While not everyone can afford a top of the line home theater room, that doesn't mean that you need to settle for a home theater that isn't perfect for your needs. Most families and households are different, but there are some things that almost everyone has to have. Home theater rooms can quickly spiral out of control cost wise if you don't plan ahead.
1. Flat Screen Televisions The latest in HDTV technology is the LCD TVs that are lit with LEDs, making them brighter and less energy voracious. If you're in the market for a new TV, make sure you get the LED LCDs, not the traditionally lit ones. It will make a significant difference in your viewing pleasure. We've never been fans of 3D TV sets, so we'd stay away from these for now, until the technology has proven itself.
2. Home Theater Computer For many people, a home theater room has to include a computer of some sort, mainly to allow you to stream media from it. A WiFi network will allow you to share data from your main desktop or laptop to this computer. You can use PCs or Mac Minis for this task.
3. Speakers There are so many ways to set up the sound in your home theater. However, we usually go for one of two options. We like to use cheap surround speakers or two bigger speakers that are more hi-fi. The second option is the one that will last you the longest. There are many types of speakers available, and they can get expensive quickly. Or you could simply make your own from a kit. Kits will make some very good speakers, if you can do it by yourself. Remember that you'll be spending a few hundred dollars on cables, so take that into consideration when buying speakers. We'd stay away from anything wireless.
4. Headphones If you live with other people, you'll have to use headphones at one time or another. A good pair will replace speakers quite easily, no matter what the situation. The trick is having an extension cord for your headphones. We like the ones from Sennheiser, but here are a few other options.
5. Amplifier Whatever your setup, you will need an amplifier of some sort. Once again there are many options, but we like the ones from NAD. Here are some other available options that won't break the bank.