Whether you’re a movie buff, like playing the latest video games, or just appreciate high-quality video and audio when you’re binging shows in Netflix, your experience can be greatly enhanced with a home theater system.
Technologies are ever-changing when it comes to home audio and video. The quality of DVDs now seems laughable next to 4K resolution HD videos. Similarly, bulky home audio systems that once required several huge speakers have been reduced to small “sound bars” that sound excellent and take up hardly any room at all.
If you’d like to turn your living room, basement, or any other room in your home into a home theater, read on.
Location of your home theater
The obvious choice for many when it comes to choosing a location for their home theater is the living room. And that might make the most sense for people who have small or mid-sized houses who spend much of the time in their living room.
However, if you’re looking for an immersive, distraction-free viewing experience, you may want to consider other rooms in your house, such as a finished basement or office.
What you’ll need
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to invest some time and money in your home theater. First, you’ll need an HDTV or projector and screen. Projectors can be a fun way to achieve the movie theater experience and are particularly useful in large rooms where you’re sitting far from the screen. However, quality projectors are quite pricey ($600 or more, not including the cost of a screen).
Choosing a television
If you go the television route, you have several options. Shopping for a TV is no easy feat. There are LED, OLED, 4K Ultra, and curved televisions. If you’re looking for the highest video quality and plan on streaming HD video with a high resolution, a 4K Ultra would be the best option.
However, if you aren’t particular about video quality and will be happy with anything that plays your old DVD collection, most LED televisions will do the trick at an affordable price point.
When it comes to audio quality, you might be surprised with the variety of systems on the market.
For the classic home theater experience, a multi-speaker surround sound system is the closest you’ll get to the cinematic experience. Since the rise of the sound bar, home theater systems have become much more affordable.
However, with most surround sound systems you’ll need to buy a receiver. You’ll need to set it up and find a place to put it (they tend to be pretty large).
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing speakers around the room and finding a place for a big audio receiver, a sound bar could be a great alternative. Starting at around $100 and scaling up to $1,000 depending on your audio quality needs.
Most decent sound bars come with a small subwoofer, but other than that they are small, lightweight and typically Bluetooth-ready, so you can just plug them in and start listening.