Home theater system: How to choose

Owning a powerful home theater system is one of the joys that true geeks revel in. What can compare…

Home theater system: How to choose
Foto: Flickr / gsloan

Owning a powerful home theater system is one of the joys that true geeks revel in. What can compare to watching Star Wars in full surround sound, blasting through your brain with the power of six or more speakers? Well, get ready to stop drooling over your friend’s systems, because, you can build a home theater on almost any budget.

The heart of such a system is always the television. If you plan to splurge on anything, let it be the type of TV you purchase. Any television will work (except for maybe an old console from 1975), but the better the TV, the better the system will look and feel. Large, flat screen, high definition televisions, aren’t as expensive as a few years ago, you can find them at a great price through almost any discount store.

Once you have your television, or you have plans to use the one you already own, it’s time to choose a surround system. The sound systems come with a bass booster (Sub-woofer), and several satellite speakers that are meant to be placed around the room. Some speakers come with towers so you can avoid making holes in the walls for your home theater.

The packaged home theater systems are not always expensive. Some electronics manufacturers put out a budget DVD/Surround sound system for as low as $65, but don’t expect room- shaking sound from such a cheap set-up, really top of the line systems can run into the thousands of dollars, but you can get great quality sound and a Blu-Ray player in medium priced ($300-$500) home theater sets.

If you don’t want to buy a full set-up for your home theater system, you can put together your own. Sub-woofers aren’t that important, what is important are the speakers that go in different spots around your room. You will need at least five speakers and a roll of speaker wire. One speaker will remain near your television and the other four should be placed in the corners of your room. Run wire from your existing stereo unit to the speakers. You may want to try to hide the wire under carpet, then running up the inner corners of the room to the speakers.

Almost any stereo will work as the central surround sound home theater unit, if it has functions to accept auxiliary sound. Want to really keep your budget low? Check out local thrift stores for stereo units. You’ll be surprised at what you can find for less than $10. Connect the audio out of your DVD player into the stereo unit, connect the video out to the TV, and your ready to go. Older TV’s may not allow you to do this, so if your television or stereo is very old you will need to replace it before your home theater is complete.