A home theater can be crazy expensive decked out with all the latest technologies. On the other hand, you can choose to go with the bare minimum. Our experts are going to give you information on home theater cost so you can get the best of both worlds without having to spend too much to meet your needs.
How Much Does a Home Theater Cost?
The total budget of a home theater really varies from home to home. However, you can expect to pay a couple of hundred per square foot. Generally, this means the larger your home theater or media room is, the more expensive your home theater system will be. A home theater room size calculator will get you the exact room size dimensions for your home theater system and an idea how much your system will cost.
If you decide to go all out and build a system that is integrated into your home, this will also raise the value of your residence. Even if you only purchase home theater setup components such as a Blu Ray player and necessary speakers, it still adds value to your home.
The total cost of the home theater really comes down to what you are looking for. Low end home theater equipment will cost you less but might not elevate your viewing experience by much. Consider the size of your space, what you want, and what you may need. Our experts will now go into more detail about home theater costs and present options for your budget.
Design, Layouts and Acoustics of a Home Theater
To get a high quality viewing experience, the design, layout and acoustics of your home theater matters. Our experts have saved the components you need for the best home theater speaker system for later and are going to focus on the placement and design for your room.
The seating area and the screen, whether you are using one of the best budget projectors below 500 or a large flatscreen, should be on opposite sides of the room. The equipment you choose will be placed throughout the space with the location optimized for sound quality.
Our team suggests carpeted floors and acoustic treatments to absorb the sound and to create a dynamic sound stage. Different components of your movie theater system can also be wall-mounted to save space. If you intend on keeping the AV receiver and other surround sound system parts out of the way, then make sure your room has wall-mounting space.
The cost to build a full home theater system from scratch can be staggering, so if you aren’t an avid cinephile or audiophile, home theaters in the mid range will be sufficient to elevate your cinematic experience at home.
When considering hiring professionals to build your media room, remember to inquire about their cost per hour. The cost per hour number should be factored into your overall cost to build the finished product.
Equipment Needed in a Home Theater Installation
For this portion, our team will dive deeper into the audio visual equipment that factors into your home theater cost. You can decide to include all of them or mix and match according to your needs.
A projector has virtually no limits to screen size. Even when using a DIY projector screen, when installed in your home theaters, you can still experience Blu Ray content at the same resolution as you would using a home theater in a box.
It’s easy for the projector to create a much larger viewing screen than your flatscreen TV and over time, you will notice it’s much easier on your eyes than the harsh glare from a regular LCD screen .
One thing our team will remind you about projectors is they have a tendency to cost more to maintain. The lamp light and projection lens requires replacement over time.
If you are on a budget, the Vankyo Leisure 3 mini projector is less than three digits and is a great option that will cost less but doesn’t sacrifice the resolution you want.
However, if price is of no constraint to you, then our team suggests the Optoma HD146X High Performance Projector, one of the premium home theater projectors below 1000 that is also excellent for gaming. So if you want to enjoy your TV shows, movies and video games at a higher quality, this model gets our 5-star approval.
If you opt for a projector, then you need a projection screen. This isn’t 100% necessary as a lot of people use their walls. However, a screen will enhance the color and gain of your video content in a way plain white walls can’t. If you choose to use your wall, you will notice faded colors and less vibrance.
White is generally what is recommended, but it is only ideal for a home theater room that largely operates in the dark. If you don’t want to watch a movie in complete darkness, then light grey or a shade of beige will enhance the color under lighting.
A pocket friendly option of a projector screen is the Mdbebbron 120 inch screen. It’s large size will simulate a true cinematic experience, especially if it’s paired with at least a 5.1 surround sound system. It’s very easy to set up, has anti-crease features and folds for storage.
Projector screens don’t cost much, and most high-end premium options are under three digits.
If you don’t go the projector route, then you need a TV for your home movie theater. There are a lot of high-end TVs that are made specifically for home theaters. On average, households opt for TVs that are 40 inches and over. However, for a home theater, you may need a screen of around 60 or more to really get the experience.
4K, 8K and Blu Ray technology are integrated into many of the best TVs. However, compared to a projector, a TV could lead to viewing fatigue after many hours.
Sony has earned a reputation of being a very reliable brand with some of the best media products. Their X800H 75-inch TV is our experts’ recommendation for a home theater setup.
Surround Sound Speakers
Not only are the visuals important in your home theater, but without impressive sound, your theater experience will fall flat. High end speakers can cost upwards of a few thousand dollars, but you don’t necessarily need the best quality to enjoy the audio.
