Home Theater Installation - Useful Advice, Getting Started

Help with installing

Home theater installation

Home theater installation is the tedious time between two “wow” moments: the moment when your beautiful new equipment enters your home in its boxed glory, and the moment when you see it all set up and working like a dream. Unfortunately, the installation is as necessary as it is boring.

If you want to hire someone to do all your home theater installation for you, you’ll probably have to buy a very expensive system ($10,000 at the very least). Most professional installers aren’t interested in setting up cheaper systems. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do all the work yourself, and in many cases it’s a bad idea to go it alone. For example, if the electrical socket system in your house needs to be rewired to accommodate the home theater system, don’t attempt to do this yourself unless you’re a trained electrician. Some things are better left to professionals.

When you buy your home theater system, find out whether or not the store provides an installation service. Some stores offer “white glove” delivery and installation, where everything is delivered to your door and set up in your home. This kind of service usually costs at least $500. However, you may get a reduction on installation as part of your deal, although installation is unlikely to be completely free unless you’re buying some very expensive kit.

There isn’t enough space on this page for a complete how-to guide on home theater installation, although our pages in the Setting it up and Adapting your home sections give some useful advice. However, here are some tips to get you started:

Planning is everything. Don’t start plugging anything in until you have a clear idea of where everything is to go. Our page on home theater setup gives some advice about placing your equipment for maximum effect.

Buy your own cables. The cables that come free in the box with your home theater system are usually cheap and poor quality. That doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on cabling, of course. There are plenty of companies selling good cables at affordable prices.

Get help. This applies especially if you’re installing something complex such as a front-projector. Although contractors are usually unwilling to install the whole of a mid-range system while you sit on the couch and eat popcorn, they are prepared to install individual pieces of high-end equipment. If paying a contractor is too much for your budget, you should at least buy a guide to home theater installation or ask a clued-up friend for advice.

Protect your equipment from electrical damage. This means minimizing the risk of power surges. Install a surge protector so that a sudden high current won’t ruin your home theater.

Don’t be afraid to keep tweaking, making tiny alterations until you find the ideal setup for you.

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