What will $10,000 yield for a home theater?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Ahheck01, May 23, 2010.

  1. Ahheck01 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    We're trying to budget for a home theater system, and I'm wondering if there's a certain threshold where you start to see significant diminishing returns. We can make it $5k, we can make it $20k, but if it's not going to be twice as impressive for twice the money, it's not worth twice the money, you know?

    What can I expect out of a $10k budget? Can I get nearly the same performance out of a smaller one? Should we go HD projection, or is the quality of 70-80" flat panels within reason for the same or better picture quality? This will be used for both movie watching, and hooking up just about every single gaming console available. We'd also like to do something cool with using an iPad as a universal remote for everything, if possible.

    Curious to hear your thoughts!
  2. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Argh, there was a site that had all these recommendations on all the price levels: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100. But I can't find it anymore.

    But they all say that you should spend AT LEAST as much on your audio as your display.

    Maybe it was this site: http://www.audioholics.com/buying-guides/system-buying-guides/ It's from mid 2009, but read it for the general idea of what do look for in a system.
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    www.avsforum.com is your one-stop shop for all things home theatre related.

    I agree that sound is as important, if not more important, than picture. I could watch a movie on a 200" projector or a 100" projector or a 55" LCD or a 32" CRT, and if the sound is good, I think the experience would be just as enjoyable (I'd just sit closer to the smaller screens).

    Also, consider spending some of that money on non-technical aspects of the theatre... such as nice seating, good lighting, dark paint or carpet, movie posters, maybe even a popcorn machine. It'll make the experience that much more enjoyable.
  4. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    when dealing with that type of setup, more cost is usually spent on the room itself (sound-proof, windowless, etc, etc).

    The actual electronics would probably be less than $15,000. Renovations to the room could be $15,000 - $20,000.

    I've always estimated a classic movie-like home theater room would be around $25,000 at the end of the day, ideally situated underground (i.e. finished basement).
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003

    If you're willing to spend that much on equipment, the limiting factor is likely to be the acoustical and visual qualities of the room it is contained within.
  6. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    I'm happy to report that my 150" projector set-up cost me all of £500. 13' blank wall, 100 watt RMS ceiling speakers and Toshiba projector, hooked up to a Teac H300 DVD Receiver. eBay FTW! Works for me... :)
  7. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Couldn't agree more.. become a member of avscience before you purchase a single piece of equipment....

    Once you are a member of avsience, this topic is covered also. I agree with this statement also, especially if you are going to have a dedicated room for your equipment.
  8. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Are you asking about just the equipment (TV, Projector, Speakers, etc.) or adding in the other costs for physical room itself (Acoustical Tiles, couches/chairs, lighting, etc.)?
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    If I had $10,000 to spend on a home theatre, I'd probably allocate it something like this:

    $3,000 for the display. You can get a nice 1080p projector, such as the Panasonic AE4000, for about $2000, plus a screen from Carada (varies, about $1000 for a 140-inch 16:9 screen). Or you can get a nice LED/LCD or plasma panel in the 55"-65" range, depending on which display technology you want to go for.

    But which one? Having had some experience, I'd say this depends on the ambient light. If you can swing it, go for a projector -- it's a much cooler experience in every way, except if you need to be able to view things in other than 90-100% darkness. I currently have a projector set up in my living room, which is great for movies -- if I watch at night with the lights off. Right now, in the summer months, it's pretty useless before about 8pm unless I get some really dark curtains for the windows. I think my strategy will be to replace this with a nice wall-mounted LED TV instead, and move the projector to another room.

    $1,000 for the receiver. The receiver is the heart of the home theatre system, so get a good one. Get a nice 7.1 channel unit with plenty of inputs, HDMI upconversion and upscaling to 1080p, maybe even built-in iPod interface or DLNA media streaming.

    $2000-3000 for the speakers. Here's where preferences diverge greatly -- and it also depends on the size of the room. You could spend as little as $200 for a decent set of speakers for a small room (say, the Polk RM75 set, which is what I currently have in my modest setup), and the sky's the limit from there. A big room is going to need big speakers, possibly dedicated amps to drive them. You also want a good quality sub suited to the room.

    $200-500 for the cables. HDMI cables wherever possible, good quality speaker wire. Home theatres tend to put emphasis on aesthetics which tends to mean longer cables are needed to run around the room. I tend to buy cables from Monoprice.com. There are better cables out there, but don't fall for the overpriced Monster stuff.

    The rest -- whatever is left over -- on accessories. A rack or panel to keep all the equipment. A nice touchscreen remote to control the entire system. Comfortable home theatre seating. Velvet curtains surrounding the front wall, and a paint job on the room to match. A theatre popcorn machine (such as the Gold Medal 4 oz Funpop -- which I actually do own) in the back corner. Potlights in the room, controlled by X10 or Insteon or some other programmable technology. Accent lights on the walls. Movie posters in frames. Acoustic treatment (Quietrock? Green Glue?) on the walls. Maybe a SONOS or Squeezebox setup to integrate the theatre with the rest of the house.

    Edit: Ack! I forgot the actual playback stuff! I'd budget $500-1000 for playback equipment. You could buy a PS3, or setup a good HTPC, or a high quality Blu-Ray player. Or all of the above! Lots of choices, and this is an interesting space to watch as more and more hardware devices also work with your downloaded media and internet content. Apple TV is one example of this, also WD TV Live, Asus O!Play, Boxee, and similar boxes.
  10. TW!SM macrumors regular

    May 10, 2009
    I agree for the most part with notjustjay. Good advice there.

    I would look to get the best ROI. If it's your 1st HT you will love it no matter what. Go for a front projection setup no doubt.

    Epson 6500, 8500

    Those can be had for 2-3k.


    Carada makes great screens for less than 800 or so for a 114" Screen.

    Listen to as many speakers as you can and pick out what sounds best. Dont forget some of the online only companies. Emotiva, Axiom, etc...

    I would look for a pre/pro setup. Seperate processor and amp. If its a dedicated room and you have the money might as well spend the extra for seperates, then if you ever need to upgrade you can just replace the processsor, an amp will last you quite a while.

    I currently have

    114" Carada
    Epson 8500UB
    Onkoy PRC-886
    Emotiva XPA-5 Amp
    Emotiva speakers the 8.3s and 6.3
    Two MWF-15 Subs

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