Know which components you need to buy
The average home theater setup includes speakers, a receiver, some form of video input (e.g., a DVD player or a game console), and a television. Before you even start shopping for components like speakers and receivers, take stock of what you have.
- For example, if you have a decent set of modern speakers and a TV with which they’re compatible, you really only need the receiver (mandatory) and the video input (optional).
- It’s generally advisable to use products which are all roughly the same age (e.g., you’ll want a modern TV to match modern speakers).
Consider buying an all-in-one home theater package.
Several companies make packages which include speakers and a receiver, making it easy to match a TV screen to the whole package. If you’re not worried about having specific types of equipment, you might want to go with an all-in-one option.
- All-in-one packages rarely come with televisions, so you’ll still need to buy a new one or adjust the one that you have.
- While you can’t expect the same level of sound quality from an all-in-one package as you might expect from individually purchased components, all-in-one home theater systems are perfect for beginners.
Determine where you want to set up your home theater.
It’s easy to get carried away while buying equipment only to realize that your TV and/or speakers are too big for your living room! Before you purchase any equipment, figure out the general dimensions of the room in which you want to set up your home theater, then block out where you want to place the various pieces of the home theater.
- You may discover halfway through staging your home theater that your selected room is too small to accommodate your preferred components.
Think about your home theater’s limits.
There are several factors which may stunt your home theater’s overall size and depth:
- Budget – Home theater setups can cost anywhere from sub-£200 to well over £5,000. Establishing a hard budget before you purchase anything will help narrow your search.
- Noise – Setting up a home theater’s speakers will vary wildly depending on how close your neighbors are; additionally, your home’s acoustics will play a part in determining which speakers best fit your needs.
- Space – As mentioned in the last step, your home’s size will limit things like TV screen size, speaker strength, and more.
Decide on a video input system.
A video input system is optional, but recommended unless you have a cable box. Common video input sources include the following:
- DVD player or Blu-Ray player – While somewhat outdated, nothing beats the simplicity of a DVD player if you’re not quite ready to start downloading all of your movies.
- Game console – Consoles such as the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 have evolved into all-in-one entertainment systems, allowing you to game, watch TV, stream content, rent or buy digital movies, and play DVDs.
- Smart TV adapter – Things like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, and Apple TV allow you to turn your TV into a smart TV, thus negating a DVD player or cable box. The
- only downside here is that your existing DVD collection (if applicable) will not be usable with a smart TV adapter.
Purchase and plug in power strips.
You’ll need several electrical outlets for your TV and other components, so make sure that you have plenty of power strips in your preferred area. Once you’ve set up your electrical outlets in your staging area, you’re free to move onto the next part.
- The power strips should go in the same general location as your TV.
- Depending on the location of your room’s electrical outlets, you may need to use an extension cord as well.