What Is Home Theater and What Does It Do for Me?

Home Theater enhances your entertainment experience

Home theater is an audio and video equipment configuration in your home that emulates the movie theater experience. A good home theater setup might provide a more impressive experience than many small multiplex cinema screens.

Home theater setup

Perry Mastrovito / Getty Images

Application of Home Theater

The application of home theater can vary widely. With a little planning, assembling your home theater can be easy, resulting in an organized, functional, and visually pleasing setup.

Custom Home Theater

An elaborate, custom-built home theater could cost thousands of dollars and include the following:

  • High-end large screen TV or projector,
  • Blu-Ray Disc/Ultra HD Blu-ray player,
  • Media server
  • Cable or satellite
  • Separate amplifiers for each channel controlled by a preamp or controller
  • In-wall speakers
  • And a couple of subwoofers (some people include up to four subwoofers in their setup).

Practical Home Theater Options

In reality, home theaters in most homes do not necessarily consist of an expensive custom installation, nor cost a lot of money. A modest home theater setup can be something as simple as a 32 to a 55-inch TV, combined with at least a DVD player and a soundbar, or a Blu-ray Disc player combined with a stereo or home theater receiver, speakers, and a subwoofer.

Also, with plunging prices, upgrading to a large screen LCD, Plasma TV (discontinued as of 2014 but still in use) (55-inches or larger) or Blu-ray Disc player does not require a big wallet—even a growing number of video projectors are becoming reasonably-priced home theater options. Also, if you have a little more cash, a 4K Ultra HD LED/LCD or OLED TV might be options to consider.

Another option that you could include in a home theater setup is internet streaming. Most TVs and Blu-ray Disc players can also stream TV shows and movies from the internet. Even if you don't have a TV that has this capability, you can purchase many inexpensive add-on media streamers that provide access to an abundance of content.

You can use your home theater system as a hub to expand your viewing and listening throughout the house, either by physical or wireless connectivity.

A quality universal remote control system, a smartphone, or the voice control features of a smart speaker can help you control it all.

Whatever type of system you end up with, as long as it provides the entertainment options you need and like, then it is your 'Home Theater.' You can have a home theater in just about any room of the house, a small apartment, office, dorm, or even outside.

The option(s) you choose is up to you. Just be sure to do a little research before getting started.

The Bottom Line

A home theater provides an entertainment option suitable for watching TV and movies at home with a little extra excitement.

For many, going to the local cinema is a distant memory. You can stream relatively new movies and binge-watch TV shows in comfort.

Borrowing from the image and sound technology of theaters and adapting them to the home environment, TV and audio manufacturers have provided the ability to approximate the movie theater experience at home.

  • How do I connect my Fire TV Stick to my home theater?

    First, connect the TV or projector to an HDMI ARC port on your AV Receiver. Then, connect your Amazon Fire TV Stick to an HDMI port on the receiver.

  • How do I play TV sound through my home theater system?

    The best way to connect your television to an external audio system depends on the TV brand or model. On some TVs, you can run RCA cables from the TV to the input of the speaker system and set the audio output from the TV settings. All modern systems support Bluetooth.

  • Which speaker wire gauge is best for a home theater?

    Choosing the best speaker cables can make a difference in audio quality. For example, lower-gauge wires are thicker and demonstrate less resistance. However, for most home theater setups, a regular 16-gauge wire is sufficient.

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