How Much Does It Cost To Build A Home Theater?

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Cost to Build a Home Theater

But what about prices?

Is it really expensive to build a home theater?

Many people think that building a home theater is an expensive endeavor. It is generally true that the more high-end products you want in your home theater, the more it can cost. The good news though, is that for most home theaters, the cost is very reasonable, especially in comparison to what you end up paying for a system at a speciality home theater installation company.

Here are the prices for a home theater build that would put together a budget home theater in your basement, family room, or living area. These prices are for the general construction work required to get the theater built. The list is as follows, off the top of my head:

  • Set up your floor system (either carpet or wood)
  • Hang or lay your drywall

Frame your theater room (studs, etc.)

Hang Your Theater Screen (or You Could Erect a Screen and Then Install the Finished Frame after the Paint Is Dry)

Hang or lay your carpet (depending upon your project, you might want to consider tile or hardwood flooring … this is generally a lesser cost than carpeting, but there is a lot of work to laying tile… this is your choice).

Extra Home Theater Components

Lets face it, if you’re reading this post you’ve already decided that building a home theater is what you want. Well, the most important step in building a home theater is an easy one. .. determine what you want to spend.

That’s right, you have to decide on a budget. This is the first and most important step in building your home theater. And if you want to … er work your way to building your very own dream home theater then you have to start somewhere.

For many people they may have a home theater in mind, but may be deterred from its initial cost. And by initially I mean the first year or two expenses.

If you’re like most people, you’re thinking about how the heck can I put together a state of the art home theater for my money?

Well, this article will highlight certain factors that can help you get the best without burning a hole in your wallet. There are always compromises, but in most instances if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices then you can still have one heck of a home theater.

Pricing Up a Basic Home Theater

To be honest, there is no "one size fits all" formula for pricing on home theater components. Every home theater is different. Every installation is different. Every product line is different. Many options and features are available that can affect both the cost and quality of your system. The short answer is it can be very expensive.

Most people are looking for the following things:

{1}. Great picture quality for movies, television, and sports.
{2}. Easy to use.
{3}. A usable system that comes with some level of technology's latest and greatest technology.
{4}. A system that doesn't look old in a year.
{5}. Something that does all the things they want it to do without the need to upgrade a year from now.

Based on this, the "good news" is that most people aren't too concerned with having the latest and greatest. It's all about the right price point. The "bad news" is that has to mean you still need to spend a good chunk of change. Products are getting more expensive (do you think that it costs you a lot more to buy a 64 oz soda at the fast food restaurant versus the 16oz that you bought 10 years ago?)

AV Receiver

An AV receiver is a device that allows you to play media on your TV. It is one of the essential parts of any home theater system and is like the brains of the theater.

AV receivers come in different formats and features. The latest and best AV receiver models come with high-resolution displays and HDMI inputs/outputs. If you are planning to build a state of the art home theater system, then it is very important to read this post to understand what is the best AV receiver for your money.

TV

Size:

When it comes to choosing the size of the TV, you first have to consider the size of your room. Most experts will tell you that you shouldn’t have to decide between the size of your TV screen and the size of your living room.

You should pick a size that’s just big enough for you to see everything that’s going on, but not so big that you can’t move around to change seating. The most common size for a home theater television is 55 inches.

But in reality, you can choose whatever size you want. Of course, the bigger the screen, the more you’re going to have to pay. And if you need to put the screen up high, you may have to deal with projection issues. So it’s best to get your living room as big as possible or look into a ceiling mounted projector.

You need to account for two types of power costs both of which are dependent on your electrical usage. One is the cost of the electricity per hour including the cost of operation, which is typically calculated per kilowatt hour (kWh). The second cost is maintenance and upkeep of your items which is just as important as the first. This cost is closest to the price of the equipment and will vary widely depending on your resource choices and preferences.

Projector and Screen

The most critical purchase might be the projector. Without one, watching movies, sports and gaming is out of the question. If you're looking for an affordable option, a 720p or 1080p DLP projector will do the trick for you. It might not give an incredible lifelike experience, but it does deliver bright and clear colors. Most of the affordable projectors in the market today have fairly short lamp life, so you do have to replace them after a few years. This could pop up in your regular household budget, including electricity and annual maintenance costs.

A projector that has HDMI and USB ports will allow you to plug in your gaming console or computer, and also have an improved experience. Read the projectors reviews for a better idea of which one to choose. Also, to avoid the hassle of keeping the projector and the screen at the right distance, get a motorized screen.

