Common Mistakes in Home Theater Purchases

Posted by David on 5/8/2014
We are all human and imperfect, right? Of course we all make mistakes, but some mistakes could be very costly to us in time, energy and money. And when it comes time to make decision that will affect time, energy or money sent and any of those investments will be large (by your own standard), you should want and expect to be cautious and thorough in the purchases you make.

This can certainly be said for home theater systems, which can run from a couple thousand to up to $10,000 or more. Today we'll provide you with we've found are some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to buying or installing a home theater system.

Installing a TV too high above the floor. If you have to bend your neck back to see the screen, either you are too lose to the TV or it is up too high. Anything more than 6 feet above the floor is likely too much.
Buying the wrong size TV for the space.  This has to do with understanding the space where your TV will be - if it's a large room, then a larger TV will do. If it is a smaller space, the TV should not be so dominant. But of course, don't go too small either. There are ways to calculate the size of the screen based on the viewing distance; this is the most reliable way to get the right size set.
Placing speakers inside a cabinet. If you really want to hide or cancel your speakers, put them in the wall or in the ceiling; putting a speaker (already in its own cabinet) into a cabinet or enclosed space defeats the purpose of the engineering of the speaker.
Buying electronics where it's convenient. Big-box stores or stores that have an electronics section side a larger department-type store is not the best place to get the best equipment or best advice. It's worth it to go to a specialty electronics store and pay a little bit more for the premium speakers and TVs.
Forgetting the accessories in your budget. You are focused on the speakers and the TV, but don't run out of money and settle for cheap cables or universal remotes. Those parts are often just as important for the quality of the system, so include premium-priced accessories and account for them in your budget. If it means you have to cut back a little on speakers or the TV, so be it. 
Not "test-driving" the speakers in your own space. Make sure you buy your speakers at a place where they have a generous return policy, and always test your speakers in your space, because they are set up to always sound good in the store - and your space is going to be different than the store. Allow yourself a couple of three days to try them out and if they don't sound right, take them back and shop some more.
Buying a cheap surge protector. We've heard of many systems being wrecked by power outages or lightning strikes because of a cheap surge protector. Be willing to spend $50 or so on a quality surge protector, especially one that has some kind of warranty to back it up. The more you spend, the better your protection should some unforeseen electrical issue  comes up.