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Home theater systems Buying Guides

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Getting started

Buying separate components can be time-consuming and expensive, and connecting them can be a challenge. You can avoid some of the hassle by buying a prepackaged system that combines a receiver with a set of matched speakers, wiring, and often a DVD or Blu-ray player. In most cases, a package will cost less than your own system built from scratch. You'll see some home-theater-in-a-box systems selling from $200 to $500, though other models sell for hundreds more. Systems that include an integrated Blu-ray player will probably cost $400 or more.

Unless you're a serious audiophile listening to music critically, you'll probably find the sound quality to be just fine, and better than what you'd get using just your TV's speakers. These systems typically have less power and fewer features than separate components, so they're not the best choice if you want a system with plenty of power for a very large room or noisy setting. Most are not designed for expansion and don't let you add or replace speakers. This home-theater guide will help with your choice.

Visit ConsumerReports.org for our latest information on Home theater systems

Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

Getting started

1. Getting started

2. Types


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