Friday, December 23, 2011

Home Theater Practicalities

Today’s shoppers are much more savvy than they have been in days past. Perhaps this sophistication when it comes to learning about the products we spend our hard earned money on is the result of instant information at our fingertips through the Internet or a deep desire to know more about where our money is going. Whatever the reason, we are taking the time to learn as much as possible about our investments and carefully planning how we spend our money before it leaves our wallets.

In many ways this is wonderful news. You really can’t go wrong as a consumer my educating yourself about the products you are considering purchasing and this holds doubly true when it comes to electronics. More and more consumers are opening up to the idea of home theaters. In fact, this is becoming a selling point in many homes across the country. It is a great idea to research the products you will purchase and the individual components of your home theater system but how much time have you invested towards the planning and design of your home theater?

You may have the room in mind, but do you have the wiring you need? Are outlets in the correct location in order to provide the extra outlets you will need for your components? Do you have the wiring for speakers in place or is this something additional you will need to consider? Will you go with wireless speakers in order to avoid the hassle? There are so many questions you will need to ask yourself when planning for your home theater.

What, of your existing home entertainment equipment will you be keeping and which pieces of equipment, if any, will you be replacing? I always recommend buying one component at a time and building a home theater system rather than simply going in and purchasing a box off the shelf that has everything in one place. While you can get a very nice system by doing this, I think you will ultimately get more bang for your buck if you build your own system one piece at a time and select each piece for the individual qualities your prefer. That being said, once you get the components home you need to be able to install them and incorporate them into your existing home theater.

Will you be adding special home theater seating or going with a big comfy couch? This matters when planning the layout for the room in which you will be watching your movies and television favorites. You want the seating to be comfortable or no one will want to spend too terribly much time in the room, no matter how large the television screen is. We like to be comfortable as we watch 24 hours of non-stop action or the nearest planet in a far off solar system explode. Do you have a plan for providing that comfort in your home theater?

Do you have all of the connecting wires? How about a reliable method for disguising the wires so that they do not provide a distraction during your movie and television viewing time? Are you going to add gaming equipment to your home theater system? If so, this opens up an entire new ball game when it comes to wires, as you will be bringing even more cords and wires and controllers into the mix.

The next question is how do you plan to hide all the equipment? While built in entertainment centers may seem like a great idea, they are killers to your bottom line should you need to some day sell your home as they eat up floor space and not everyone will appreciate your home theater. For this reason, I recommend a floor-to-ceiling entertainment center with doors that can be closed around the features you aren’t using at any given moment.

While there is no right or wrong when it comes to designing a home theater for your family, there are practical matters that are well worth considering. I hope this has brought to mind a few of those and that you are brimming with wonderful ideas for your current or future home theater.

Basic Components for a Home Theater

Many people never bother looking into purchasing a home theater through sheer fear of the decisions that may need to be made in the process. Many among these aren’t even sure of exactly which components are included in a home theater or which ones are needed in order to create an effective and entertaining home theater. For this reason, many people simply do not bother going through the process of looking at their options when it comes to these wonderful systems on the market today much less ever bother actually purchasing one.

If you are one of the many who has experienced some degree of confusion when it comes to the individual parts and pieces that are included in a home theater system and what they do, hopefully you will gain a better understanding once you’ve finished reading. The first thing to understand is that there are varying degrees when it comes to home theaters. The following components are the makings of a very basic home theater that will provide excellent functionality. They are not however inclusive of every possible piece or part that could make up a home theater system.

Off to the basics, the first thing you’ll need when creating a home theater for your family to enjoy is a television. It might seem a little too obvious to some but I have yet to find a box kit that includes a television—mainly because the choice of screen is for many the most personal aspect of selecting a home theater. There are essentially three choices in today’s television market: front projector, rear projector, and plasma. There are variations within each of these and the prices fall anywhere from modest to quite costly. This is the component that most home theater owners spend the most time contemplating and it affects the types of components that will be most effective later on in terms of things such as high definition and other choices you can make.

