17 Home Theater and Movie Room Ideas 2020: How to Build a Simple Home Theater at Any Budget

Sonos recently announced the Sonos Arc, which will replace the Sonos Playbar and Playbase in its premium line of soundbars. We haven’t heard it yet, but even if it sounds awesome, the $ 800 starting price is probably too big a financial hurdle for most people who are just looking for quick and easy solutions to updating their home theater setups.

The best budget soundbar: Roku Smart Soundbar

The Roku Smart Soundbar is extremely easy to set up and use. And it sounds really good for its price. The dialogue in the bar sounds clear and precise, but it’s not that good for music. When we checked it out we found that it was struggling on its own with anything in the super low or super high frequency ranges. A bass-heavy song with a female singer, like the essential Beyonce remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” might sound a bit flat without the punch and sparkle it would have on better speakers. And as with any Roku product, the soundbar is extremely easy to set up and use. As long as your TV has an HMDI port, you can just plug it in, connect to your WiFi, and start streaming instantly without the need for a receiver.

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Roku TV wireless speakers

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Setting up many of the 5.1 systems released in this price range can be very painful, but like Sonos, Roku makes a number of other audio products that work well with the Roku soundbar. These include a subwoofer that can fix the speaker problem at the bottom, and two TV speakers that you can pair in stereo for a more complete sound profile in your room. For just over $ 500, you can build a really impressive system.

How to install your new sound system

If you only get a soundbar, the sound quality of your setup will be improved instantly. However, to take full advantage of its benefits, you need to make sure that it is placed correctly. “Make sure it is mounted or placed on the edge of your TV table rather than sitting flush with the wall,” says Crockett. “In this way, the sound is reflected outwards into the room [and not] jump against your tv “And although subwoofers are omnidirectional and project sounds in all directions, Crockett also says that you should consider where yours are going.” Don’t put it near a wall or a rattling object. Your significant other and neighbors will thank you Ahead. “

The best home theater televisions

If you want your Fast and Furious marathons (or your Criterion Channel subscription, if you feel like it) to have the full cinematic experience, jump into the home projectors section. However, if you’re just looking for a bigger screen that gives you an even more immersive experience, we’ve found some of the best.

A high quality TV upgrade: TCL 6-Series TV

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TCL 6 series QLED TV, 55 inches

TCL 6 series TVs are one of the best budget options when you want a new TV. Released in 2019, this set is one of the cheapest on the market using QLED technology. A QLED television uses a special filter over its light source that allows it to produce more accurate colors with higher contrast. If you haven’t looked for a new TV in a while, you might be shocked to find that the smallest screen size is a whopping 55 inches. For almost anyone, this is big enough to feel immersive. It is also equipped with software from Roku. Even if you don’t buy the Roku soundbar, your home theater is as easy to use as a streaming stick.

The TV with Buttery-Smooth Motion: Sony X950

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If you compare an image on a Sony X950G to the same image on a TCL 6 series TV, you may not see much of a difference. Both TVs offer HDR support and local full array dimming. HDR gives you precise colors, making one of those nature scenes that you’ve likely seen in a demo look lush and vibrant. Local full array dimming gives you a sharper, higher contrast image so that whatever is recorded at night is actually understandable. However, if you click on the same video, you can instantly see which TV was more expensive. The Sony X950G has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, twice as high as the TCL. In a vacuum, the 60 Hz movement on the TCL looks perfectly fine. But head to head every time you would choose the buttery smooth accuracy of the Sony X950G. If you want to use a television for deep, theater-like movie experiences, this is well worth the money.

The money-is-no-object television: LG C9

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LG C9 OLED TV (was $ 2,500, now 40% off)

To get the best picture quality possible on a television, you need to purchase an OLED television. OLED TVs are expensive, but that’s because thanks to the technology they contain, each pixel can be lit individually. Basically, this means that a tiny part of your screen that is supposed to be black is black – even if every pixel around it is supposed to be illuminated. The LG C9 TV offers an absolutely breathtaking, extremely razor-sharp picture that will delight everyone who is invited to a demonstration at your home. One disadvantage of OLED technology is that these TVs don’t get as bright as traditional LED models. If you’re doing a full-day Scorsese marathon, be sure to draw the curtains (some suggestions on how to do this below).

