December 18, 2008 by Lisa Montgomery
There’s no reason the home theater you design and install yourself can’t be as enjoyable as a system put together by a professional. You’ll just need to choose the right types of products to ensure that your project stays on track and on budget. The following products shine in both categories, designed to be easy enough for homeowners to install without costing an arm and a leg.
Elite Screens CineTension2 AcousticPro Screen - View image
If you’re on a tight budget but want a gigantic display, a stand-alone projection offers the biggest bang for the buck. Take the $789 CineTension2 AcousticPro Screen from Elite Screens. For about a third of the cost of a 60-inch flat-panel plasma or LCD, you can enjoy anywhere between 84 and 200 inches of video bliss. Don’t worry that the super-size screen won’t leave room for speakers. Because the screen is acoustically transparent, you can place your speakers behind it and let the sound drift naturally through the weave. The CineTension2 ships fully assembled and comes with its own universal remote control.
Vizio XVT Series 55-inch LCD TV - View image
Vizio is noted for having one of the most affordable lines of high-def TVs on the market. Its new 55-inch model upholds that reputation by coming in at under $2,000. Despite costing much less than other comparable-size TVs, the unit boasts many of the same features you’d find on higher-priced sets: 1080p resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate and five HDMI inputs. A HD game port located on the side of the TV facilitates quick, easy connections with game consoles and camcorders.
Onkyo HT-S9100THX Theater Package - View image
You’ll need at least five speakers and a subwoofer to have surround sound in your theater. That can mean a lot of mixing and matching … unless you invest in what’s known as a home-theater-in-a-box. These preconfigured surround-sound systems take the guesswork out of home theater audio by packaging all the necessary speakers, subwoofers and receivers together. Plus, they’re usually pretty darn affordable. Take Onkyo’s HT-S9100THX. Just $1,099 gets you seven tonally matched speakers, an A/V receiver and a subwoofer with an integrated 290-watt amp.
Click here to view all products for DIY theater.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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