A receiver is another important component. You will probably have a DVD player or recorder of some sort as part of your system; you may have a Tivo and cable box or satellite and will probably have speakers of some sort for your system. The receiver is the box you plug them all into—it receives all of this inputs and correlates it so to speak. This is the ultimate traffic director when it comes to your home theater and I suggest you spend a good portion of your home theater budget making sure that this is a good quality part.

Speakers are where your sound will flow. One of the best things to me about a home theater is the ability to experience surround sound very similar to what I experience in theaters while having the ability to put my feet up or snuggle under blankets (which simply can’t be achieved in a theater). Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and are also quite personal for some consumers while give and take for others. You can purchase these are part of a kit in order to make the selection process easier.

Finally, you have your DVD player or recorder. If high definition is important to you, you now have that option. If your television isn’t HD ready or capable, I’d pass and go for an older (less expensive) model of DVD player until something more up-to-date is called for. These items are a great start for any home theater and you can build, expand, and upgrade over time for an even better system. Enjoy!

Box Kit Home Theaters

We live in a world where convenience is increasingly growing in demand. For this reason many home theater buyers expect convenience when it comes to the purchase and set up of their home theater systems. It goes without saying that there are all kinds of consumers in the world and even in matters of convenience supply and demand have not emerged to create a one size fits all society. We all want similar things in many ways yet we still want autonomy and selections from which to choose.

The demands of a society that likes the ease of buying prepackaged goods have reached such a point however that packages are common place in everything from prepackaged dinners to prepackaged home theater systems. On one level these types of prepackaged theater systems provide a great deal of convenience to consumers. Among those benefits is the ability to know the cost of the entire system up front. This is actually a small benefit when compared to some of the other benefits that consumers who purchase these systems experience.

Compatibility

Consumers who purchase these pre packaged home theater systems know when they buy the system that every part will work in conjunction with the other parts in the system. There are no proprietary issues to worry about, the components have been created and designed with the intent of not only working well together but also of complementing each other in the process. All pieces work together for maximum quality and efficiency—for the price.

Price

Most of these boxed systems will cost less than purchasing similar individual components. For many this alone is enough of a reason to purchase a box kit. This is actually in addition to the convenience of knowing the price for the entire package ahead of time. There is a wide variety of parts and components on the market and you can find many pieces in each price range, it is often confusing when comparing prices because it is often difficult to understand details of quality simply by comparing boxes.

Knowledge

When it comes to the prepackaged box kits, you can actually see and hear them in action as a part of the hole. This means that you know how the system will sound when working together rather than hearing a hodgepodge of pieces and components while remaining unsure of how they really work individually. There is a lot to be said about the ability to try something before you buy it. Prepackaged home theater systems allow consumers to do just that.

Installation

This for many is probably the biggest reason to go with the prepackaged kit rather than a huge system of individual component—ease of installation. Most, if not all, of the prepackaged kits are very simple to install, which eliminates the need for professional installation and takes a great deal of hassle out of the installation process.

The prepackaged systems are not however, the type of systems you will want to purchase if you intend to build a better system over time as they are not easily upgradeable and most true enthusiasts are often disappointed with the quality of the speakers and sounds that come with these systems. However if you have limited space and limited funds, these systems are often a great place to start when it comes to a home theater. You can always pass it on to your children if you decide to upgrade later.

Building a Great Home Theater

It could be very easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars building the ultimate home theater experience for you and your family and if you use your home theater on a regular basis and have the money to spare you might find well worth the investment. However, you can also build a fantastic home theater for significantly less money if you are willing to put a great deal of effort into finding the right parts for the right price for your system. Everything comes down to matters of preference and available funds when building any sort of home theater.

The truth of the matter is that most of us cannot afford to spend more than ten thousand dollars creating the home theater of our dreams. Many of us must seriously budget well in order to spend a couple thousand dollars on our home theaters. The good news is that for a few thousand dollars you can create a truly phenomenal home theater if you do your homework and invest your money wisely in components for your home theater system.

My first recommendation when building a good quality home theater is to buy one piece at a time rather than building it all at once. This allows you to constantly upgrade your system without breaking the budget all at once. It also allows you the time to save up for better quality pieces within your system rather than attempting to make an all or nothing purchase. One thing to remember when purchasing pieces individually is to make sure that they are all compatible (this is especially important with speakers, which I recommend purchasing together as a set whenever possible).

