Music + Movies + TV

Building a Home Theater on a Budget

It’s possible that the Oscars are one of my favorite nights of the year. I love everything that the night represents – the dresses, and the tuxes, and the lights, and, of course, the films. I love films. I love watching them and listening to the soundtracks and memorizing my all of my favorite lines. However, I’m not much for crowds and teenagers making out and bored people texting throughout the movie, so I choose to watch most of my films at home.  And now, I’m in the market to upgrade my home viewing experience, so I’m trying to find the best ways to create my own movie theatre, on a budget.

Now, I live in an apartment, so I’m limited to the amount of remodeling I can do. However, for those who own their homes (or have lenient landlords), there are some decisions to be made. First and foremost, decide on a budget, and then decide if this is a “spruce up the living room” project or a “convert the attic/adult child’s old bedroom/basement” sort of project.

It’s probably the general consensus that the television or projector is the biggest component of the theatre room. I’m a proponent of the projector route, but that’s just me. Some might choose to use the television they currently own (lowest budget option) or upgrade if possible. A tip for checking out big-ticket electronics – Costco and Sam’s Club often have very good prices on larger items. Checking online at websites such as are also good places to look.  Then look at a Blu-Ray player that will be compatible with the TV or projector.

After getting all of that squared away, and picking the best position for it based on the room (and cable hook-up, if applicable), it’s time to hook up the  surround sound systems and really get the party started. A cheaper, simpler option is to get a speaker system that attaches to the bottom of a flat panel TV. Having outboard speakers that attach to shelving units or are freestanding is another way to go. The bigger and higher quality speakers will obviously cost more, but there are plenty of awesome options for any price range.   Placement about the speakers is a big deal as well – the shape of the room is important when considering acoustics.  Knowing how the sound will bounce around in the room is a big factor in what makes watching movies awesome. There’s nothing like being in a room, watching a really intense scene, and getting to fully appreciate all of the work that the sound technicians do on a movie.

With today’s technological advancements, there’s no reason why watching movies at home can’t be as good as or better than going to the theatre. Once the living room is tricked out, pop in a Blu-Ray and hang on for the ride.

Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.

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