If you’re on a budget, a home theater is definitely out of reach, right? Wrong! While experts recommend you have a budget of at least $5,000 in order to do it right – and that’s to install it yourself – you can definitely make some adjustments and get it done for less.
Don’t let money deter you from having an awesome home theater setup. While you won’t be able to afford all the bells and whistles, you can save a ton of money with just a few tricks. By repurposing some items, and even skipping some altogether, it’s possible to get the movie theater experience in your home and have money left over for groceries and other life necessities. Here are some tips and ideas to make it happen.
1. Incorporate What You Already Have
You don’t have to go out and buy all new equipment. If you’ve bought a TV in the past few years, you may not need to upgrade to a new one just yet. In fact, contrary to what you may hear, you don’t even need a smart TV. A Blu-ray player has all the features of a smart TV and is much cheaper.
2. Don’t Buy Everything At Once
Technology is always changing, and upgrades tend to come out at various times. You won’t be able to buy the most up-to-date components all at the same time, so don’t even try. Instead, find out what is most important to you and get those first.
3. Use An Old PC
If you have an older PC lying around, put it to good use as a home theater. PCs are versatile and offer many benefits. Streaming devices like Roku allow you to stream media, but that’s about it. With a PC, you can not only stream media, but also enhance the various features in order to turn it into an all-in-one media center. You can upgrade the processor or audio card, add a graphics card or Blu-ray player, or turn the PC into a gaming computer. Computers offer the ability to add on in the future.
4. Buy The Right Speakers – But Not The Biggest Ones
When it comes to speakers, bigger is not better. Bigger is more expensive, but that’s about it. When it comes to sound quality, it’s all in the placement. You need only a 5.1 setup – this includes five satellite speakers and one subwoofer.
5. Invest In A Blu-Ray Player
Forget plunking down thousands of dollars on a TV. Believe it or not, your main component should be a high-quality Blu-ray player. They are more expensive than DVD players, but they offer many more benefits. They can not only play Blu-ray discs and DVDs, but also audio and video, as well as images and content from a USB device.
In addition, many Blu-ray players are network-enabled. This means you can connect them to a router, and they’ll be internet capable. You can then stream content online.
6. Don’t Pay More
When creating a budget for your home theater, don’t overlook accessories. You’ll need wires, cables, and connectors, which can get pricey. At the same time, you don’t need to plop down $100 for an HDMI cable. While some cables may be more effective than others, for the most part, you don’t need to spend more to improve the quality of your home theater.
You can also save money when it comes to your main components. Check into refurbished devices, which can save you a ton of money. Refurbished items are typically like new, although there may be some exceptions. Some items considered refurbished simply have an open box, so nothing has been done to them. Some may be defective or have some sort of damage, so be wary of this, as this could affect quality.
You can also look at Craigslist and search estate sales for some high-quality equipment. Some people – looking to unload items quickly – may be giving away electronics for free or at rock-bottom prices.
Amazon and eBay also have great prices on a variety of items. There is a lot of variety as well, so you can choose from numerous mid-range items if you don’t want to buy the cheapest or the most expensive item.
7. Consider A Home Theater In A Box
If you already have a TV, you can simply buy a home theater in a box and be done with it. These systems include just about everything you need, such a receiver and speakers. Some even include a DVD or Blu-ray player.
This will make things easier for you, especially if you dream of having a home theater but don’t consider yourself a techie.
8. Budget In Ongoing Costs
Once your home theater is set up, the costs don’t end there. You have to pay the costs required to keep it up and running. This includes Blu-ray discs, a streaming service, internet costs, cable or satellite TV costs, and pay-per-view costs. Make sure you can afford all of this, or you won’t be able to enjoy your home theater system – which would defeat the whole purpose of having one.
Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars on hand, you can still enjoy a home theater. By understanding what components you absolutely need and which alternatives you can use, you can save money without sacrificing quality. You’ll be able to enjoy high-definition picture and sound without breaking the bank.