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July 2012
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Creating a Home Theater System
Entertainment options are endless, but you don't have to break the bank

The home theater system has become a popular way to enjoy audio and video entertainment. There are many options for building a system, and here are a few tips on choosing components and keeping costs down.
 
Viewing habits
When creating a home theater system, consider your viewing habits. Some people are into movies, while others channel surf or play video games. Think about what you're looking for in a home system, whether it's size, power, versatility or clarity. Obviously you can incorporate all three elements, but to keep costs in a manageable range it's best to limit your system to your particular tastes.
 
Audio and video
Most home theater systems are made up of basic components that include a TV, stereo or surround sound, a video game system and a multimedia box such as a Roku player (www.roku.com) or an Apple TV box (www.apple.com/appletv). Consumers can also invest in accessories like a universal remote made by Logitech (www.logitech.com/en-us/remotes). Granted, some of these devices can be combined. A gaming system may include the ability to stream movies from a provider like Netflix (www.netflix.com). Many of the new Internet-ready TVs come with preloaded apps that take the place of standalone devices, which can help you keep costs down.
 
Hardware concerns
Video can be easily linked with HDMI cables or wireless networks. The functional challenge for a system is the audio, which can include numerous speakers. While there are some wireless audio solutions, many people still hook up speakers with standard wiring. Existing wires in the walls from a previous installation help save money and hassle. You can either hire a professional to install wires, or do it yourself if you're handy.
 
 
An eye to the future
One other thing to keep in mind when creating a home theater system is the future. It's difficult to predict where technology will go over the long-term, but you can still research new gadgets, accessories and technologies that are currently in development. One example of this is 3-D. While 3-D content is currently limited, it may emerge as a popular trend down the road. Consider whether it's worth the investment right now even though it's not in widespread use.
 
The home theater system can be a great way to enjoy multimedia content. Sometimes the best way to enhance a system and maintain a budget is to upgrade one component at a time instead of committing a large amount of money all at once.

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