Building a Home Theater System Is Easy With This Beginner’s Guide

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If you want to create a great home theater experience, you need three main components: a screen, an audio system, and a device to deliver your favorite content. Throughout this guide, you’ll find endless hardware combinations to help you learn the basics.

To make building a top quality home theater easier, we’ve spent hours researching and testing the essential components of a top quality home theater. All of our criteria for these components are explained below. Prepare to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows in a next level setting.

The screen

When choosing a screen for your home theater, you have two main options: a projector or a large screen TV. Everyone has their own advantages over the other.

Image Credit: Hearst Owned

Image Credit: Hearst Owned

You need to consider the size and layout of the room in which you will place it, as well as the time you plan to use it. Home theater projectors, unlike televisions, have built-in lamps that have a set cycle of use before they are expensive to replace (lamp life is measured in thousands of hours).

Best home theater projectors

The biggest benefit of using a home theater projector is that it is the closest thing to the cinema. With a projector, you can easily enjoy content on a screen that is well over 100 inches diagonally – larger than any television available today.

However, home theater projectors have a few shortcomings, starting with their significantly lower maximum brightness than a television. This means that you need a dark room to be able to enjoy it. A home theater projector also requires ceiling mounting and a special screen to achieve the best possible experience.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Short throw laser home theater projectors incorporate the latest technology that addresses most of the shortcomings of traditional projectors. These offer more vivid screen contents with superior brightness and contrast.

The story goes on

Best of all, short-range laser projectors don’t require a lot of installation or space – you can just place them near a wall. Overall, such products are considerably more expensive, but they are worth it if your budget allows.

Best big screen TV

A large screen television is the most convenient way to set up your home theater system. We strongly recommend that you get at least a 65-inch display or higher.

Compared to a home theater projector, a large screen TV is much easier to install and has better durability. You also don’t have to worry about the ambient lighting in the room like you would with a projector – televisions have a much brighter picture.

Whether you choose a home theater projector or a large screen TV, choose one that supports 4K resolution. With four times as many pixels as Full HD, 4K video looks much better and more detailed. Most new movies and shows are already available in 4K too, making the device you are investing in future-proof.

Buyers looking for even more pixels can consider an 8K TV instead. They have four times more pixels than their already fascinating 4K counterparts. As a result, the experience of viewing compatible content is nothing short of amazing. Top manufacturers like LG, Samsung, and Sony have 8K-compatible products, and you can get a great TV with a 65-inch panel for less than $ 3,000. It’s worth noting that the availability of 8K content is limited. So you should hold back until compatible content becomes more mainstream.

HDR is another term that you need to be familiar with when buying a display. The abbreviation stands for High Dynamic Range and makes compatible content look much more lively than non-HDR material. There are three HDR content standards – Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG – and today’s high-end televisions support all three. Currently, home theater projectors are severely limited in their HDR functions, although they still support HDR10 content.

The audio system

A surround sound setup is just as important to your home theater experience as the screen. The easiest way to upgrade your audio is to get a ready-to-use home theater package. This usually includes a home audio receiver, satellite speakers, and a subwoofer.

Most modern audio receivers support 4K video passthrough over HDMI. This is an important feature to look out for, especially if you have decided on a 4K TV or home theater projector.

Best home theater audio systems

All home theater audio systems support 5.1 channel surround sound, which is the bare minimum for a great sound experience. Fancy offerings support even more audio channels, including Dolby Atmos, which can simulate audio effects from any direction (including above you!) To fully immerse yourself in the content displayed.

Experienced audiophiles can choose to build their own surround sound system. Depending on your budget, you can create a high quality setup for less than $ 1,000. But if money isn’t an issue, you can easily spend five-digit and more on audio hardware.

The content

Unless you’ve decided on a 4K smart TV, we highly recommend adding a UHD-enabled streaming device to your home theater setup.

Best media player

The Apple TV 4K is by far the best option currently available. It supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range standards and offers an amazing range of 4K content and streaming services. They range from Netflix and Amazon Prime to Apple TV + from the tech giant and a fantastic selection of HDR-enhanced films.

The latest NVIDIA Shield TV is a solid alternative to the Apple TV 4K. It supports 4K HDR streaming from the services popular today, including YouTube, as well as rentals from the Google Play Store.

Today’s top game consoles such as the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 are also powerful media players that not only stream high-resolution content, but also play 4K Blu-ray discs. They are worth considering as long as you can find one in stock.

If you’re the type who likes physical copies of movies, consider a 4K Blu-ray player instead. Today’s best deals support HDR content as well as the ability to stream from the most popular services.

Optional: the universal remote control

Each component of your home theater has its own remote control that can be overwhelming. To fight back against an overcrowded coffee table, we strongly recommend using a universal remote control.

The Sevenhugs Smart Remote X universal remote control is one of the best of its kind. The touchscreen device can control hundreds of thousands of devices, including household appliances. It’s elegant and, thanks to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and infrared connectivity, as future-proof as it gets.

Believe it or not, your smartphone can also be used as a handy universal remote control. Many of the top rated home theater products today have Wi-Fi connectivity and app-enabled controls.

Depending on the products you choose, you might even be able to skip using an app altogether. For example, Apple iOS has a built-in Apple TV remote that allows users to control their streaming player, as well as the TV and audio system they are connected to through their iPhone.

Continue reading:

Our guide to choosing the best Smart TV

The absolute best streaming devices worth your attention

The best Wi-Fi speakers for your home

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