Home Theater Installation: Don’t Do It Yourself


A home theater’s quality is only as good as the effort put into its installation. This article discusses the importance of quality custom installation and what to look for in a professional installer.

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As home theaters increase in popularity, many people are trying to design and layout their rooms on their own with little guidance. Where this can save you money initially, it will inevitably cause heartache and money down the line. Home theater installation requires not only someone with technical know how and an eye for room layout. It also takes an audio expert who knows both what equipment is available and what limitations a room may have. Too often people end up with a custom home theater system that does not fit their home or needs because they were unskilled in matching speakers and components with the layout and acoustics of a home. A professional home theater installer is trained in all of these areas and can help ensure that the money invested in a home theater will be money well spent.

When looking for a custom home theater installer, find a person or team that is skilled in home theater design and that they are knowledgeable of all of the equipment options which could help transform a basic home theater system into a custom work of entertainment technology. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when shopping around for an installer.

Business Focus
When choosing a home theater installer, make sure that you find someone who knows audio and visual equipment inside and out. Look at the nature of the installer’s business. Do they have a primary focus on electronics and home theater entertainment or is their installation service just an added service provided for buying a big-screen television or stereo system from their electronics department? Do they have dedicated installers who do A/V and home theater design as their primary job function or will the installer be an hourly employee who received a basic training course? Take the time to make sure that the person who will be installing your custom home theater layout has both experience with the task and is highly knowledgeable of what it takes to get great picture and sound out of a home theater setup.

Options Available
Different installation companies will have varying options and components available for purchase. Talk to someone at the store and see exactly what is available to you and how you can maximize the enjoyment that you’ll get from your new system. If possible, bring photographs of the room or rooms that you’ll be installing the home theater system in if they are unable to come to the house directly. This way, the designer can see exactly what they’ll have to work with and how much space will be available for speakers and other components. Help them to get a feel for exactly the sort of custom home theatre system that you want, and see whether they’ll be able to create one that meets your specific needs. Be sure to let them know of any special items that you want in the package, such as an HD DVD player, digital video recorder, Blu Ray player, or any other items that might not be included in a standard custom home theater design.

Cost and Value
Research component pricing before you go out looking for a home theater installer, making sure that you have an idea of any specific equipment that you are wanting and how much they are likely to cost. Shop around at different stores, seeing how much each will charge for the custom home theatre system that you want including the price of installation. If you have a budget for how much you want to spend on your home theater layout then try to stay within that budget. A good installer will be able to recommend equipment that may be equal in quality but cost less. Compare the quotes that you receive so that you’ll know which business is offering you the best value for your money. After all, you are the one who’s going to have to use the resulting home theater system, so be sure that above all else you end up with a system that you enjoy and that works well.

~Ben Anton, 2008