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How can I choose the components for an in expensive, but nice home theater system?

I am doing my brand new basement, and want to put a home theater system there, as it will be the main place where we watch TV and movies, and want to get something good quality, but not spend a fortune.

Choosing the "right" equipment is quite a project and most people get it wrong. It's not because their dumb. It's because the options are seemingly endless and unless they are in the industry and have the advantage of dealing with it 8 hours per day, 5 or 6 days per week, it's hard to keep up.

Why not take advantage of work that's already been done for you? There is a widely used certification system out there for the individual components called THX. They have set a base line for minimum performance standards and call it THX level 1. This is the bare minimum without sacrificing performance.

The idea is to see and hear what the director of the film or TV show intends for you. Anything below this level will be missing something. THX offers higher ratings for better equipment too. The difference is perceptible between systems build with components of the different levels, but the most important thing is to at least reach level 1.

Also, I would recommend having at least one home theater specialist over for a consult, preferably someone with some room acoustics training. Anyone with HAA certification should suffice. Spending a little money on your room acoustics can make a HUGE performance difference.

This doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Obviously, it will cost more than the poster that loves his surround-in-a-box system, but you said inexpesive and nice.

I'm not a fortune teller, but I see a nice theater in your future. :)

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