrade over time for an even better system. Enjoy!

Box Kit Home Theaters

We live in a world where convenience is increasingly growing in demand. For this reason many home theater buyers expect convenience when it comes to the purchase and set up of their home theater systems. It goes without saying that there are all kinds of consumers in the world and even in matters of convenience supply and demand have not emerged to create a one size fits all society. We all want similar things in many ways yet we still want autonomy and selections from which to choose.

The demands of a society that likes the ease of buying prepackaged goods have reached such a point however that packages are common place in everything from prepackaged dinners to prepackaged home theater systems. On one level these types of prepackaged theater systems provide a great deal of convenience to consumers. Among those benefits is the ability to know the cost of the entire system up front. This is actually a small benefit when compared to some of the other benefits that consumers who purchase these systems experience.


Consumers who purchase these pre packaged home theater systems know when they buy the system that every part will work in conjunction with the other parts in the system. There are no proprietary issues to worry about, the components have been created and designed with the intent of not only working well together but also of complementing each other in the process. All pieces work together for maximum quality and efficiency-for the price.


Most of these boxed systems will cost less than purchasing similar individual components. For many this alone is enough of a reason to purchase a box kit. This is actually in addition to the convenience of knowing the price for the entire package ahead of time. There is a wide variety of parts and components on the market and you can find many pieces in each price range, it is often confusing when comparing prices because it is often difficult to understand details of quality simply by comparing boxes.


When it comes to the prepackaged box kits, you can actually see and hear them in action as a part of the hole. This means that you know how the system will sound when working together rather than hearing a hodgepodge of pieces and components while remaining unsure of how they really work individually. There is a lot to be said about the ability to try something before you buy it. Prepackaged home theater systems allow consumers to do just that.


This for many is probably the biggest reason to go with the prepackaged kit rather than a huge system of individual component-ease of installation. Most, if not all, of the prepackaged kits are very simple to install, which eliminates the need for professional installation and takes a great deal of hassle out of the installation process.

The prepackaged systems are not however, the type of systems you will want to purchase if you intend to build a better system over time as they are not easily upgradeable and most true enthusiasts are often disappointed with the quality of the speakers and sounds that come with these systems. However if you have limited space and limited funds, these systems are often a great place to start when it comes to a home theater. You can always pass it on to your children if you decide to upgrade later.

Building a Great Home Theater

It could be very easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars building the ultimate home theater experience for you and your family and if you use your home theater on a regular basis and have the money to spare you might find well worth the investment. However, you can also build a fantastic home theater for significantly less money if you are willing to put a great deal of effort into finding the right parts for the right price for your system. Everything comes down to matters of preference and available funds when building any sort of home theater.

The truth of the matter is that most of us cannot afford to spend more than ten thousand dollars creating the home theater of our dreams. Many of us must seriously budget well in order to spend a couple thousand dollars on our home theaters. The good news is that for a few thousand dollars you can create a truly phenomenal home theater if you do your homework and invest your money wisely in components for your home theater system.

My first recommendation when building a good quality home theater is to buy one piece at a time rather than building it all at once. This allows you to constantly upgrade your system without breaking the budget all at once. It also allows you the time to save up for better quality pieces within your system rather than attempting to make an all or nothing purchase. One thing to remember when purchasing pieces individually is to make sure that they are all compatible (this is especially important with speakers, which I recommend purchasing together as a set whenever possible).

The television is the first thing you should purchase when building your home theater as almost everything in your home theater will center around your television. High definition televisions are becoming more and more common and provide superior quality to many other televisions you will find on the market. If you have the means with which to purchase this sort of television I highly recommend that you do so. Once you have your television you can begin purchasing other components in order to complete your system.

The next component I recommend is a receiver or amplifier. This is the piece that brings all other components together. Without a decent receiver it is virtually impossible to have a decent home theater. The receiver acts as a sort of conductor for the sound and picture of your home theater. This is a piece of equipment that should not be skimped on when it comes to quality, as you will completely miss an important part of the ‘theater’ experience without it.

Next are the speakers. Speakers are also very important to the ‘theater’ experience of your home theater. The speakers are what provide that ‘movie quality’ sound that is so important to most enthusiasts and what will make your system the envy of the neighborhood. I highly recommend purchasing speakers as a set in order to insure compatibility.

Finally, the DVD player or recorder rounds out the system. It is up to you and your preferences whether or not you wish to invest in a high dollar (at the moment) high definition DVD player. If you have HD television and plan to purchase HD disks for your movies then this is the way to go. Otherwise it is a complete waste of money in my opinion until the rest of your system rises to meet the technology. The good thing about purchasing one component at a time is that you can constantly work towards upgrading your system to meet rising technology.

Common Home Theater Mistakes to Avoid

A home theater is no small investment, particularly if you are going for a good quality home theater. With that in mind there are many mistakes that people make along the way when it comes to their home theaters. What you want to do is learn from the mistakes of others rather than dooming yourself to repeat those that have been made so many times before. Below you will find information on some of the most often made mistakes when it comes to creating a great home theater for you and your family.


I’m not talking Microsoft either. One thing that is a killer for your home theater is a room full of windows. At night, every car passing by will prove distracting and during the day little can be enjoyed on your television from the sunlight pouring in. Even normal curtains allow some degree of light into the room, which will provide a distracting glare on you television screen. If you have no windowless rooms in your home you will at the very least want to install some heavy duty blackout drapes or curtains in order to prevent the glare and distraction that windows provide.

