It can be—with some shrewd shopping and ingenuity. Read on to learn how to start creating your own home theater setup on a budget.
Find a Great Television
Obviously, any home theater setup starts with a great television. The good news is, it’s possible to pick up a quality television without spending a fortune.
When shopping for TVs, consider the benefits of buying open box or refurbished. Many are just like new, with no meaningful flaws or drawbacks, and sell for a fraction of the cost. Just think: you could get the centerpiece of your home theater for way less, and spend that money on all your accessories instead!
Is bigger always better?
One thing to be aware of when buying a TV is that size matters… but not in the way you might think. There’s nothing wrong with springing for a big TV, but you should know the size of your viewing space will determine your optimal screen size.
- For 720p and 1080p HDTVs, your viewing distance should be about twice the width of the screen.
- For regular HDTVs, the viewing distance is 1.5 times the size of the screen. (So, for example, a 55″ screen works best when you sit about five or six feet from the screen).
- If you spring for a 4K Ultra HD television, you can get a better viewing experience at about half that distance.
When considering what size TV to get, do the measurements for your own space to see what will work best. While buying a 90″ HDTV for your mid-sized living room might seem like a good idea at first, you may not be pleased with the end result.
Get on the Streaming Bandwagon
One way to save some money on your home theater setup in the long run is to cut the cable cord. You can pick up a streaming media player and stream movies, television programs, and even YouTube videos to your TV for a fraction of the cost of a premium cable subscription. The days of browsing the shelves at Blockbuster may be gone, but thanks to services like Google Play and Vudu, renting movies digitally is inexpensive and easy.
Some home theater enthusiasts recommend going with a PC over a set-top box like the Roku for maximum flexibility, however personally, I consider this a matter of taste. A PC setup gives you more control, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity and hassle-free nature of a device like the Roku, which requires less maintenance and a minimum of fiddling.
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