NORWICH, Conn. -- Nowadays you don’t have to be Howard Hughes to enjoy your own in-home movie theater.
Nowadays you don’t have to be Howard Hughes to enjoy your own in-home movie theater.
More homeowners are now savvy to the flexible options that allow them to create their own niche of entertainment within the comfort of their homes -- an investment well worth it as movie prices go up and the cost of electronics comes down.
Homeowners shouldn’t be intimidated by a home theater, because a customized design can be created for a wide range of budgets, said Chris Ursin, co-owner of Natural Audio in Tolland.
“We can do systems at any budget range. A homeowner could have a home theater starting as low as $2,000 and going up to the quarter of a million dollar range,” he said.
One of his customers, Neil Demers of East Lyme, had a home theater installed last year.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for years. We had just moved in to a new house, so the timing was right,” said Demers, who has his home theater in his living room.
One attraction for Demers was that he and his wife, Joan, enjoy listening to music just as much as they like watching movies.
“We really wanted to get some decent stuff in the house to accentuate the music,” Demers said.
Their TV set is a 50-inch flat-screen plasma, and the couple had a 5.1 digital surround-sound system installed.
“It’s nice,” said Demers, who had the company hide the wires in the floor and install two speakers in the rear wall.
“We have a subwoofer on the floor in the corner, and it rattles the wall beautifully,” he joked.
When the couple visited a showroom, they brought their favorite movies and CDs so they could try out the equipment and create a customized room with the help of a bit of brainstorming from the staff.
While plasma and LCD TV screens are popular, homeowners weighing their options would do well to visit audio video show rooms, Ursin said.
The cost of projectors and screens has fallen dramatically, he said, making the choice between a large-screen TV and a projector with a screen set-up a more difficult decision.
A 110-inch screen and a projector can cost about $3,000, he said. A plasma TV in the 50-inch range is about $2,000 to $2,500.
And the cost for setting up speakers in both options is the same, Ursin said.
Home theaters are now so popular, said Norton Wheeler, owner of Mystic River Building Company, that it is almost a given for any home that starts out at $500,000 to at least have the wiring installed to accommodate one.
“It’s usually more in the budget stage than the home completion stage. It commonly gets referred to as on a future wish list. A lot of times we do the pre-wiring and the jacks to install a system later,” Wheeler said.
“I would say 75 percent of the projects we work on have prewiring or a system installed. Certainly in higher-end homes it’s a given.”
Some people credit the trend toward home theaters to the homing instinct that mushroomed after Sept. 11, 2001.
“If you look back pre-9/11, the home theater was reserved for that individual that had a certain amount of discretionary dollars to spend on their home. That’s changed in the last several years. The family unit became stronger — mom and dad want to be home with their kids, they want to do things together. There was a huge surge, and there continues to be a huge surge,” said Bob Mariano, president of Cyclone Home Systems.
Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin
Contact Sharma Howard at email@example.com.