May 15, 2016

How To Set up An Affordable Home Entertainment System

Home entertainment systems are an important fixture of many peoples homes.  People gather around to watch sports games, movies, and the latest reality TV.  A good home entertainment center will make your home a social center and improve the daily quality of life for people who live in the home.

The problem people have with setting up a “home entertainment system” is that those words bring visions of huge expenses, faulty equipment that will always need service people to work on it, and technology which will be quickly outdated and need replacing every couple of years at a huge expense.  The reality is that setting up a great home entertainment system doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Depending upon your budget and what you are looking to accomplish, you can do it for much much less.  Home entertainment can get extremely complex with all the technology available to you, and most professional installers will try to sell you an overly complicated system.  We are going to show you how to get everything you need, high quality elements, and have it be easy to set up and reliable.  The core components of our setup are:

  • A big screen TV
  • A Sonos sound system
  • An Apple TV device (optional)

The TV: The Hub of Home Entertainment

Most people think of the the television first when they think of an entertainment center and equate any home entertainment quality television to a giant movie screen sized device.

The truth is you do want to have a big screen TV for obvious reasons.  The great thing about TV’s today is that technology has made large flat screen televisions much cheaper than they used to be.  You can get a 60 inch flat screen TV from a manufacturer like LG for under $700.

You also may not need as big of a TV as you think you do to give watchers the immersive experience of a good entertainment system.  High quality sound, and proximity to the television are just as important.

Our rule of thumb for minimum television size is that if the chairs that you watch from are less than 10′ from the TV, you should start at 55”.  Every two feet further back should add a minimum of 5″ to the TV size, so couches 14′ feet from the television should be paired with a 65″ in TV to maintain an immersive experience.

Buy 4K on Bigger TV

The newest technology is no longer 1080p, it is 2160p or what is known as a 4K television.  This means that a tv is 3,840 pixels wide and 2,160 high at a minimum to qualify.  The tricky part is, if you are not extremely close to the TV (like if you are more than 10 feet on a 55 inch TV) your human eye probably can’t tell the difference between a 1080p or a 4K tv.  There is a great article from Gizmodo on which technology you should buy here.

We recommend buying 4K because right now you can get a big screen TV with this newest technology for $500, so why sacrifice any quality.  If you are really setting up a system on a budget a 1080p is more than sufficient, but just in case someone might be close to the TV at some point or in case you are capable of perceiving the slight difference, you may as well pay a small extra amount and have the absolute best picture quality on the market.

How To Get A Good Price

The best way to purchase a TV is to shop online to compare prices and purchase from the company offering the best deal at that particular point in time.  One not so secret fact about TV’s is that new technology comes out every couple of months.  The difference in picture quality isn’t necessarily huge between the outgoing models and the new ones, but the companies that sell televisions constantly need to empty their stock to make room for new models.

The best deal at the time will depend upon who needs to get rid of inventory.  Instead of buying the newest technology, buy a new TV that is an outgoing model.  You won’t really sacrifice quality and you will save hundreds of dollars.  Many times if you find the right retailer at a moment that they need to clear stock you can get a 65″ TV for a 25%-50% discount.  If you have a little patience and can compare prices for a little while you will find these deals readily and often. Deals for big screen TV’s can go as low as $300 for a sizeable TV and will often be in the $500-$600 range, compared to retail on new technology which will be well over $1,000.

Sound- More Important and Less Complicated than you Think

The next most important component of a good entertainment system is of course the sound system.  Most people will try to sell a complicated and expensive sound system with a receiver and multiple speakers that need a professional to install it and tune it properly, not to mention handle all of the programming.

The equipment for a system like this can cost thousands of dollars alone, never mind the cost of hours of a professional’s time.  Most people don’t need a 10 thousand dollar sound system, most people just want something that is a significant increase in sound quality and depth than a TV alone.

Here at Sonos Playbar, we believe that Sonos equipment fills this void admirably.  Sonos is affordable, it sounds great, and it is extremely easy to set up and integrate the equipment with multiple speakers.  Here is a simple list of Sonos equipment, with prices, that would give you a top notch surround sound experience in any home.

  1. One Sonos Playbar -$699.
  2. One Sonos Sub- $699
  3. Two Play:3s -$598 for two.

The total retail price of this extremely high quality surround sound system is $1,996.  This is a top quality sound system that will both rock your world with bass during action movies, make you feel like your in the crowd at a sports game, or handle the delicate tones of a classical opera.   The best part, you can install it yourself.  You don’t need any special knowledge or experience.  All you need to do is to get your speakers plugged into power, make sure they are well within range of a home WiFi network, and download the controller app.  You plug your playbar into your television with the optical cable.  You follow a couple of easy prompts on the controller app, and your system is all set up.  Movie theater quality sound in your home for less than $2,000.

Sonos Speakers Are Perfect For Music Too

The best part of these speakers is that their value for home entertainment doesn’t end with upgrading the sound from your television.  Sonos brings you “all the music in the world” according to their marketing slogan.  What the controller app does is bring all major streaming music services under one roof, and it also integrates the music files you have downloaded to your PC (including your Itunes account).  You can use Google Play Music, Pandora, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Radio by TuneIn, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Rhapsody, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio to name a few right through your Sonos controller.  This means that you can entertain and play music, play podcasts while you work, or keep jams going while you clean.  No matter what you listen to, you can play it through Sonos.

Add and Apple TV (Optional)

We recommend adding Apple TV because it is a really slick way to bring all sorts of programming under “one roof” or one device.  You can watch programming from Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Itunes, and your cable provider all from Apple TV.  One smart device basically handles all of your programming needs.  You can buy or rent movies, store them digitally, or watch your favorite streaming service.  You can find Apple TV for as low as $99.  We think its worthwhile, but we encourage people to find programming on their own based on their own tastes and budgets.

The Whole System Summarized

So your big screen TV (on sale for about $500, your top notch Sonos sound system for $1,996, and your choice of media provider such as Apple TV for $100, and you have an incredible home theater system for $2,596.  You can get a comfortable couch or recliners to sit on, and your whole theater system is less than $3,000.  Best of all you can set the whole thing up yourself and it will be a higher quality system than most professionals will install.