Surround Sound Speakers

If you want the best experience possible at home movie night, surround sound speakers are a must. Having a giant screen projector or a high definition television doesn’t mean that you’re good to go. You need to also have the best 5.1 surround sound system to get that theatre feel. But, with so many brands on the market today, it’s tough to know who’s best, and for your money, when it comes to buying surround sound speakers.

This post will blaze through the details and allow you to buy the highest quality products on the market. Let’s dive right in! This guide is all about finding the best surround sound speakers for your home theatre set. We’ll analyze the top brands on the market and talk about what you can expect to pay.

A surround sound speaker system is made up of five or more speakers. The five core speakers deliver the main channels of sound and then two or more speakers can be used to add rear speakers for the surround sound effect. A professional sound system will either be 5.1 or 7.1. The number indicates the channels, where five refers to five main speakers and one refers to either the subwoofer or rear speakers.

Wiring

Whether you plan to go pro and have a professional install all your home theater gear, or if you decide to do it yourself, you want to make sure you have a good idea of what goes where before spending big bucks.

The biggest portion of the costs of building a home theater will come in the form of:

  • Screen
  • AC Outlets
  • TV
  • Video Processor
  • Speakers
  • Antenna/Cable
  • Projector
  • DVD/Blu-ray Player

If you’re opting for professional installation, the tech crews will guide you through the process of calculating how much wire you need by using a method of measurement referred to as “runs” and “taps”.

Runs are the shortest lengths of wire to run from the wall to the devices in question. Taps are the wires connected between devices, and they allow you to run longer lengths of wire.

For a basic home theater system, you'll need:

  • 7 HDMI cables (3 to run to the projector, 3 to run to the TV, 1 for the processor)
  • 2 Cat6 Ethernet cables (one for each network component)
  • 1 10-gauge speaker wire (ran from the receiver)

Pricing Up Extra Components

Now that you have the main components of your home theater system in place, it’s time to start thinking of your additional extras.

For example, you may want to include a DVD or Blu-Ray player, a television, speakers, games console, an iPod dock and a universal remote control unit to control all these devices. Even more savvy homeowners want to add satellite/subscription services such as Netflix and Pandora for entertainment.

You may also want to consider investing in a home theater PC as an asset to your home entertainment system.

Whatever options you choose, your home entertainment system will be totally unique to your own tastes and not just to the price. When you’re building your own home theater, it’s best to add the extras that appeal to you most.

Soundproofing and Acoustic Treatment

Projection screens and acoustic treatments help control the noise level in your home theater. With a projector screen material, which can absorb lots of sound, it allows the sound to bounce off the screen and become less directional. It absorbs the noise and prevents it from bouncing off off the walls.

Treatments are more about reducing reverberation. They can't hear the sound as well if it is diffused.

Acoustic panels and foam tiles are the most affordable solution to help control noise levels in your room. They come in different textures, designs, and colors. You can target the area exactly where most of the sound is being absorbed.

There are also different products available that can be attached to walls. They are called acoustic tiles. These tiles can be made with different materials even though they are the most common.

Another kind of acoustic tile is called an isolation pad. It is different from the usual wall covering. These pads are made of high density sound absorbing foam and impact dampening compound. It's a sandwich that goes between the wall board and the drywall.

This is an excellent method for reducing sound. But acoustic tiles are much more affordable and can really help your audio system sound better.

Décor

Lighting & Video.

Depending on the size of your space, a full home theater can take a lot of time and money to create.

However, some of the basics of home theater design are surprisingly affordable. After you've created the main home theater space, you can offset costs with a few simple changes in your living space.

One of the most rewarding aspects of creating your own theater is the ability to personalize it. However, one of the best ways to do this is to focus on light and décor.

Lighting and décor are some of the easiest home theater design elements — but they can also be some of the most expensive. Focus on decorative items that aren't necessarily theater specific. For example, a single decorative art piece can be the focus of an entire wall and bring in color or texture to a themed space.

A simple way to offset costs is to replace inexpensive light bulbs with specialty light bulbs that replicate the feel of a movie theater.

Conclusion

A whole home theater system represents a sizable investment. The amount you spend will be driven by how elaborate you want your system to be, how much storage space you have, what your preexisting equipment is, and your personal preferences.

This article should give you a good idea of what is involved with building a home theater.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with decisions, research, and design, jump on the web, where there is a lot of information available to help make your decision easier. Then, once you’ve figured out your needs, set a budget, and determined what you want, group together with like-minded friends to spread the cost around.

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