What to look for in a Complete Home Theater System Package

A complete sound bar home theater system by Polk Audio

Finding a complete home theater package is becoming more and more difficult these days as it seems manufacturers want to include more and more features and upgrades into their product.  It has become so complicated in fact that many retailers now offer ‘home theater setup’ services (at an additional charge of course) If all you want is a simple, complete home theater system that you literally just take out of the box and plug in then read on.  I’ll show you what to look for and what to avoid so you can buy the right home theater system for the money.

Finding a complete home theater system means understanding what your needs are.  Do you already own a DVD or Blu-ray player?  Do you need both speakers and a media player?  What you need will determine the type of system you should consider.

There are a few types of home theater system available, determined by the speaker setup. The simplest is the ‘sound bar’, which, as the name implies is a simple but complete unit that houses only speakers that’s shaped like a bar.  With good quality speakers and built in electronics this type can produce quite good surround sound.  Note:  This type will NOT have any form of DVD or Blu-ray player, so if you need/want one, disregard this type. Next up is the 2.1 system, this type uses two side speakers (2) and one subwoofer (1), again, the sound can be good depending on components.  Usually these will have a media player in the main unit. Lastly is the 5.1 or 7.1 system, this has one subwoofer and either 5 or 7 other speakers arranged around the unit.  Like the 2.1 system it usually has a media player and can produce great surround sound with even mediocre components. To get a complete, easy to setup home theater system I suggest the sound bar, or the 2.1 system.  Pay close attention to the component quality though.

What power output should the complete home theater system have?

Sony Bravia, a complete home theater system

That is really determined by the room size.  Do not fall into the trap of getting an overly powerful system just so you can brag to your friends about your 500-watt home theater system.  If the components are cheap then the distortion and hiss will increase as the power increases.  Get an appropriate system for the room it’ll be in.

In a 5.1 or 7.1 system pay attention to the output rating of the rear speakers, many complete home theater systems will provide sub-par rear speakers to cut costs, forcing you to upgrade later.  Poor rear speakers will have hiss and distortion at higher volumes.

A complete home theater system should have enough connectors for all of it’s own components as well as enough for all the things you need to connect to it.  Make sure you can connect your TV, stereo, video game console and anything else you have.

When looking for a complete home theater system package many times you’ll see features such as ipod docks, internet connectivity and other non-essential things.  Unless you absolutely need them try to avoid them, as they’ll just add to the overall price.  Concentrate instead on sound quality and speaker quality; you’ll get more for your money that way.

When you’re ready to head out to find a great complete home theater system I suggest reading home theater system reviews on sites like Consumer Search, Consumer Reports and even on Amazon.  These home theater system reviews are oft times written by people just like yourself and can really help you find a complete home theater system that fits your needs perfectly.

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About the Author

Hi there!, My name is Norm. I am a college grad, a veteran, a pet owner and a family man. I started writing articles both to make a little extra money, and to share my knowledge with others. I currently work in the IT department of a major NY hospital.
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