The best home theater projectors

A 65-inch television is impressive. But a screen the size of a whole wall? This is the dream. The tradeoffs for projector life are real: less color accuracy, lower resolution, the price of a full projector setup, and the fact that you have to put it in a room. But if you’re looking for that AMC-at-home feel, this is what you should find.

The best all-round projector: BenQ HT2050A

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BenQ HT2050A projector

This BenQ projector is one of the few that we found at a reasonable price. It’s easy to set up and offers solid image quality.

Projecting an image that is bright enough and accurate in color from a single light bulb over an LCD screen is quite complicated. The BenQ HT2050A is one of the few projectors under $ 1000 that manages to produce an image that is almost as clear and dynamic as our favorite TVs. The maximum resolution of this image is 1080p, which is kind of a goof, but it’s bright enough to be sharp even in a room with a little ambient light. And you can easily get a picture twice the size of a 55-inch TV. In addition, no massive black rectangle takes up space in your living room.

If you want something with 4K: BenQ HT3550 projector

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When you’re ready to spend the money on a projector that is as resolvable as today’s televisions, consider one of the premium models from BenQ. The HT3550 is the cheaper end of 4K home theater projectors, which can be up to four times as expensive, but still produce sharp and dynamic images. Especially when projected onto a solid wall in a dark room, it’s more impressive than an inexpensive LCD television.

For movie night everywhere: Anker Nebula Mars II Pro

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Portable projector Anker Nebula Mars II Pro

Unlike the two BenQ projectors mentioned above, the Anker Nebula Mars II is portable – it has a battery and built-in streaming apps (which means you’ll need WiFi to use it). Like any projector, it is best used in a controlled, dark, screen environment. The maximum is 720p – which is technically HD but feels like a YouTube video from 2009 – but just what you want if you want to go out for a movie night in warmer weather.

Any other equipment you will need for your projector

Unless your living room has a large, windowless, art-free, pox-free, perfectly white wall positioned directly across from your couch, you’ll need a pull-down screen to get the most out of your new projector.

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Elite Screens Spectrum motorized screen

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Silver Ticket STR-196100-G projection screen

A projector fixes both of these problems and basically makes it easier for you to get the best image possible. In addition, most have a special coating that improves the clarity of the light reflected from the surfaces. The Silver Ticket is permanently attached to your wall. However, if you want something that you can put away when not in use, get the motorized one from Elite Screens.

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Digital Image Ultra HD screen color

To save a little money, you can opt for screen color instead of a screen. The paint has some of the same reflective properties as a screen, but it may not look as good. And if you have to move, you can’t take a painted wall with you.

How to create the perfect home theater room

Before you buy new AV equipment, research the area where you are currently showing movies (or, as you know, streaming “Too Hot to Handle”. Do you have large windows that let in lots of light? Beautifully stained wood floors that bouncing waves? flashing electrical devices? Even if you bought the prettiest speaker system and projector, these things would get in your way and provide a better home theater experience.

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SelectBlinds Classic blackout curtains

“If you really want to immerse yourself in your favorite show, you want to make your room as dark as possible,” says Crockett. The best way to achieve this is to install blackout curtains or screens. These blackout drapes from Miuco do their job for very little money (although they leave a lot to be desired in the looks department). The SelectBlinds colors are specially adapted to your window opening and are a bit more elegant.

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Soundproof curtains for residential acoustics

$ 120

Home acoustics

Another way to deal with the lighting situation in your home is with soundproof curtains. These thick canvas curtains wrap around the opening of your window to completely block out the light, but also act like noise-canceling headphones for your home. Once you install them you will notice a drastic difference in the amount of ambient noise filtered through your windows, especially if you live on a busy street. For most people, they may be overkill – if you have enough space, Crockett suggests simply moving the home theater setup away from a window as far as possible.

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