Affordable home theaters bring movies to youWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Movie theaters traditionally mean a night out to see a big screen with big sound, but new products can bring a bit of that experience into dens and living rooms.
A home theater mixes a TV, DVD player, stereo receiver and speakers into a compelling whole. And an entry-level system doesn’t have to break the bank, said Steve Koenig, of the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Va.
Buying a high-quality traditional 32-inch television and pairing it with a home-theater-in-a-box, complete with a DVD player and five speakers, can cost less than $1,000, Koenig said.
“One of things we do most often — and we do everything electronic — is home theater. Everyone aspired to have this 10 years ago, but did not want to spend $25,000. Now, with ceiling-mounted, 10 ft. diagonal screen, 7-channel surround sound, new format DVD, HDTV satellite, the entire, complete system is around $8,500,” said Craig Weide, systems specialist for securities and technology at Transtar Electric Security and Technologies on 767 Warehouse Rd. in South Toledo. “That price makes it attractive. The people in Toledo are practical, and they want to be able to justify the price.”
Weide said aesthetic choices are driving the market.
“People want the system to fit their home, without the big boxes and wires,” he said. “We give people ideas to fit their existing rooms.”
While the starting point may bring less than a four-figure price, home theater systems are often far more expensive.
Flat-panel TVs, higher-end sound systems and installations that hide speakers and wires are expensive investments that can cost thousands of dollars.
While a home theater can begin with as little as a TV attached to two external speakers, the price of sophisticated systems can climb as high as $50,000 or even $500,000, said Mark Richardson, chief brand officer of Tweeter, an electronics company based in Canton, Mass.
Fans of home theater systems can thank the rise of the DVD in the late 1990s, Koenig said. DVDs allowed high-quality video and audio, which can make older TVs and stereos sound better.
Newer gear meant to take advantage of every nuance only broadens the experience, often dramatically.
The key to a successful system is planning, Richardson said. First, decide on the type of experience that’s desired for a guide to price and components.
One person might want a system to double as a home stereo, putting the emphasis on sound. Someone else might desire a system to watch the big game with friends, putting the emphasis on a big, bold TV screen, Richardson said.
Deciphering the various components and standards can be confusing. Koenig suggested visiting a retailer specializing in home theaters and quality audio for a primer.