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What is a home theater? My definition first and then into arguments.

A home theater is a 16:9 television having a 5.1 sound system and a media player (DVD, Blu-ray, or VHS). That’s it.

Sure, a room can be transformed – with enough cash – into a duplicate of the Roxy down the street but, while called a home theater, is décor for an interior designer’s idea of décor. A faux authenticity. In fact, I’d go further: such an installation removes home from home theater. First objective of such a place is to isolate an experience – and call it home theater.

It could be argued my definition is but that of increases in technology – which is true but not that relevant. To be sure the technology has advanced from the days of the bulky CRT with internal speakers allowing my description yet what then the dividing line between a better TV and a Home Theater if that only? Cost?

If it is cost then the specialized room built at high cost is home theater while that costing less isn’t? If it is cost then where the dividing line?

A decent home theater can be put together for less than $2,500: a 60-in. TV at $1,200, an amp at about $700, a Blue-ray player at about $150 and about $500 for speakers. How do I know this? I built my other home theater for about that cost.

Of course you can spend more but that’s preference. All the components described above can be obtained at much higher cost and, for their features, worth the cost. However, that’s choice of equipment to preferences. But, my view, cost does not a home theater make.

Some might say I am being minimalist but that’s not my position: my position is a home theater is not necessarily that created at great expense. Again, a home theater is a 16:9 TV with a 5.1 sound system and a media player. Essentially, if you have that you have a home theater.


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