Many people are afraid to even think about installing a home theater because they think it would cost thousands of dollars. It doesn’t have to. You can often put in a quality home theater for hundreds of dollars – not the thousands of dollars you’d expect it to cost.
Ten or twenty years ago, it sounded like something only the rich and famous could afford: a home theater. Today, the term is so common that the actual phrase “home theater” isn’t as scary as it used to be; what frightens people away is their belief that it would cost thousands of dollars to install one.
That belief may be widely-held – but it’s not correct. A home theater certainly can cost that much if you have the money, the available space, and a desire for the very finest components and setup that money can buy. But most people who actually look into installing a home theater that fits their needs and budget find that it doesn’t cost a fortune to enjoy video and audio the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
What Is A Home Theater, Anyway?
A home theater, as the name suggests, lets you replicate the experience of being in a movie theater at home. But all you need to do that is an HDTV and one or more video sources, surround-sound speakers, a receiver to act as the “brains” of the system and power the speakers – and most importantly, proper installation. What many don’t realize is that they may already own much of the necessary equipment.
Sure, if you have an old cathode-ray TV from 1989 which would be better used as a boat anchor, you’ll have to buy a new flat screen high-definition television. However, you’re probably spending your evenings in front of a relatively-new flat-screen HDTV, and it’s likely that you have a Blu-ray player (if not, you can get one for $50) and at least a couple of decent speakers. You may even have a surround sound setup.
Congratulations! You have at least half of what you’ll need to get started. You might want to upgrade to a larger 4K TV or better speakers. But you don’t have to upgrade, at least when you’re just starting out. Better equipment can come later when you can afford it.
The majority of homes simply need to add the “rest” of the speaker system and a home theater receiver – and then everything has to be installed properly. Bingo! You have a home theater system which will vastly improve your movie-viewing experience.
How Much Does This All Cost?
Equipment prices obviously vary depending on what you buy and where you buy it. (And to toot our own horn, DTV Installations is an authorized dealer for most brands so we can offer big equipment discounts to clients.) But here’s a look at how affordable a home theater can be.
- Speakers: If you’re starting from scratch, you can find decent 5.1 surround sound speaker systems (two front speakers, two rear speakers and a subwoofer) for as little as $100, and CNET’s Editor’s Choice for the best budget 5.1 system costs less than $300. The two speakers needed to upgrade to 7.1 audio won’t add a lot to the price.
- Receiver: Believe it or not, any extra money you might have is better spent on speakers than on a high-end receiver; speakers have more of an effect on sound than the receiver. CNET’s choice for a terrific 7.1 home theater receiver with all the bells and whistles costs less than $400, and you can pick up very good 5.1 receivers for around $200.
- HDTV and video sources: If you don’t already have one, you can find big screen, high-quality high-def TVs these days for well under $500. Yeah, a state-of-the-art 4K television can run you about $2,000 – but you’re just starting out, remember? The only other thing you’ll really need to get started is a Blu-ray player, which as we’ve mentioned should only cost around $50 or so.
- Installation: If you want make it a do-it-yourself the cables won’t cost much, and you’re not going to charge yourself for labor, right? However, if you’re laying out money for a home theater, you probably want it to look good (cables running along the floor aren’t particularly impressive), and many people aren’t comfortable hanging HDTVs and running cables through their walls or ceilings. Additionally, positioning all of the components for best performance is both an art and a science. That’s why so many folks decide on professional installation. Prices vary widely depending on exactly what has to be done, but Home Advisor reports that the average home theater installation cost in New York City was $523 last year, with most homeowners spending between $235 and $846 for installation.
That wasn’t so painful, was it? If you’d like to focus more specifically on what it would cost to put a home theater in your house, the professionals at DTV Installations are happy to provide a no-cost, no obligation consultation. Just give us a call.