Technology has evolved over the last few years and it has changed the way that people see their home theater. While the traditional setup of a TV coupled with some speakers still exists, computers have made setting up a decent home theater a lot simpler or a lot more complicated, depending on what you're looking for. These setups are budget conscious, so take a look and let us know what you think.
One particular home theater setup involves using a HTPC, a home theater PC of some kind. This could also be a Mac Mini or a setup box like Apple TV. This setup would be almost traditional, since you'd just have your HDTV coupled to an extra box. A lot of people have started eschewing disc players, like a Blu-Ray player, in favor for an HTPC, which can easily be used to rent, stream, or play downloaded media.
This setup could work very well for users who have switched over to using a laptop as their main computing machine. The only other thing you'll need is a decent pair of speakers for the HDTV setup.
Alternatively, users who have larger monitors, 27 inches and up, can use their computers as a home theater system. This includes iMac users. 27 inches is a decent size for viewing purposes. The only issue is how to set up your home theater. Solutions that we've seen include having a sofa behind your office chair. Once you start watching stuff, you can just move your chair out of the way. We've found that all-in-one computers like the iMac are perfect for users who don't really want to mess around with a bunch of different setups. It doesn't take up much space and can meet most of your needs.
This setup can also work well for people who have converted their living rooms to other uses, like tucking in a home office workstation in a corner. In our home, we don't have a HDTV. We use our large computer monitors to view movies and watch our shows. The home entertainment center was replaced with IKEA bookshelves and there's a workstation desk in one corner.
These setups depend greatly on the amount of space that you've got available. If you are able to, coupling an LCD projector with a HTPC is also an interesting idea, since you can have a really big viewing area. What's your latest home setup?