The Basics of Home Entertainment


Scenario one: Your friends have arrived and you hand them a cold beer or glass of wine. You exchange greetings and make idle conversation before descending the stairs to your basement home theater. It’s show time! They enter a large windowless space filled with comfortable oversized leather armchairs that adjust to the perfect tilt. Foot rests match each one. Gasps of envy are in the air. A giant bowl of gourmet popcorn sits beside a tray of imported cheeses glazed with honey and festooned with nuts.

Scenarios two: You are a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and vote every year. You usually watch the nominated films at local showings. More and more time seems to be required and when you get DVDs in the mail, you relish the thought of a home theater to do your duty in style and on your own time.

Scenario three: The kids are dying to see the latest Disney film with their friends followed by a game or two of Fussball. Mom loves to bake cookies and they are already stacked on a big plate next to the cartons of Hawaiian punch.

Scenario four: You area an inveterate bachelor but don’t have a separate space for a home theater.  Your living room would make a good location for specialized equipment.  It’s a bit empty right now. A big comfy sofa in front of a giant screen will do the trick. (Remember that screen size depends on viewing distance.)

Whatever your scenario, a home theater is a great choice for those who take their TV and movie viewing seriously. You need some basics, and it is easy to escalate as you learn more about equipment options. Here is a starter checklist:

  • Surround sound and high quality audio
  • Blu-ray player
  • Set of speakers and subwoofer
  • Receiver
  • High definition/high resolution TV—720p or 1080p picture
  • Internet connection
  • Accessories like cables, power protection, universal remote
  • Room lighting

Consider for an average budget: an almost completely wireless system, especially good for condo or apartment: $12,567

1 Sonos Bridge $50 $50
1 Sonos Playbar $699 $699
1 Sonos Playbar Wall Bracket $40 $40
1 Sonos Sub $699 $699
2 Sonos Play Three Wireless Amplified Speakers $299 $598
1 Chief Full Articulating TV Wall Mount $579 $579
1 Apple IPAD Mini $399 $399
1 Apple IPAD Mini Case $65 $65
1 Sony Wi-Fi(r) Blu-ray Disc(tm) player with 4k upscaling $399 $399
1 Sony 65″ 4k TV (Flagship Model – Highest Resolution) $7,995 $7,995
1 Sony 4k Media Server $699 $699
2 HDMI Cables $60 $120
1 Optical Cable $75 $75
1 Install Hardware $150 $150


While this system is a good start and contains quality brands, you can upgrade to different models as your needs change and you learn about other choices. A larger dedicated space in your home or office might require different equipment. A more sophisticated surround sound system is often the first area to tackle.