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There’s nothing like sitting back, reclining and enjoying a five-star film right in the confines of your home. One way to amplify the thrilling action you see on your screen is by watching it in your own home theater.
What once was considered a luxury only for the very rich has become much more typical for homeowners in the twenty-first century. It is a terrific outlet for families who love watching home movies, staying in on Saturday nights and really being part of the action. Frankly, a home theater is like an oasis from reality.
Nevertheless, there is always a cost involved. Surprisingly, if you know how to shop, many families can install a new home theater system for less than $1,000. Below, I will discuss all factors, as well as costs, that go into home theater installation.
Home Theater Installation Cost
The overall price of your home theater install will largely depend on what you need. If you are clearing out the basement, adding new soundproof walls, all new wires, a new speaker system and screen, then of course, the price will inflate. However, if you just need the wiring and other components installed, you should expect to pay no more than $500. In fact, according to our home theater installation cost estimator, the average price is $334.
Surround Sound Installation Cost
While the overall design may look different, installing surround sound for your home theater is not very different from any home sound system. Therefore, as HomeAdvisor points out, the average price to install a surround sound system is $492.
A surround sound system can include two small speakers plugged into a wall outlet, or it can include a dozen mounted speakers located throughout the home for cohesive sound. Either way, we highly recommend buying a pre-packaged system. They ensure that all parts are included and oftentimes, can be cheaper as opposed to buying a la carte.
If you do want to buy each piece by itself, you should look for:
- A center channel speaker
- Two front speakers - one for each side of the screen or on the side walls
- One or two subwoofers
- Two or more surround speakers or speakers behind
How to Save Money with Home Theater Installation
Many homeowners end up hiring a pro, which I will get to later, but like any home remodeling project, there are always tricks and hidden opportunities to save money.
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If you have some electrical knowledge or woodworking skills, you may be able to take some projects off your contractor’s hands. Just make sure your contractor knows what aspects of the job you are undertaking. Communication is key with all home improvement projects. If it is not there, delays will occur.
Next, if you know enough about the technology such as the sound systems, electronics and so forth, you can purchase all the equipment yourself (remember, always look for sales). Home theater pros are used to purchasing the equipment themselves, so one less trip to the store should save you cash on your overall installation.
As always, you can take your DIY skills to the next level by installing the home theater system yourself. Just beware that there may be certain local legal requirements in your neighborhood. Nevertheless, if you do decide to go with a pro, make sure you shop around. Get at least four quotes for your job. Don’t go with the cheapest and don’t go with the most expensive.
Hiring A Pro
Besides their experience, one of the biggest advantages of hiring a professional is the fact that they can customize the theater to your liking. If you are talking a new home theater system, many companies can design entirely new systems from scratch, including your existing furniture.
On the other hand, if you want to upgrade your current system, pros can create a new setup based on existing equipment that can still be used while incorporating new purchases to replace outdated components. If you are looking to save, updating old furniture and obsolete technology is an easy way to vastly upgrade your home theater.
To find a pro, check out HomeAdvisor or the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.
What Goes Into Home Theater Installation
Home theaters should be designed to separate yourself from the rest of the house. The walls are almost always soundproofed so as not to disturb others. If your walls are not soundproofed, you should look to your pro to add the extra insulation. If you want to see how it’s done, watch the handy video below.
Oftentimes, the installation will involve cutting into walls. You or your pro will need to rewire most of the system, add all the acoustics and visuals needed to create that one-of-a-kind home theater experience.
Final Home Theater Considerations
Unless you are looking for a man cave, make sure you leave enough room for all the necessary components of a terrific home theater.
Finishes are selected to provide not only an aesthetically cohesive space but also to work in conjunction with the room acoustics. If you don’t have space for four or five recliners, consider adding a U-shaped couch. If you’re looking for something smaller, you can always try actual theater-style conjoining chairs or a simple array of armchairs. Don’t forget about cup holders!
Never underestimate the power of light. A healthy combination of recessed lights and wall sconces lends itself perfectly to home theater lights. Overall, lighting fixtures serve not only to accentuate the details, but also to provide acoustically reflective surfaces.
HD TV can be exciting, but it really can't compare with the potential of a home theater. A well-designed home theater system can catapult your senses to an enhanced movie experience.
For more home theater tips, please see everything you need to know about home theaters.