How to Update Your Home Theatre Without Spending a Fortune

Enhance your media room experience with these tips

Credit: BC Home

Small changes to your home theatre can make a big difference in experience

Bring the silver screen 
experience to your home theatre with a 
customized media room

Curling up with a good movie is about more than the movie – home media rooms can enhance your family’s together time and provide a theatre-like experience. Visions Electronics store manager Ben Labrecque advises how to get the most out of your home entertainment dollar.

What Constitutes a Great Media Room?

Great media rooms start with a great TV and great sound. A home entertainment system is only as good as its weakest link, so a high-end TV hooked up to basic cable won’t give you the best picture. High-definition picture source is better than digital, which is better than regular cable. You need a good picture source, a good TV and good cables. Buy the best you can afford. And you’ll need at least six feet between you and the big screen TV.

How Important is Sound to the Overall Experience?

Sound is half of the experience, so buy components rather than a built-in combination (if any part of the combination goes, you will have to replace the entire system). Sound comes from the speakers and is controlled and powered by the amplifier. Component systems have five to seven speakers: three speakers in front of you with directional sound that follows the action on screen from left to right, and two or four behind you for ambient noise and the soundtrack. The subwoofer delivers the low-frequency rumble that you feel. 

Does a Media Room Have to Cost a Fortune?

It isn’t necessary, but it is dependent on your own values. If you need a TV capable of delivering the Internet and downloading various applications, that will cost more. It’s okay to start with a great TV, then add sound as your budget allows.

Creating Better Sound

  • Start small – some systems can be built upon, and some can’t. If your budget makes you start small, choose a system where you can substitute in better components as your budget allows.
  • Consider professional installation. Many companies offer a free in-home consultation, so you can meet with an installer, describe your dream media room, then buy the components that will deliver on your expectations. Consider speaker placement on the floor, in walls or the ceiling; then assess your comfort and skill level with doing it yourself versus hiring an expert. Your system needs to work properly and give you the look you desire.

  • The amplifier is the sound director, sending sound to the most appropriate speakers, so buy an amplifier that is capable of delivering the quality you want with the speakers you chose.

For more advice, contact an expert, such as Commercial Electronics or The Sound Room.

Originally published in BC Home Magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.