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How to Set Up a Home Theater on the Cheap

 March 21, 2017
Scott in Budget
Home theaters can run well into the thousands, but there's no need to spend the earth to enjoy a cinematic experience from your sofa. We've pulled together five great tips to not only build your theater on a budget, but maintain it too.

The perfect home theater is often something that we plan in our head, with rows of red seats, state-of-the-art surround sound and either a giant television or an old school projector. However, once you start the planning process, you will soon realize that you might need a second job just to pay for the upgrades. But don't fret, we've found some easy (and achievable) ways to set up a home theater on the cheap!


Popcorn at the ready...

Popcorn home theater

#1—Decide on television or projector

Although televisions are typically the easier thing to set up, a solid projector, screen and speakers will set you back about the same amount. Do your research, and know that you'll be able to find a system that will project in 1040 or even 4k at a fraction of the price of a TV. The added bonus is that you can spend the extra savings on an amazing set of speakers for the full immersion experience. 


#2—Look on Craigslist, Kijiji, or other second-hand sites

Many audiophiles are constantly upgrading to the newest and greatest, and that means getting rid of their current top-rated system. Look around for speaker sets, amps or full media units that you can find for pennies on the dollar. You will need to learn how to wire, and set up the system, but with enough research on YouTube or the forums, you will easily be able to set the system up. Or if in doubt, ask a neighbor! 


#3—Use a gaming system instead of a media center

Gaming systems are some of the best media centers in the world and have an amazing return on investment. Not only will you be able to play said games, but you can also play DVDs, Blu-rays and plug in external hard drives for movies and music. In addition, it's simple to connect your speakers, as well as your television or projector. Plus, the ability to play some Call of Duty on a 100-inch projector with surround sound is never a bad thing. 


#4—Draft out your room

You don't need an architecture degree to draw out your room, but the right plans will allow you to plan your purchases. Not only will you need to consider features such as windows, doors and actual physical space, but you will need to draft where to put tables, seats and the projector or television. This will save you time and money, as you won't buy something that is too big or too small for your space. Additionally, deciding where the television is going to sit is essential, as LEDs, and Plasmas are best in certain light. 


#5—Buy surge protectors

This is a simple and yet often forgotten purchase that will save you thousands in the long run. No matter where you are, there can be power surges that can ruin electronics. Don't cheap out and buy the power bar from the dollar store. Purchase one from a reputable dealer, and ensure that it'll be able to handle the voltage and amperage that is in your area. Plug all of your items into surge protectors and you will be enjoying your home theater for a long time to come. 

Home theater projector

Tip! Check out our coupons for electronics to see how you could save even more money on a home theater!