Home Theater Systems: A Quick Buyer’s Guide

Posted by Buttonwood Inc. on Mar 21, 2016 8:00:00 AM

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As a kid, I loved going to the candy store. It was a rare treat and when it came along, I could barely contain my excitement. However, there was one problem—there were too many choices. Both the candy I was allowed to eat and money to which to purchase it with were finite, so my eight year old mind was overwhelmed quickly. It’s a problem we all suffer with today—too many choices.

Choosing the technology for your home theater system is no different. There are an infinite number of things you can choose to do when building out a home theater, and because of that making these decisions can be tough.

That’s why we here at Buttonwood wrote up this quick buyer’s guide for anyone who is thinking about installing a home theater.

 

Displays

A home theater is nothing without a breathtaking picture. The television options on the market today are literally endless, and the technology is only getting better. To determine the TV that’s right for your home theater, make sure you calculate the optimal screen size for your room as well as the viewing distance


Here are a few televisions we recommend:

Samsung UN65JS9000 - 65 INCH 4K SUHD 3D LED TV

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Credit: Samsung

This luxury LED TV redefines the home theater experience. Through Samsung’s nano-crystal color technology, this Smart TV allows you to experience stunning colors, brightness, and contrast. According to Samsung, the curved screen reveals up to 64x greater color expression than conventional HD TVs.

Quick Specs

Type: Curved 4K SUHD TV with Edge Backlighting

3D: Yes

Screen size: 64.5

WiFi: Yes

HDMI: 4

MSRP: $5,999

For full specs, here is Samsung’s listing. For a comprehensive review, check out LCD TV Buying Guide’s review.

 

Curved OLED 1080p Smart TV - 55" Class - LG 55EG9100

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Credit: LG

This Full HD 1080p curved beauty is known for its vivid color and “Perfect Black”  infinite contrast. The wide viewing angle provides a vivid and perfect picture across the entire screen with little to no variance. This display is so thin that according to the manufacturer, at its thinnest point this tv has a depth as thin as a pencil.

Quick Specs

Type: Curved OLED

3D: Yes

Screen size: 55

WiFi: Yes

HDMI: 3
MSRP: $1,999

Check out LG’s listing for full specs.


VIZIO M43-C1 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

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Credit: Vizio

The VIZIO 4k Ultra HD Smart TV delivers excellent quality for the price. Its sharp 2160p resolution delivers masterful picture quality with UHD clarity. This tv features 28 active LED zones that deliver light uniformity with excellent cotrast and pure black levels.

Quick Specs:

Type: Full-array LED

3D: Yes

Screen size: 43

WiFi: Yes

HDMI: 5

MSRP: $500


Receivers

A good receiver is essential to a truly immersive home theater experience. Not only does a receiver provide surround sound, it’s actually the hub for many of your audio and video sources. Today’s receivers can connect to dozens of entertainment sources, including cable/satellite boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players, etc. For receivers that connect to your home network, you can also connect to popular music services like Pandora, Spotify, etc.

There are a lot of options for receivers out there, and the kind of receiver you want will depend on the speakers and tv you purchase. If you have a larger screen and therefore large speakers, you will need a more powerful receiver to achieve more impactful sound. If you want to learn about receivers in-depth, check out Crutchfield’s post on receivers.

Here are a few brands we recommend at Buttonwood:


Denon AVR-S510BT


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Credit: Denon

This Denon receiver delivers you the latest surround sound technology at an affordable price. It also connects to your cable/satellite box, streaming services, Blu-ray player, and more. With it’s support for 4k video, this receiver is compatible with the latest Ultra HD TVs.

Quick Specs

Output wattage: 75 watts

Channels: 5

Price: $260

Check out Denon’s listing for full specs.


Pioneer VSX-530

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Credit: Pioneer

This Pioneer AV receiver is an excellent choice for those building a home theater for the first time. This 5.1 channel receiver’s highly immersive surround sound makes staying home for the night an attractive option.


Quick Specs:

Output wattage: 80 watts

Channels: 5.1

Price: $279

Check out Pioneer’s listing for full specs.


Sony STR-DH550

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Credit: Sony

The Sony STR-DH550 boasts 5.2 channels, 725 watts, and iPhone and iPod connectivity. With 4 HD inputs and 4k resolution pass-through, the Sony STR handles all of your components with ease. You’ll enjoy multi-layered sound quality with HD Digital Cinema Sound and auto calibration for a simple set-up.

Quick Specs:

Output wattage: 90 watts

Channels: 5.2

Price: $250

Check out Sony’s listing for full specs.


Speakers

Selecting the right speaker setup is crucial to your home theater experience. I know we keep saying it, but the possibilities for speakers are truly endless. For a complete surround sound system, you’ll need at least six speakers.

 

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Credit: Crutchfield

  • Center-channel speaker

  • Subwoofers

  • Two front left and right speakers

  • Two surround speakers to go behind or beside you

If mixing and matching speakers is overwhelming to you, a pre-matched surround sound speaker system is a good option for those building a home theater for the first time.

A few pre-matched systems we recommend: Definitive ProCinema 800 System, Polk Audio Blackstone TL250, and Cambridge Audio Minx S225-V3


Ready to start?

Before you start building, make sure to check out our other post on common mistakes when building a home theater.

If you want a free consultation, reach out to Buttonwood Communications and we’ll send a professional to assess your home theater needs.

Topics: Home Theater, Subwoofer, Speakers

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