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Great home theater tips to help you design and setup your basement home theater!

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Home theater accessories

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Now that you've selected all the components for your new home theater system, it's time to "trick it out" with some accessories. While things such as cables, wires, and surge protectors aren't very exciting, careful thought needs to put into you selection. Also, unless you're into mountains of 'clickers', don't forget to pick up a decent universal remote!

Speaker cables, surge protectors, etc.

Aperion brand speaker wire is a big step up over the stuff that ships with most speakers. It's also reasonably priced.Here are some tips for wiring your system:

  • Don't use speaker cable that ships with the speakers. Use thicker, high-quality cable- 14 gauge minimum, 12 gauge recommended. If you have long speaker runs (for the surrounds) you may need thicker cable for those.

  • Use a low-frequency coaxial cable specifically designed for subwoofer connections. Don't use plain speaker wire from receiver to sub.
  • Cable by Acoustic Research are high-quality, but not as expensive as some of the other brands.Be sure to buy a decent surge protector ($50 and up). Connect all components to it. (If the subwoofer is not near the receiver, you may need a 2nd surge protector.)

    I almost lost a sub this way during a thunderstorm. I had moved the sub to a different wall, and never got around to buying a surge protector. Needless to say, after that close call I have one now!

  • When installing speaker wires or other cables (HDMI, Coax, etc.) don't staple any cables to joists, walls, or anywhere else. It could damage the cable. Use fasteners designed for that purpose. Zip ties work pretty well. You can staple the end of the zip tie to the joist while keeping the cable safe and sound.

Universal remotes

If you've ever had to search and search for a remote, but have found three others, then maybe it's time to simplify things with a single universal remote!

Decent, programmable universal remotes range from 'no frills' models starting at about $5, to high end ones costing several hundred to several thousand dollars!

You can pick up the Harmony 550 for around $100The Harmony 880 is a great mid-level remote that sells for around $250The Harmony 1000 features a touch screen and sells for around $500

Harmony universal remotes

Harmony makes great remotes in a wide range of prices. Many can be programmed by downloading codes right to your remote from the Internet! You can set up macros that allow you to push one button, for example, I have a macro on my Harmony 880 called: "Watch Blu-ray/DVD" that will configure everthing in my system correctly. It turns on all components and sets my A/V receiver and projector to the correct inputs. No more getting lost in mountains of menus and buttons!

Home Theater Topics

Setting your budget

Selecting components

A/V receivers

How big should the screen be?

Display technologies

Front projectors

HDTV shopping tips

Speakers and subwoofer

DVD players

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD

How to buy a Blu-ray player

Top Blu-ray players

Lutron dimmers: Custom home theater lighting

Lutron Spacer System: Custom programmable scene lighting

Cables and accessories

Buying home theater systems

Buying home theater speaker, Blu-ray players, and accessories

Home theater setup



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