Cool Homes
Home Theater on a Budget
See three mid-range home theaters that didn't require a second mortgage.
Home theater on a budget
Each of these theaters features full A/V and professional installation, but all came in under $20,000.
December 04, 2006 by Steven Castle

Who says you need to spend six figures on a home theater? In recent years, the prices on audio/video equipment from flat-panel TVs to speakers has dropped, making very good home theater and surround-sound systems available to more and more people.

The technology in mid-range to affordable audio/video gear has improved considerably, bringing quality sound and images to the budget minded. And you don’t have to deck out a big space to have an area that looks like a theater. You can have a home theater system with a big-screen TV and surround sound right in your family room, recreation room or bedroom if you like. Best of all, you can have wonderfully immersive home theater experiences for $10,000 or less. The cost largely depends on your tastes. Here are three fairly budget-minded but highly satisfying home theater systems—and how they came about:

The $11,000 Retirement Theater
Residents at a Massachusetts adult community enjoy the full home theater experience in a smaller space.

Living Room Theater Upgrade Under $10k
For less than $10,000, a Florida family adds a 60-inch flat panel and a full surround system to their family room.

$5k Project Turns into $20k Theater
A homeowner opts to increase his budget to get the entertainment experience he and his family desire.

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

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