A good home theater system can cost anywhere between $1,000 to over $30,000 depending on the quality of the equipment and the size of your home theater design. The difficult economy we are in has most households making tough decisions about what they want and what they can reasonably afford. Building a family home theater is being put on the back burner in many homes until additional income is available for such "extras." But a home theater doesn't have to break the bank. There are resources and ways to keep the cost of a quality system at a reasonable level.
Below are some suggestions for how to save money on a new entertainment system.
1. Search the Web. There are several web sites available online that compare systems and costs. Some will also provide unbiased reviews of products at various price points. Use these to help you decide which brands are in your budget.
2. Install the theater system yourself. Custom installation is needed for some theater designs but many can be easily done yourself with some careful planning. The wiring, cables and connections can be relatively easy to figure out if you follow the instructions.
3. Buy a floor model. A floor model is a piece of equipment that has been on display on the show floor of the electronics store but which is otherwise in perfect condition. This is a great way to get a quality product at a lower price. Talk to your retailer about models they may be looking to get rid of to make room for newer versions.
4. Consider second hand systems. Many audio/video enthusiasts will replace their home theater components every year or two and sell their relatively new systems for a low cost. Consumers must be diligent about doing their research of the product if they buy second hand as there will typically be no warranty remaining on these pieces.
5. Pace yourself. You can save some money by purchasing your home theater components over a period of time. By waiting and buying your television, then speakers, then receivers as you have money and as potential deals or prices drop can help you save 10-15%.
6. Consider a smaller television. It is hard to resist buying the biggest TV on the showroom floor. However, you can save considerable money buy purchasing a smaller screen. Even a few inches smaller can save you a couple of hundred dollars. Remember, those big TVs do not work in every family room anyway.
7. Buy fewer speakers. Two good quality loudspeakers at the front of your TV will cost less than five or more speakers; even poorer quality speakers and a subwoofer may cost more. Speakers are easy to add to your system as the funds allow.
8. Consider a comprehensive warranty. For such a large purchase, it is usually worth it to have a solid warranty that covers you for 1-2 years so that you can be sure that your investment will last and that the retailer or manufacturer backs it up. Should problems arise, this may actually save you money.
~Ben Anton, 2008
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