Let’s first start with video. There are 2 distinct ways to go when determining what video platform you want to use; a flat panel television or a front projector for larger then life images. This is where room size and brightness come in to play. If you are going for a true movie theater style experience then you would probably focus on a front projector. Be careful when choosing this option as you will need an extremely dark room to allow the projector to create a clear and bright picture. You also don’t want the image to be over-powering for the room size. If you prefer to stick to a more traditional style TV, you will probably be researching flat panels. There are three main types of flat panel TVs including plasmas, LED lit LCDs, and traditionally LCDs. LCDs are the cheapest option but all of these fall into a similar price range depending on brand and features. Basically a plasma has the most natural picture and the lowest black levels, an LED is the brightest and has a vibrant picture with a real life feel on 120htz sets, and an LCD is in between with a bright and clear picture. Personal preference will play a big role in determining what set to buy. This is a VERY brief overview of TVs but keep in mind it is meant for beginners.
Let’s take a look at some audio options. The world of audio can be a bit tricky because there is quite a few ways to take your system. There are some decent all-in-one surround sound systems out there but you will probably get better quality and more value if you create your own system. Audio is essential to completing any home theater system. The main components of any system are the speakers, the amp, and the pre-amp. Generally in most sound systems the pre-amp and amp are combined into one piece of equipment called a receiver. To get the best sound out of your system, get a matching set of speakers for the whole room. This should consist of a center channel (most important since almost all dialogue comes from this speaker) two front surrounds, two rear surrounds, and a sub-woofer. You should make sure that your receiver doesn’t put out to many watts or you can damage your speakers. There are more things to consider when choosing the proper receiver but that could be a separate post entirely on its own.
This should help the research process for any beginner looking to set up their first home theater package. Don’t forget to get some decent cables to pull it all together!