Five Items Every Home Theater Needs that Cost Less than $500
We love our home theaters and want to get the most out of them that we can. This list is not about the actual AV parts, Display, Receiver, Speakers, etc, but more about things that will help you enjoy your home theater more.
Lighting - Wall sconces that can be dimmed when watching TV/Movies add a dramatic element to any viewing experience. If you currently have sconces you can make them programmable by adding smart bulbs. If you don’t they are fairly easy to add by yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that you may need to hire an electrician and do some drywall repair which will raise the cost and make it cost more than $500. But for this list we assume you are all DIYers and we’ll leave it on the list!
Bass Shaker System - We have spent thousands of dollars on all kinds of equipment over the years and this one item has had the most impact on our viewing experience. You really FEEL the action. An added plus is that it can be had for less than $300. Here is a brief video on Ara’s Setup. Ara’s Bass Shaker Setup and Install Video.
Surge Protectors/Power Conditioners - This is not very glamorous but so essential. At the very least every home theater setup should have surge protectors. Protecting your expensive electronics doesn't cost much as well. Good protectors can be found at Costco for about $25. If you have noisy power lines a Power conditioner can help clean it up and improve your audio and video. They cost a bit more than surge suppressors. This one by Furman goes from about $180. There are others for much less.
Universal Remote Control - This may be the most annoying part of the home theater experience. Why the AV community can’t get together and define a remote control standard is beyond us? There should be one TV on and off command that all TVs respond to. Done then every remote could control every device. Maybe someday. Until then look into getting a universal remote like Harmony. They make physical remotes as well as an app for your phone. If you are good with only being able to control your home theater with a tablet or phone consider the simplecontrol app. This can set you back as high as $350 but there are lower cost options as well.
Acoustic Treatments - Acoustic management can make good home theaters sound great and great home theaters sound amazing. Today you can buy sound absorbing panels that enhance the decor of your room so it's more than just an audio improvement. You can spend more than $500 here but we feel that a few panels placed in the right spots can improve you Home theater for less than $500. Some resources GIK Acoustics, AcousticMac, and Home Depot just to name a few.