The Perfect Home Theater at Any Budget

Home theaters have entered the modern era. Video and audio equipment is smaller, cheaper and works over wi-fi. You can now access immense libraries of HD movie and television content through a $50 plastic stick. The frantic evolution of technology has recast the industry. “It used to be unheard of to do a home theater in the sub-$10,000 category, and when I say used to, I mean five years ago”, says home theater installer Tom Manna, founder of Digital Home Systems. “Now, you can actually put a really kick-ass system together.”

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The fear of immediate obsolescence still paralyzes many from taking the first step, especially at a time when advanced formats like 4k and Dolby Atmos are poised to become the new industry standard. As movie and music lovers ourselves, we contacted several experts in the field for guidance. Everyone deserves a home theater, so we asked for advice on building a home theater at three price points: $2,000, $5,000 and $20,000. These kits represent the essential audio and video tech required to get up and running. Other typical costs inherent in home theaters — such as design, construction, lighting, and decor — were not included due their case-by-case nature.

The experts agreed that even these modest investments could have an enormous impact on the home entertainment experience, and that starting small was prudent. As Dennis Erskine of The Erskine Group pointed out: “You can put in a nice receiver, some speakers, and a TV. That’s a start… and if you don’t start somewhere, you’re going to go nowhere.”


The home theater experts we consulted were kind enough to share their knowledge and predict what they think will be the next big technology. If you’re interested in building a home theater and need help, contact these company owners.

Kerry Bright, Bright Home Theater, New York, NY
Dennis Erskine, The Erskine Group, Dallas, GA and Vancouver, WA
Theo Kalomirakis, TK Theaters, New York, NY
Tom Manna, Digital Home Systems, Rye Brook, NY
Mark Prancuk, Sight & Sound Showroom, Norwalk, CT

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