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Our Home Theater System on a Budget

Today’s post was written for a commenter on Wednesday’s post about living it up on a budget, Megan J:

I’d love details about your system in the media room! We just bought a house with a theater room in the basement, but the previous owners took all of the equipment and awesome theater chairs. Do you have a projector/screen? I can’t even figure out where to start looking since we want something that is good quality but not an astronomical price.

If you were reading BFS anytime between April and October of 2012, you may have noticed that we splurged like never before.  We had our dream home built from the ground up.  One of the “dream” features was a media room – a completely windowless room meant for nothing but vegging out in front of a show, movie, or video game.  In late 2012, we bought a home theater system on a budget using Amazon.  We still haven’t bought the theater recliners that we want though, so it’s a super functional work-in-progress.

Movie Nights

Our Home Theater System on a Budget

We mainly knew about home theater system price ranges from friends and family.  If you find everything you need used, you can actually keep the cost to less than $1000 for the whole setup (I’m not accounting for furniture – just the system itself).  I’d suggest browsing around Craigslist so you can save on shipping. If you go nuts, you can pretty easily spend $4000+.

Amazon

I ran out of patience with the hunt for used deals, so we ended up getting a good deal on new stuff mainly through Amazon instead.  Here is what we purchased and how much it cost in late 2012.  We left this stuff in our basket for more than a month and Amazon sent us a 10% off deal…that helped.

  • Projector: Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350 – $1100
  • Receiver:  Yamaha RX-V373 5.1-Channel AV Receiver – $250
  • Screen:  Elite Screens ER100WH1 Sable Fixed Frame Projection Screen (100 inch 16:9 AR) – $230
  • Surround Sound System:  Basic one from Fry’s Electronics – $175
  • Blu-Ray Player:  THE CRAPPY SONY ONE that was $100, but we like our new-to-us Samsung one way better – $60
  • Projector Mount:  Atdec TH-WH-PJ-FM Telehook Universal Projector Flush Mount – $48
  • 2 HDMI Cables – $25
  • 10% Discount from Amazon – $165
  • Sales Tax – $123
  • Shipping – Free
  • TOTAL = $1846

The Big Kahuna

Obviously, the projector was the most expensive item to track down.  We were trying to find a high definition one that was clear enough to wow us but wasn’t $3000.  Our Epson Powerlite 8350 has been working for us really well since December 2012.  We spent $43 on an off-brand replacement bulb/lamp for our projector off of Amazon in March 2014 and it has continued working great. 

Overall, I’d highly suggest an Epson Powerlite 8350 if you are looking for a super clear, vibrant picture, BUT you can find new projectors for $500-$750 if you just need a basic tv quality.  The Epson Home Cinema 725HD 720p 3LCD Projector is “only” $550 and has 4.5 stars on Amazon.  It isn’t high definition, but it will do the job.  We definitely planned this splurge since we do spend most of our free time in the media room.

Do you have a home theater setup?  What suggestions or tips do you have for somebody in the market?

In case you want a quick look at our media room, it’s actually in the last part of my YouTube video below about a slow day of self-employment:

***This post contains my affiliate links to Amazon, but that’s not why I wrote it.  BUT, if you were going to take my advice anyway, I figured why not make about 4% on it…***

 

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2 comments to Our Home Theater System on a Budget

  • Wow nice! That is an awesome idea. I think home theater is better than mall theater because you can watch movies for free and you can play it all over again, unlike in malls , you can only watch at one time. :)

  • Its great that Amazon gave you 10% off just for keeping the stuff in your cart. Do you know how that works? Do you need to keep stuff totaling to some price before they make that offer? I’m always a little hesitant to get electronics off of craigslist. I think I would have gone the amazon route like you did.