Buying Guide: Home Theater Systems

Today’s options for home theater systems can help you enjoy the experience of surround sound and a cinematic experience right in your living room! You will soon find that it cannot be compared to most standard speakers on regular televisions.

Today’s home theater systems offer a wide range of frequencies and improvements, with leaps and bounds for the home-theater industry in the last three years. Companies have created new opportunities that offer a real cinema experience right in your living room. To achieve the movie theater at home, you need to select the best components for your budget and room size: speakers, television screen, receiver, connector cables, and of course, the best popcorn!

Complete home theater systems range in price from $1,000-$30,000+ depending on style, model, attributes, and brand. As a buying guide, the television is not included in the $1,000 budget. Most HDTV 27″ today will range in price from $250-$500+, depending on make and model.

The High-definition television (HDTV) is your starting point, and today’s brands offer sharp picture quality, sound, and improved screen widths. The screen size still important, but there are other items to consider. Digital television and cable is much crisper on a high-definition screen; contrast it with a regular television, and you will instantly see and hear the difference. Wide-screen versions can range from 27″ to 82″; these high-resolution screens are a worthwhile investment as we move into the digital television era. If and when you’re looking for superior quality in television, choose a digital high-definition model. The clean and crisp projection will make you forget what television used to be like!

The speakers are the next area of importance for creating your home theater system. Surround-sound capabilities and functions are enhancements on most HDTV models today, but you can, and should, purchase additional speaker equipment. The ideal number of speakers for your home theater is five; you’ll want to include a bass speaker, two side speakers (left and right), one surround (left and right combined), and one center. Where you place these speakers is up to you; ideally, you’ll want to arrange them around your living area for a true cinema feeling.

You can even work on installing them against the walls of various areas of your viewing room; this will help to bring the sound to you from different angles and levels. To save on your budget, this is a great opportunity o make the most of individual brands.

Still, entire speaker systems can be purchased together, making it easier for you to coordinate each special effect without worrying about compatibility. Complete systems can range from under $1,000 up to $25,000 for complete house systems. One great brand and choice is the Micra 6 Home Theater System by Athena TECHNOLOGIES. This runs for a retail price of $550, and is very easy to install. It combines the power of a subwoofer, high satellite frequency, and high-quality speakers. It is perfect for the average sized living or family room, as it includes four MS satellite speakers, oneM226 subwoofer, and one MC center speaker. It also comes with mounting brackets to help you place and arrange the speakers effectively.

The receiver is the final component; this will connect and coordinate your speakers, television, and additions such as a DVD player, Tivo box, or other electronic device. Pioneer VSX-815-X is a great option for your receiver priced at only $300. This model offers 100 watts and 7 channels, and uses Dolby Digital EX technology. Other receivers by Yamaha and Toshiba are strong brands that will help maintain your home theater system in the long run.

Be sure to purchase the right cables and connectors for each of your pieces. Always choose digital over analog when possible, as digital cables have a much better image resonance and sound quality than analog. Connectors should fit snugly, and will not need many adjustments during viewing. Cable costs for your budget can range from $15-$20 per piece, which usually adds up to about $100 total. Do be sure to check for manufacturer rebates, store promotions, and of course sales! You can easily cash in on many discounts if you are planning to purchase your HDTV and surround sound system together.

You really can create a home theater experience right in your living room with the variety of packages and systems available today. Be sure to do some research on the makes and models you have selected; warranty information, manufacturer contact, and other updates are important to maintain your cinema at home in the long-run. Depending on your budget, you can find many possibilities for speakers, receivers, televisions, and connectors.

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