If you enjoy watching movies and other types of entertainment but do not have the space or budget for a full-home theater, you can still get many of the same benefits in your living room. Home theater installations can be simple or complex. You can easily install a setup in your living room or family room to enjoy high definition visuals and surround sound. Home theater setups range in placement and scale to customize your experience.
The national average cost for installing a home theater setup is between $4,000 and $8,000. Most people spend around $6,000 on a mid-grade projector, high-quality screen, speaker setup, and professional installation and wiring. This project’s low cost is $2,000 for a basic projector and screen, speaker setup, and professional wiring. The high cost is around $10,000 for a high-quality HDTV, Dolby Atmos speakers, professional wiring and installation, and extras, including a popcorn machine.
|Home Theater Setup Cost|
|National average cost||$6,000|
While you can build a complete home theater addition, including flooring, soundproofing, seating, and lighting appropriate for the area, you can also create a home theater setup in an existing room.
If you want to enjoy high-def visuals and surround sound, add equipment to your living room. Keep in mind that every setup can be different. Depending on your space and the movies, sports, or games you watch on your system, you may choose to have a higher or lower-quality setup. These result in vastly different costs. The following breakdown helps determine which pieces you may need and the costs. Depending on the setup you choose, you may not need all these pieces.
|Projector Screen||$20 - $1,000|
|Wiring/Installation||$200 - $2,000|
|Projector||$300 - $4,000|
|Speakers/Surround Sound System||$800 - $4,000|
|HDTV||$1,500 - $9,000|
Surround sound systems are made up of various components to make it feel like the sound is playing all around you. This provides an immersive experience and feels like a movie theatre. Surround sound systems are made up of many pieces, from the speakers and subwoofers 1 to the receivers that coordinate everything. Your room’s size partly dictates your system’s size, with most people only needing a 5.1 setup for home use. However, you may want to install a larger system if you have a large room or open-concept space.
|System||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|5.1 Surround Sound||$500 - $2,000|
|6.1 Surround Sound||$700 - $2,500|
|7.1 Surround Sound||$1,200 - $3,000|
|Dolby Atmos Surround Sound||$1,200 - $7,000|
The cost of a full setup for 5.1 surround sound is between $500 and $2,000. 5.1 surround sound means two speakers behind, two in front, and one in the center. This is the “5” portion of the designation. The “1” refers to how many subwoofers the system has - most setups have 1. Most home theaters use this setup. It produces good-quality sound and control for most average-to-large living rooms.
The cost of 6.1 surround sound setups ranges from $700 to $2,500. These setups are extremely rare. While they were introduced several years back, they do not have much to offer most home theater setups. They are technically oversized for most homes and do not provide better sound performance. With this setup, you have 6 speakers and one subwoofer. Few manufacturers make this system due to the low demand.
7.1 surround sound setups average $1,200 to $3,000. This is a newer, larger setup than 5.1 or 6.1. This setup has 7 speakers and one subwoofer. Depending on the scale of the space, you may need to upgrade to 7.2 - two subwoofers. While this surround sound system is much too large for many homes, it can be used in large dedicated home theaters. Because more streaming services are beginning to offer 7.1 surround sound audio, those who want to experience this must upgrade. Most living rooms are much too small for this system, however.
A Dolby Atmos surround sound system costs between $1,200 and $7,000, depending on the size. While surround sound projects different sounds to various speakers, Dolby Atmos projects sound into the room’s different areas. This provides a more immersive and “3D” sound experience. The important thing to consider is the room’s size. Do not install more speakers than the room can handle because this can overwhelm the user. Find the system size that most directly correlates to your room size for the best experience.
While most systems are sold as a package with everything you need, you can create your own system piecemeal. It is usually recommended to purchase a system designed to work together, but you can buy the following components to create your own.
|Subwoofer||$100 - $500|
|Amplifiers||$200 - $700|
|Receivers||$200 - $2,500|
|Speakers||$300 - $3,000|
There are two ways to get your visuals in a home theater setup - HDTV or a projector and screen. Of the two, projectors and screens are more common for full home theater setups. However, an HDTV screen may give you more flexibility. Both have a range of costs, sizes, and qualities, which influence their costs:
|Screen Type||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|Projector||$300 - $2,000|
|HDTV||$1,500 - $9,000|
Depending on the projector size and resolution, costs range between $300 and $2,000. Projectors start at small models designed to connect to a computer or other input device. They can also be wired to DVD and Blu-ray players. Many of today’s models also work via Bluetooth or wirelessly to stream from a nearby source. If you have Apple TV or another device, you need to see if the projector is compatible because not all are. Projectors come with different resolutions and lumens, so find one that works with your room’s light.
You also need to consider the projector screen. They come in several sizes and have different attributes. The least expensive are hung or put up as you need them. The nicest are permanent additions with features like 3D compatibility and LED backlighting.
|Basic/Temporary Screen||$20 - $100|
|Retractable/Fiberglass Screens||$250 - $500|
|Premium Screen with Visual Enhancement||$1,000 - $2,000|
An HDTV large enough for home theaters costs between $1,500 and $9,000. These are flat-screen TVs with a diagonal width of over 85 inches. They are designed for the best picture with a clarity that can be hard to get even with the best projector and screen combination. HDTVs can be hooked up to various streaming services or computers and are compatible with Apple TV and other devices. Most can also be connected to gaming systems, DVD, and Blu-ray players.
