Turning your living space into an immersive arena for multimedia content consumption has never been more achievable, yet the sheer amount of tech to choose between can make it tough to know where to start.
With this in mind, here is a look at the must-have items that will help you create a home theater that exceeds expectations.
Choose wireless speakers to avoid clutter
Having a solid sound system is the first step to moving from a basic entertainment setup to one that is worthy of being called a home theater.
Before you rush out and buy the biggest speaker solution you can find, or opt for the cheapest choice available, it is sensible to take a moment to think about the practicality of integrating surround sound at home.
Your best bet is to buy a system that uses wireless speakers since this will eliminate the need to either have wires trailing across your floor or to spend time and money hiding the wires.
So how do wireless speakers work? The best tend to use RF receivers or even your home Wi-Fi network rather than the more affordable yet less capable Bluetooth with which you may already be familiar thanks to your smartphone. Products from established brands like JBL and Pioneer are worth considering if you are an audio enthusiast.
Invest in a projector for the true cinematic experience
If you have space and are looking for an uncompromising approach to creating a home theater, then what you really need is a projector rather than a flat-panel TV.
There is a whole heap of projectors to consider, and the key specifications to look out for are the contrast ratio, the lamp brightness in lumens, and whether or not HDR is supported. Higher-end models now provide compatibility with 4K inputs, although you will need to pay more for such functionality, and you may be happy with a 1080p full HD alternative if your budget is tighter.
Recent releases such as the Epson EH-TW7100 and the Optoma UHD40 tick all the boxes, while prestigious and pricey alternatives like the Sony VPL-VW270ES are ideal for money-no-object home theater setups.
Add a universal remote for streamlined interactivity
Your home theater will likely involve several devices from different manufacturers, each of which will come with its own remote. These remotes can take up space and generally be a little confusing to switch between, in which case a universal remote which combines all of this functionality into one unit will solve your problems.
The best of the bunch available today is the Harmony Smart Control from Logitech, in part because it supports so many different products, but also because it has a very compact form factor and should fit in nicely with almost any configuration of devices.
Select a games console for all-round entertainment
It might be tempting to go all-out with a gaggle of different gadgets hooked up to your projector or TV, providing you with lots of different entertainment options. But once again, this will generate a lot of clutter and more importantly require a whole host of cabling and inputs.
The solution is to make a games console the heart of your home theater, and with the new generation of machines from both Sony and Microsoft launching, now is a great time to buy.
The Xbox One X, for example, supports HDMI 2.1 and 4K at 120fps, which is ideal for gaming and media consumption alike. The PlayStation 5 is similarly well equipped, and both consoles can be used to access a world of streaming content as well as to playback media from physical discs as well.
Most importantly, set your budget before you start looking for home theater equipment, as this will help to guide your choices.