The television is the first thing you should purchase when building your home theater as almost everything in your home theater will center around your television. High definition televisions are becoming more and more common and provide superior quality to many other televisions you will find on the market. If you have the means with which to purchase this sort of television I highly recommend that you do so. Once you have your television you can begin purchasing other components in order to complete your system.

The next component I recommend is a receiver or amplifier. This is the piece that brings all other components together. Without a decent receiver it is virtually impossible to have a decent home theater. The receiver acts as a sort of conductor for the sound and picture of your home theater. This is a piece of equipment that should not be skimped on when it comes to quality, as you will completely miss an important part of the ‘theater’ experience without it.

Next are the speakers. Speakers are also very important to the ‘theater’ experience of your home theater. The speakers are what provide that ‘movie quality’ sound that is so important to most enthusiasts and what will make your system the envy of the neighborhood. I highly recommend purchasing speakers as a set in order to insure compatibility.

Finally, the DVD player or recorder rounds out the system. It is up to you and your preferences whether or not you wish to invest in a high dollar (at the moment) high definition DVD player. If you have HD television and plan to purchase HD disks for your movies then this is the way to go. Otherwise it is a complete waste of money in my opinion until the rest of your system rises to meet the technology. The good thing about purchasing one component at a time is that you can constantly work towards upgrading your system to meet rising technology.

Building a Home Theater on a Budget

Americans tend to spend a lot of time in front of our television sets. Whether we are movie junkies with multiple memberships to Internet movie rental companies or are serious addicts to all things reality on television we are addicted to our entertainment. Since we spend so much time watching our televisions it makes sense that we make a sizeable investment in our home theater in order to get the best possible quality picture and sound from our systems.

We do not, however live in a one size fits all world, which has lead to a good deal of healthy competition within the entertainment industry as well as the electronics industry. This is excellent news for consumers that must live within the constraints of their budgets. As competition emerges along with newer technologies we see a downward trend in the prices of existing technology. The real trick however is to be content with last year’s technology today and you could actually save thousands on your home theater.

If you are even willing to go a step back as far as technology, trust me it isn’t evolving all that noticeably fast when it comes to home theaters, you can still get a great home theater on Ebay or even in your local paper that is of excellent quality for a fraction of the cost you would have paid for the system had you purchased it brand new. If you are merely budget conscious or are going through a budget famine you should find that there are some outstanding options available through second hand home theaters.

If you are like many (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this) who do not like purchasing used items for whatever reason, the most common being a lack of a warranty, then it makes perfect sense not to consider this particular option. Selecting this option however does not leave you without options by any means. Perhaps my favorite option is to build your own home theater one piece at a time. You might be surprised to find that in the end you have a superior system to most of those you will find on the market today.

Life is a series of choices and that process doesn’t end at all when you are choosing the right home theater for your home and needs. Unfortunately neither does the fact that we often must live within budget restrictions that we do not appreciate nearly as much as we enjoy the idea of Dolby Digital Surround Sound or Bose speakers. The good news is that if you look and take your time by checking out and comparing your likes and dislikes in many systems you will have become an informed consumer. This is the best gift you can give yourself when shopping around.

Compare prices, beg, bargain, and barter. See if stores will match the prices of other stores or throw in freebies in order to compete. You should also remember that unless you have the equipment and skills necessary for the installation of your home theater it is quite likely that you will need to pay for that as well. A retailer that is willing to throw in free installation might be a bargain worth giving a little more thought.

In the end, the goal is to get the best possible home theater for your home for the least amount of money possible. By learning about your options you will know when you leave the store whether or not you got a good deal on the home theater you bought. There cannot be enough said about the knowledge you will gain about home theaters through this process or what you will learn about the price of things compared to their value. More importantly you just might learn the real price we often pay simply to go with a name that we know. You can save a great deal of money by taking a chance on emerging companies but do your research fist and learn as much about the company as possible before you give them your hard earned money.