Do It Yourself -- Home Theater System

BY: Christina Hansen


Home theatre systems
There are no hard-and-fast rules for what turns a room with a TV into a full-fledged "home theater."At the very least it's a bigger, better picture with bigger, and better sound. In our day and age families who want a more engaging cinema experience — minus the overpriced popcorn — are upgrading as well, thanks to affordable options for nearly every budget.

ISOBAR surge suppressorGet into the habit of powering down components before making connections. Sudden loads on live amplifiers connected to speakers are especially damaging. When connecting audio and video cables you should power down the components involved in the connection first. Surge suppressors can be employed in the installation of your home theater system and other electrical appliances to reduce the risk of electric shock.

When hooking up your system it’s important to use interconnects that have ends you can grip securely, some of the connections might be tight and often you’ll need to pull them out or reconnect them from obstructed vantage points and in poor lighting. It’s important your finger tips can grab the plugs on the end of your interconnects so you’re not pulling on the cable as it may in some cases be easily damaged. One must also insure that the cables leading out of the home theater appliance are properly organized as they may cause a horrible and undesirable mess behind your display unit. One such problem may be avoided through with use of Raceways, wire ducts, cable ties etc.

You’re going to need room behind your equipment to put it all together. If everything is going in front of a wall give yourself some space to see behind the gear. Plan ahead of time how your components are to be stacked and then ensure the wires you have will reach before you begin. There is nothing worse than having to disconnect everything from your receiver to move it because one component’s wiring can’t reach.

home theater slide out shelving unitAvoid enclosed cabinets if possible, open shelves look modern and are becoming a popular way to display your equipment while giving you easy access and allowing your equipment to breathe. If you must stack components be sure not to obstruct any vents. Damage from overheating constitutes abuse and could void a warranty. Check components for heat from time to time after you’ve set everything up and begin watching your first movie. If components seem to run hot, consider putting in a fan to circulate the air. Common sense can go a long way in component placement; consider the weight of any component before putting it on top of another. A $30 DVD player probably shouldn’t be used to support the weight of a 7-channel power amp.

Since your Home Theater area might not have a lot of lighting, be sure to have a portable flashlight handy so you can read labeled connections easily. Reaching behind components and making connections you can only feel can lead to incorrect configuration and, at worst, can damage components.

Speaker Wire
Longer runs of wire require thicker gauge wire. This is the basic minimum outline:

  • 16 gauge for less than 100 feet.
  • 14 gauge from 100 to 200 feet
  • 12 gauge for greater than 200 feet.

Cabling Theory
Remember, the basic theory behind wiring your system is simple. You’re going to connect components together for a logical flow of signals. Left always connects to left, right always to right, positive always to positive and negative to negative. Inputs are always connected to an output.