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How to Set Up a Custom Home Theater on the Cheap

How to Set Up a Custom Home Theater on the Cheap

How to Set Up a Custom Home Theater on the Cheap

Want home theater on the cheap?  Typically, a bigger budget allows you to get better equipment when setting up a custom home theater. But with good planning, you can set up an impressive home theater with a budget under $3,000. Remember that more expensive does not always translate to better experience. While you get seamless compatibility with equipment from one brand, you can lower the cost by selecting from different brands.

Sound ($900)

A sound bar generally costs lower than a set of surround speakers with the same output. But you can go for a 7.1 setting, which is seven speakers and a subwoofer. You need;

  • 2 floor standing (tall boy) speakers for the front
  • 1 mid-range speaker for the center channel
  • 4 bookshelf surround speakers
  • A subwoofer – This is the most component of the sound system to bring out subtle sounds in movies.

Receiver ($450)

You will need an audio/video receiver that supports 5.1 surround speakers, 3D images and Blu Ray. Other important features to look out for include USB ports to play direct from flash sticks, HDMI ports to support gaming consoles, and wifi/Bluetooth for wireless connectivity to computers and other devices. Some will support smartphone app control.

Projector ($950)

You can get a great projector for less than $1,000. Ban an Optima have projectors that support 3D with 1080 pixels (high definition) that go under $1,000. You will need to buy 3D glasses separately. Also, you should look for a projector with a throw of 1.15-1.5 for a large living room, but a 1.5-1.8 throw works as well for the average sized living room.

Projector screen ($300)

When picking a projector screen you will need to look at;

  • Viewing distance
  • Angle of viewing
  • 3D support
  • Lighting in the room


  • Subwoofer cable ($10) – Go for at least 25 feet cable. This lets you move the subwoofer around until you get the perfect placement
  • Speaker wire ($40)- Get at least 100 feet of speaker cable
  • HDMI cables – Shorter HDMI cables go for under $10, while you can get long run HDMI cables for less than $40
  • Projector mount ($30) You need a mount that can tilt, rotate and swivel.
  • Surge protector – You will need one for the projector. Pick the wall wart style surge protector that goes for about $15. You will need another surge protector for the rest of the equipment. You can get a 3240 joules protector with 12 outlets for less than $30.
  • Remote control ($100)– A universal remote control allows control from a single point
  • Digital dimmer ($40) to control the lighting
  • Acoustic panels ($100) to enrich the audio experience

For about $3,000 you can have a thumping home theater on the cheap, that impresses your guests greatly.


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