A 5.1 system is the entry point for true surround sound. However, if you’re going for a full home theater anyway, our experts advise going for 7.1, depending on the size of your room. The price range difference between a 5.1 and a 7.1 system is not too staggering and a full system is better if you want the best audio experience you can get.
Some suggestions to help get you started is the JBL Bar 5.1 that is very worth the price you pay. It can transform instantly into a 5.1 system with detachable satellite speakers.
For a full-out 7.1 system, our team’s recommendation is the Klipsch 7.1 RP-280. The price is a bit steep but for the technology you are getting, which includes their proprietary Tractrix Horn Technology, the cost is worth it.
Home Theater Receiver
If you go for a passive home theater speaker system, then you need a home theater receiver in your setup. Its job is to send and receive audio and visuals from multiple sources including your speakers and other components. It also processes the audio and visual formats including Dolby, DTS, Blu Ray, 4K and 8K resolution.
It’s important to make sure the AV receiver is compatible with your speaker setup. In other words, if you have a 7.1 system, look for a receiver that has the same number of channels.
The Denon AVR-S540BT is a 5.2 channel option our team recommends. If you have a 7-channel setup, then the Onkyo TX-SR494 AV Receiver is our top choice.
Home Theater Seating
Don’t forget about your own comfort in your home theater. How you decorate and furnish the room should also be considered into the cost. The national average budget for a home theater system isn’t very high, but if you want the most high end speakers and seating, then the price range increases.
We do suggest not skimping on costs for comfort. Your movie won’t be as enjoyable without a nice and cozy couch or other seating to enjoy it on. Look around for high quality recliners to install with arm rests, memory foam and cup holders.
Some of our top recommendations include the Valencia Tuscany home theater seating and the Valencia Piacenza for a cozier setup.
The flooring costs won’t be too high if you already have carpeting. Instead of having to install new floors, consider putting in a large rug or two. As long as there aren’t a lot of polished surfaces in your room, the sound won’t sound hollow.
Another form of acoustic treatment is with acoustic panels. These are for the walls and are designed to absorb the sound the way carpeting would on the floors. You can easily purchase these foam panels online. We have included a few of our top choices here.
The DEKIRU 12 Pack Acoustic Panels are a nice option if you like a white color scheme. However, most acoustic foam panels for your theater room are similar to the 12 Pack – Acoustic Foam Panels from Fstop.
The lighting contributes greatly to the ambiance of your home theater. The lighting won’t be a major player in your budget range and will cost an average of 10-20% of your overall cost.
Most of us like a completely dark room when we watch a video, but there are some that like it dim. It doesn’t matter what kind of lighting you get if you dim them or turn them off when enjoying a video.
Our team does suggest not going for harsh fluorescent lights and opt towards warmer bulbs. The experts say having a dimmer switch to control everything from your seat is the best option. You can consider the Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch to control your smart home system.
Even if you go for a mid range system, the wiring is extremely important for audio quality. Don’t skimp on your budget when it comes to the components, and this includes the wires. Choose the toughest and most sturdy cables to hook up your system, as they play a part in your ultra HD video relays.
12 gauge wires such as the InstallGear 12 Gauge Speaker Wire or 14 gauge like the InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG 100ft Speaker Wire Cable are the most recommended by our team.
Do you want to soundproof the theater to keep the sound inside your space? If so, then it could make a much more significant dent in your budget range. The price of soundproofing varies depending on the components used and what effects you want, but the average cost for a midrange setup is over three digits for sure.
Soundproofing isn’t important if your home theater room is secluded in the basement or if the room doesn’t have windows.
Other expenses include extra features you want in your home theater. One thing that our experts have found very convenient is to have a mini fridge. You don’t need one that’s heavy duty, just as long as it keeps your beverages and snacks cold. Consider the RCA RFR320 mini fridge that comes in multiple vibrant colors to match your interior.
If your home theater is in a media room with a pool table, gaming space and more, then all of the additional installations will contribute to your overall budget range.
How much does it cost to install home theater?
It costs a few thousand dollars to over 30k to install a home theater. The exact budget range depends on what you want to include and the features you need. A mid range system will provide an adequate cinema feel for most average households and won’t dig too much into your budget.
A mid range or high end setup for your home theater should at least have a 5.1 sound system. Your home theater budget hinges on the speakers you choose and the upgrades you need to make. It may seem like a steep price to pay for entertainment, but a completely remodeled home theater room will add value to your home and make the budget worth it in the long run.