Home theater system types

Home theater system types

Home theater system types more than ever have nearly unlimited sources for a top-quality home theater room. And more and more TV shows broadcast in HD, 4K, 8K, and especially in surround sound since there is an endless list of titles of CDs and DVDs, Blu-rays, and 4K Blu-rays - which by the way, is the best and latest possible HD performance in the market at the moment.

So the good news is you will not need a separate player for each type of disc, 4K Blu-ray player will play them all! But the most meaningful content is where you are now online! You can probably find almost anything you want, including Hollywood features in HD with high-quality surround sound and internet radio that let you customize playlists.

How do you get this in your home theater?

First, a broadband Internet connection looks for a speed of at least 5 Mb per second.

Then one of your home theater components should have Internet capabilities like a Smart TV, Blu-ray player, AV receiver, or game console.

Note that many of these specifications can be seen in their features list, and many include direct access to popular online services that connect directly to the Internet or your home network. Hence, a computer is not necessary even if your other components do not have net access built-in!

There are many internet-enabled devices available that will provide it.

Think of them as doorways to vast entertainment stores that will let you shop from the couch. Some offer access to multiple services like Netflix, Facebook, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, while others are dedicated to one service online entertainment, which is evolving very rapidly.

With faster connections, new technologies, and expanded capabilities, your home theater installation is a key to online exploring.

Select your type

You can choose from the following basic types of home theater audio systems:

Home theater in a box (HTIB) systems

Usually, five surround sound speakers, a subwoofer, and a disc player/amplifier. Sold as a unit in one box (hence the name) and includes all wiring.


A long, thin device containing several loudspeaker units.

Soundbars offer virtual surround sound. It is usually designed for mounting on a wall below a flat-panel TV, which sometimes can be synchronized with a wireless subwoofer that can be placed anywhere around the allowed connectivity range.

Component systems

Your choice of an audio/video (A/V) receiver, speakers, and any source components (such as a 4K Blu-ray player).


Component systems with separate preamplifier/processor and power amplifiers that replace the receiver. Currently, one of the best systems in the market is Marantz. The way they designed the preamp and amp provides the best audio quality without breaking the bank.

Which should you choose? Well, your considerations should include:

Your budget

Sound systems are available at a range of prices; here are general guidelines.

Price ranges

$200–$1,000: Home theater in a box (HTIB) systems. A few deluxe models are priced much higher. HTIB systems usually have small speaker systems.

$250–$2,000: Soundbars offer an alternative when you do not have space for a surround sound system. Many include a separate wireless subwoofer.

$1,000–$3,000: Component home theater systems, based on an A/V receiver.

$3,000 and above: Component home theater systems with top-of-the-line receivers or preamplifier/amplifier separates, and tremendous speakers.

Necessarily, for all equipment, more money can buy more features and higher maximum listening levels.

If you're planning a component system, save about 50 percent of your budget for the speakers.

Your room

Where you plan to set up your system can dictate what you'll need. A speaker system can overwhelm a small room. And a soundbar will not be able to fill a large room with sound. When planning, remember to prepare routes for the wires to the surround speakers, furniture, and electrical power.

The right system for your room

Here are some equipment guidelines for room sizes and functions:

Dorm room or similar:

Look for HTIB systems or a soundbar.

Component systems with small speakers may also be suitable.

Apartment living room:

HTIB, soundbar, or small component system.

These will depend on how well the system fits with your furniture (and your neighbors).

Larger living room:

Component system.

Creating a separate

HTIB, a home theater area in the room, or a soundbar may be adequate.

Den or "mancave":

Component system.

Create a dream system just for you.

Dedicated home theater room:

Design the best component system you can fit and afford.

The idea is to have a dedicated home theater room, where a home theater system is installed, and you will enjoy it.

Several choices

Since there are multiple home theater types, it can be confusing to find the appropriate home theater system that fits all the specific needs, budgets, prices, and room layouts.

However, understanding how these systems work and their main applications help us gain more significant insights into how they can be included in our living spaces.