Home Theater Cost

How much does it cost to install and set up a home theater?

Is the creation of a home theater a DIY project? If so, what sort of time and expense are involved? According to electronics expert Robert Silva, the average home theater set-up will require only 1.5 hours of time. It is easily done on a DIY basis by someone familiar with the equipment and with the selection of appropriate locations for speakers. If this is a set of skills which the homeowner does not have, it is recommended that a qualified professional be sought out and hired for the job.

Generally, home electronics stores will offer qualified services for reasonable rates, and this is especially true if the homeowner purchases components for their home theater from the shop. The pricing for such services will range from $150 to $800 for the whole job and will vary according to the complexity of the system and the type of sound system used.

Cost breakdown

For this discussion we will consider the costs of hiring an electronics specialist to set-up a home theater in a room dedicated to this purpose.

The equipment involved will include:

  • A connection to a satellite or cable network;
  • A home theater speaker array;
  • Television;
  • AV or home theater receiver;
  • DVD player;
  • VCR (or DVD recorder)
  • All of the appropriate cables and cords; and
  • Sound meter.

Enhancement and improvement costs

In addition to the basic supplies, it might be a good idea to also consider:

  • Wireless speakers - this is especially true for larger rooms that can benefit from optimal placement of a 7:1 array;
  • Speaker stands - these cost less than $100 per pair and can allow the installer or the home owner to position speakers in perfect locations;
  • Upgrading electrical supplies - not all homes will have the appropriate number of suitable outlets for the average home theater set-up. This might mean that an electrician (charging an average of $75 per hour) will be needed to install additional 120 volt receptacles (approximately $100 each) to facilitate usage of the equipment.

Additional considerations and costs

If a homeowner is looking for a "bargain" they can also seek out a set of products known as HTIB (home theater in a box) which will usually contain all of the major electronics necessary for a high-quality home theater experience. Average costs for HTIB options range from prices as low as only $100 and can go well above $1500. The minimal equipment must include the speakers, subwoofer, amplifier, and a DVD player.

Before hiring someone to install the home theater equipment, it is a good idea to get a basic understanding of what they will be doing in your home. This means you must understand that speaker placement varies according to the number of individual speakers provided and uses either a 5:1, 6:1, or 7:1 arrangement. The individual who sets up the home theater must also indicate that they will use the onboard Test Tone Generator that is part of most sound systems, but it would be even better if they stated that they bring a sound meter to the site in order to get optimal results.

The home theater expert will also need to consider the size of the room in order to understand the pricing they require for the work. This is especially true if the speakers require the use of wires that will need to be installed in a manner that leaves them entirely concealed. This will not only increase the cost of materials due to the extensive lengths of wiring, but it will also involve the time necessary to ensure the lines are secure and free from any sort of snagging or pulling.