Is a home theater even worth it or doable?

Please be honest with me. I'm a huge TV  movie fan as I'm sure many of you are, and in my youth I used to have a Denon setup, blu-ray, etc. I loved the experience. Fast forward 25 years and now I just stream my tv and movies off Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu. We are doing a new addition where we have an open space concept. I see myself continuing to stream in the future, but would like a clean sound at least. I am treating myself to an 85" TV not sure the make model yet, but I want a big one. Does it make sense for me to even invest in something more then a sound bar given my streaming and open concept? If so, what type of setup should I consider or if I should prewire something up and where would that be? Thanks for your advice.



You really answered the question with “I’m a huge TV and movie fan”. We are too and it is totally worth the investment. We have a 2 story open floor plan and movies are amazing ! Music is great too! You can see our system on my details page. Go for it! 

My Sister-In-Law house/dog sits for people while they travel ...

Many wealthy, larger spaces, bigger Monitors.

I am flabbergasted by the poor audio, it just boggles your mind. Aside from poor speaker choices, the placement, echos, hollow spots, OMG. Center channel speakers in odd places; fl/fr spaced wide, flat in walls, imaging off center problematic, let's not mention Monitors above Fireplaces.

Lousy light control (harder in large rooms).

Most are unable to explain how the system works to her before they leave, she often waits for me to visit just to get regular TV going. Then afraid to change anything.

Monster TVs, with Sound bars, 


AV consultants and I used to design high tech boardrooms, with custom remotes, tried to make it usable for brilliant executives. Eventually only 1 wiz kid from Special Projects ... could operate the damn thing. It's the same, brilliantly dumb.

IOW, RTFM, learn the fundamentals yourself, so you can figure it out/reset when something goes amis which is not if but when.


Open concepts are great and prefer them. A dedicated Home Theater is nice if you really have the perfect space but it is difficult to use the space or converse with guest when you are all facing the screen. I recommend in an open space that you build the Home Theater setup around the main couch (group of seating) and have the screen determine your locations of your speakers. The other areas and awkward angled seating just won’t have as good of an experience but they are not primary. The main 1-4 seats are what really matters (maybe more depending on the size of your family). You could always add a recessed motorized screen that drops down in front of the TV. A ton of options in an open concept!

What is really needed. How much is too much or too little?
After I recently upgraded my AV center I had a left over NAD so I put it in my bedroom, hoping to liven up the Television there. A couple of days ago I was watching the TV W/O the NAD and though it had good sound and part of the fault might be the CHEAP Clipch speakers I connected to it, The TV along sounded better that when using the NAD.

I think in my lifetime, I've set up at least 12 home theater systems at 5 different houses now, some for me, some for friends/ family. And I will say this, yes, in my opinion, getting surround sound is worth it. Even if you're streaming. Having said that, you have to make sure that your streaming device will decode the latest signals. So my streaming source is an Apple TV. I use that and am able to get Atmos through HBO, Apple TV, Disney, Netflix and Amazon. (Hulu stinks and I don't think they have anything over stereo to my knowledge.) I know the Apple TV works with the streaming and sound formats, I'm not sure if other streamers such as a Roku, or Amazon stick are as compatible with other streaming services in delivering Atmos sound. (You'll also need the highest Netflix tier to stream in Atmos /4k too.) 

Next up is the TV. As others have said, if you want 85 inches, I think Sony is unbeatable. LG OLED and Samsung High end TV's compete with picture quality, but LG doesn't make an OLED that size, and Samsung doesn't support Dolby Vision. (And after switching from regular HDR to Dolby Vision, its game changing because your TV is automatically dialed in using DV and calibrated making the picture even better.) 

As far as sound goes, every step up will improve your experience. I have yet to ever hear good TV speakers, like, ever. They just don't sound good. A soundbar is certainly an option, and that would certainly be better than TV speakers. And, most good, two channel systems with a sub are going to best most soundbars. But adding speakers to your rear, sides, and ceiling, that's where it really becomes an immersive experience. So a "basic" 5.1.2 system is, in my opinion, the best bang for your buck. But, I have constantly upgraded my system to where I now have a 9.2.4 system, and my movie experience is now far better than having fewer speakers. So, if your room would be able to support that many speakers, I'd suggest to at least wire up a 9.4.6 solution while you can and that way you have the option to put in more speakers if you ever wish to. 

As far as speakers go, I have used Klipsch in-wall speakers, Focal's, but my favorite theater speakers are either Definitive Technology towers, or Golden Ear tower speakers. They both have built in subs, and their quality is great for music or movies, plus they manufacture complimentary speakers that you can use for surround and height speakers. Paradigm, Focal, Klipsch, there are really a lot of great options. 

I disagree with a lot of people here though who say you have to get a pre/pro and separates to start. I think a high-end receiver that has built in amps is perfect for most scenarios. Or, at least to start. Just make certain it has pre-outs for all your channels so that, if you choose to, you can offload the signal to an external amp if you ever want. Anthem makes a great receiver depending on the number of channels you want to start out with that can decode 7.2 channels up to 15.2 channels. (But you'd need an external amplifier to power some of those channels.) Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, they all have some good solutions as well with built in amplification so your starting costs are a lot lower, and you can add external amplification if you ever choose to. (And if you eventually move to external amps for all your channels, then you can move to a pre-pro only which would deliver a great sound too.) 

Anyway - that's my .02. One other thing of note too is your room size. If it's a small room, then 9.4.6 may be huge overkill. If the room is huge, that may not be enough. But yeah, with modern room correction software, good speakers, good sub or bass performance, in my opinion, I think it would be worth it to setup a multi channel surround system. (OH! And Music with Atmos, that's life changing! My two channel stereo sounds great, but when you get immersive audio involved, it's an entirely different experience.)