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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > TV, Home Theater & Audio > Home Theater

Home Theater Cost


How Much Does a Home Theater Cost?

 
low costLow: Start Around $100-$300average costMedium: Larger Systems Run $300-$800high costHigh: High-End Systems Run $800-$3,000+
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While high-end users may prefer selecting components individually, most people prefer buying everything in one package, known as a home theater in a box or HTIB. Some HTIB systems include a DVD or Blu-ray player, but all offer an audio-video (A/V) receiver, subwoofer and speakers. The size of room will play a large part in determining the most appropriate home theater system.

Typical costs:

  • To install a HTIB in a limited space such as a small bedroom or den, consider a space-saving 2.1 channel system. These offer an amplifier, twin speakers and a subwoofer (the .1 in the 2.1 specification) and range in price from under $100 to about $1,500. At the low end, expect a passive subwoofer (one that's powered by the A/V receiver's amplifier) and one-way speakers equipped with a woofer only. The Coby DVD420[1] has a budget priced DVD player, a total power output of 75 watts and retails for as little as $50. A higher end unit such as the Samsung BD7200 retails for about $800. It includes a Blu-ray player with integrated receiver, an active subwoofer with its own power supply, twin 2-way speakers combining a woofer and a tweeter , and a total power output of 400 watts. This unit also offers bluetooth connectivity to eliminate speaker wires.
  • For the ultimate in space saving design, look at sound bars. This narrow bar is styled to complement a flat-panel TV and features either stereo sound or virtual surround sound. Some offer built-in amplification so there is no need to connect to a separate A/V receiver while others include a separate subwoofer. They range in price from about $100 to over $1,500. The Sony HT-CT100[2] costs about $300 and provides simulated 3.1 channel surround sound, adding a center speaker to the left and right speakers of a 2.1 channel setup, plus a total power output of 250 watts.
  • For a moderate space, such as a living room of 200 to 300 square feet, look for an entry-level 5.1 channel home theater system that adds two rear speakers to the three front speaker setup. Expect a passive subwoofer, individual speakers with one-way audio and a low-end A/V receiver or basic DVD player with integrated receiver. Speaker wires will likely connect via spring-loaded connectors designed for convenient installation rather than audio quality. This type of HTIB costs from less than $100 to about $300. The Philips HTS3372D/F7[3] is available for about $190.
  • For a larger room of over 300 square feet, look for a mid-range 5.1 channel HTIB. Expect two-way speakers, binding post connectors that offer a more secure grip and a higher quality DVD player or receiver for $300 to $800. The Yamaha YHT-591[4] costs about $600 and offers a 105W x 5-channel A/V receiver and 100W subwoofer.
  • Buyers with a dedicated home theater space or a large living room looking for a premium audio experience should consider a high-end 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel HTIB package. Expect a subwoofer with onboard power amps, and three-way speakers that offer a woofer, tweeter and midrange audio. Some high-end speakers offer biwire capability (one set for the tweeter, one for the woofer) to maximize the sound quality. A high-end HTIB will cost from $800 to over $3,000. The Onkyo HT-S9100THX[5] is a 7.1 channel receiver and speaker system that costs about $1,000 and offers two additional rear speakers over a 5.1 channel HTIB.
Related articles: Stereo Receiver, Speakers, Plasma TV, LCD TV, Surround Sound Setup

What should be included:
  • A HTIB should include all the components needed to create a home theater system, namely a subwoofer, receiver and speakers, as well as set-up directions. Most systems also include speaker cables although, depending on the size of the room, additional cables may still be required.
  • Wireless speaker systems are easier to set-up since they don't require any speaker cables.
Additional costs:
  • Speaker stands or wall brackets may be required for optimal speaker placement. These range from $10 to over $100.
  • Geek Squad[6] offers professional installation from $150 to $800 depending on the number of components and whether speaker wires are concealed.
Discounts:
  • Sales and specials are common at electronics discount stores. One-generation-old models may be sold at a substantial discount to the latest line.
  • As an alternative to a HTIB, some online at sites such as Amazon[7] bundle home theater components from different manufacturers and sell them at adiscount.
Shopping for a home theater:
  • Cnet.com[8] offers a home theater buying guide and Crutchfield Advisor[9] offers a guide to Sound Bars.
  • Crutchfield Advisor[10] has a primer on speaker placement.
  • Compare online retailers with local electronics retailers such as Best Buy[11] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
don't forget B&H Photo
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: LouieL in San Jose, CA.Posted: September 4th, 2007 01:09PM
Brand: Onkyo/JBLModel: SR504/SCS300.5
Number of Speakers: 6Store: B&H Photo
I put together my home theater sound system with the Onkyo TX-SR504 and JBL SCS300.5 speaker system. The receiver and speakers didn't come together as a package, but I did order all of the items through B&H Photo, after doing a bit of shopping around.

This is a basic HT setup. The room I have it set up in is on the smaller side, so I didn't need a large amplifier or speakers. I really only use the system to watch movies, so I wasn't concerned about neutral tones or warmth of sound or any other "audiophile"-type qualities. I really only wanted something with a good amount of "boom" for movie watching, and I think this system does the job nicely.

I liked the fact that the JBL system came with all of the cables and mounting brackets so that I didn't have to buy anything else to set up the system, though I did buy a subwoofer cable from monoprice.com

To the horror of some, I ended up using most of the speaker wires included with the JBL system -- only 18 gauge, if I remember correctly. I did have to get some more wire, but that was only because some of the included wire wasn't long enough for running from the speaker to the receiver. I actually went to OSH and got some 14 gauge braided copper cable (meant for outdoor low voltage lighting) to use as speaker wire...yeah, scary for true audio enthusiasts, but I'm happy.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.cobyusa.com/?p=prod&prod_num_id=343&pcat_id=2004
  2.  store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10...
  3.  www.usa.philips.com/c/home-theater-systems/hts3372d_f7/prd/
  4.  usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/hometheater-systems/home-theater-package/yht-...
  5.  www.onkyousa.com/?m=HT-S9100THX&class=Systems&p=I
  6.  www.bestbuy.com/site/TV-Home-Theater-Services/TV-Home-Theater-Setup/pcmcat13810005...
  7.  www.amazon.com/Home-Audio-Electronics/b?ie=UTF8&node=667846011
  8.  reviews.cnet.com/home-audio/buying-guide/
  9.  www.crutchfield.com/S-OU4m90z5YCY/learn/learningcenter/home/sound-bar.html
  10.  www.crutchfield.com/S-DuhLNMZtEPh/learn/learningcenter/home/speaker_placement.html
  11.  www.bestbuy.com/site/Home-Audio-Systems/Home-Theater-Systems/abcat0203000.c?id=abc...
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