Most home theaters have wires running between the various components - the projector or HDTV, receiver, and speakers. If you want to do your own wiring, you can purchase the various cables for around $200. However, expect total costs of between $1,000 and $2,000 if you want a professional setup so that the wires are concealed and not visible. This includes the cost of the wires and installation, but not any other components.
You can have each component of your home theater professionally installed. Many audio/visual suppliers who sell this type of equipment also install it. You can have some components installed by a handyman, with installations of projectors, screens, and TVs being very common. It is recommended to have your sound system installed by a professional. They can find the correct placement for your system for the best results.
|Installation||Average Costs (Labor only)|
|Projector and Screen Installation||$100 - $500|
|TV Installation||$100 - $1,000|
|Sound System Installation||$300 - $2,000|
The cost to install a projector and screen is between $100 and $500 on average. This is usually a fairly simple installation. The screens are lightweight and easy to hang, usually going up in minutes. The projector is usually installed in a bracket on the wall opposite the screen or from the ceiling above. However, you need an electrical supply in the area in either case. An outlet can be installed if there is not one already there. This increases the installation’s cost. The installation can be done fairly quickly if you already have an outlet, with the bracket mounted to a stud, and the projector secured.
HDTV installations range from $100 to $1,000 on average. Large-screen TVs are heavy and designed to mount on the wall. Most come with a mounting kit but require proper installation to ensure they can safely hang. You may also need an outlet or cable installed in this area. Costs vary depending on whether the TV requires bracing behind it and whether an outlet or other electronics need to be installed. Larger-screen TVs usually cost more to mount than smaller flat-screen TVs because they need more support.
Surround sound installation costs $300 to $2,000, depending on the installation type. When having your speakers placed and installed on brackets on the walls or ceiling, your costs are closer to $300. If you have your speakers installed inside the walls or ceiling, your costs can be considerably higher. Likewise, if you need the wires hidden or require outlets or electrical supply near the receiver or any speakers, your costs are higher. Your costs also increase if you need design services. This is the process of having the technician help determine the best layout and system type for optimal results.
The cost to mount your speakers inside a wall ranges from $500 to $2,000. Costs vary depending on the wall type, speaker type and size, and installation complexity. Thinner walls, walls with pipes or wires that must be relocated, or areas that need considerable runs of wires have higher costs. One of the benefits of this installation is that you can conceal any wires inside the walls. However, the farther apart each speaker is, the farther the wires must be fished through the walls, raising costs. Using wireless or Bluetooth speakers can reduce costs.
In-ceiling speaker installation costs average $500 to $2,000. Ceiling installations have many of the same concerns as wall installations. The farther you run wires, the higher the cost. The less ceiling space or the harder the space is to access for the installation, the higher the cost. New ceiling construction can lower the cost because it can be easier to install the speakers in a new ceiling than an existing one. Using wireless or Bluetooth speakers can reduce costs.
Wireless home theater setups cost between $900 and $9,000 for the soundbar, receiver, speakers, and subwoofers. These systems do not include the projector and screen or the HDTV but focus solely on the sound system setup. They come in several types. Some connect to your home’s Smart system or hub, while others work via satellite. Some also work via Bluetooth.
You can mix and match components like any other home theater setup, but it is recommended that you purchase a package to know that all the components work together. You should also make sure that the wireless package you choose is compatible with your preferred viewing setup.
When considering a home theater, you need to choose a sound system. 5.1 surround sound is the most common for home theater setups. It is readily available and comes in the widest range of costs and qualities. However, Dolby Atmos can give you a more immersive experience. 5.1 means two speakers behind, two in front, and one in the center. Dolby Atmos can have a similar setup, but rather than sending sound to one or two speakers at a time, it projects sound to the center of the room where there are no speakers. This can give you a feeling of “3D” sound. For some people, the added cost of Dolby Atmos is not worth it for a small room. For others, it can mean experiencing games and movies in a new way.
Your other choice to consider is 7.1, which uses seven speakers. 7.1 is much less common for home theaters unless they are large dedicated rooms. 7.1 is sometimes seen as overkill because the sound can overwhelm smaller rooms. Dolby Atmos can come in a 7.1 setup or a 5.1 setup. If you have an average-sized room and want the best audio experience, a Dolby Atmos setup provides the best performance. If you have a large, dedicated, and soundproof theater room, 7.1 may give you the sound experience you are looking for.
If you want to experience a home theater, you can create a dedicated room. This can be a new home addition or a converted room, such as a basement. These rooms can cost up to $80,000 and include soundproofing, theater chairs and furniture, carpeting, and lighting to enhance your viewing experience.
If you want to add to the ambiance of your home theater, add a popcorn machine. These range in size and scale and cost from $50 to $200. They pop different types of popcorn and hold varying amounts, perfect for having guests.
A control system can dim the lights, adjust the volume, and start and stop the picture. These can be Bluetooth and voice-activated, or you can purchase a wired hub. They give you ultimate control over the room. Costs start at around $100 to $200, depending on the system.
Home theater setups in an existing room cost between $4,000 and $8,000. Dedicated spaces cost $50,000 or more.
Basic setups include surround sound, a receiver, and a projector and screen or an HDTV, along with the necessary wiring.
Not usually, no. A complete home theater room is seen as a luxury, while home theater setups in a living room can be removed when you move out.
For most households, 5.1 will be adequate. 7.1 is only necessary for much larger spaces.
Netflix works with 5.1 and 7.1 setups. Some movies are also set up for Dolby Atmos, but this is on a case-by-case basis.