Cheap Speakers

Sound is one of the most important factors in imitating a theater quality movie viewing experience. If you have cheap speakers you will not receive the quality of sound that you will need in order to achieve that experience. The first five or ten minutes of the movie Top Gun provides one of the best sound tests I’ve ever seen. Grab a copy of the DVD and take it with you to the stores, compare speakers using that DVD and go with the set that provides the best quality of sound. It’s a good litmus test and you will be glad you did if you ever listen to a favorite movie on a friends inferior speakers.

Poor Installation

It makes no sense to invest thousands of dollars in a home theater system only to bring it home and do a poor job of installing it because you didn’t want to spring for the extra two hundred dollars for installation. Improper installation of your home theater will result in much less quality than you paid for, which makes a good quality system a complete waste of money. Pay the price now for professional installation if you have any doubts at all about your ability to properly install your system.

Not Reading Directions

On the other hand if you decide to do your own installation the number one problem is the result of not reading the instructions for not only installation but also the operation of your home theater. We may feel that we are intuitive by nature but sometimes it helps to have a roadmap to follow. Instructions for installation and operating manuals are our road maps and reading them first will not only save a great deal of time but also increase your enjoyment of your home theater.

Avoiding these common mistakes can go along way towards helping you get the most possible enjoyment from your home theater. It’s amazing how much of a difference little things can make along the way. Good luck with the selection, purchase, and installation of your home theater. I hope you enjoy many wonderful hours of movie, television, and game watching on your new system.

Compare Home Theater to Movie Going

Many people shy away from purchasing a home theater for fear of the great costs involved in doing so. I recommend that you put serious pen and paper to those assumptions rather then merely assuming it is too costly for your limited budget. The truth of the matter, when compared with the costs of going out to watch a movie you might find that you will be spending less money in no time by watching movies at home rather than paying for the ‘movie going’ experience.

You might want to pay careful attention to how much money you spend each month going to the theater. Don’t forget including any costs involved in hiring sitters, going out to dinner (most people don’t do McDonald’s before or after going to theaters), concession stand purchases in those figures. Even if you go to the theater once a week as a couple or as family the costs can really add up. If you visit the theater less or have a smaller family those costs might be less but you could also seriously raise those prices by going more often or having a larger family.

The important thing to remember when pricing a home theater system is the value it will bring to you and your family. If this will bring the family together at home for a couple of nights a week it is well worth the investment in my opinion. If it will keep the teens in your home and off the streets on the weekend it is worth even more. A home theater is an investment in the enjoyment of your home for everyone involved and many families find that this is a great way to enjoy a night at home. It’s also a great way to insure super-Super Bowl parties will be taking place in your home rather than the homes of others (it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things).

With this in mind you can buy kits for anywhere between $200 and $2,000 (and upwards, but if you are going to spend more than $2,000 I seriously recommend building your own home theater). Box systems are rather easy to find in local and mass-market retailers and are rather simple to install (even for the uninitiated). These systems may not provide the best possible system but for those who have significant budget concerns they are a great place to start and you can get some really great systems if you are willing to seriously shop around and compare the different quality between brands as well as which bells and whistles you require and which you can live without.

Once you make the decision to buy a home theater the best thing to do is check out what is available. You should then take complete advantage of the great competition on the market today by searching for the most features for the lowest price. You just might be shocked and amazed at the great bargains that you can find, especially in the months following the big consumer expo show each January.

You should combine the home theater and excellent movie experience in your home with a membership to Netflix, Blockbuster, or some other home delivery DVD system and you can have frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, and all the pillows to hide behind you can ask for in the comfort of your home for a fraction of the price of going to the theater once a week.

Decorating your Home Theater on a Budget

If you are fortunate enough to be building a room in your home that is dedicated to the purpose of watching movies or as a home theater it only makes sense that you would like to decorate the room in a manner that is completely befitting of its purpose. There are amazing options available within this growing market of decorating and generally, there are prices that are designed to match. The good news is that while art often imitates life, there is no reason that we can’t imitate some of the great art we see in the movies or on televisions shows in our homes-at a fraction of the cost.

First of all, a really good home theater is an investment, particularly those that are generally used in private rooms. With that being said you will want to decorate your room in a manner that will not distract from your movie watching experience. There are many ways you can do this and many of them come at rather hefty costs for the average consumer. You do not have to purchase special lighting at $500 a pop when you can go to your local lighting or home improvement store and find excellent wall sconces that will be perfect for your home theater at a fraction of the cost for which you will find them at specialty stores catering to those building home theaters. For more low lighting options you can use inexpensive strings of rope lighting or even Christmas tree lights in order to provide some light without risking a glare on the screen.

Rather than hanging expensive drapery on the walls in your home theater you can apply textured paint in dark colors in order to avoid distracting glares. Your local retailer may encourage you to soundproof your walls and you are the only one that can really decide if that is necessary. I personally would pass, particularly if your home theater is going to be in a basement, which is typically somewhat removed from the rest of your home and your family area.

As far as flooring goes, darker carpeting is a good idea in most areas though possibly not the best in a basement. Cork makes a good flooring option for basement floors as is works to muffle sound from escaping the room in addition to a natural resistance to moisture related problems that may occasionally arise in a basement. It is also a very inexpensive flooring material that is highly underrated.

I also recommend dark furnishing for your home theater. A good choice might be darkly colored sectional sofas if you want the family to enjoy the space together. I also recommend beanbags or other special seating for the little ones who may enjoy your home theater as well. This gives them their own seats and helps eliminate some of the bickering and squabbles that often arise over premium seating space.

The point is that you do not have to spend a fortune in order to create a great atmosphere that is totally conducive to an overall pleasant movie watching experience in your home theater. While I do not recommend a great deal of clutter along the walls in this particular room you can do great things with plastic popcorn boxes and flameless tea light candles along the floor. Let your imagination present creative options to the big-ticket items you see in the specialty shops you’ll be amazed at some of the neat things you come up with.