7 Reasons to Avoid a New Home Theater System Today

4k home theater projector

7 Reasons to Avoid a New Home Theater System Today

Key Points

  • Compatibility issues and rapid technological advances can render home theater systems obsolete
  • Space limitations and speaker problems are common drawbacks of home theater systems
  • Smart TVs, soundbars, and home projectors are viable alternatives to traditional home theater systems

It is Friday evening and a movie night is minutes away. You’re about to experience breathtaking visuals, punctuated by heart-pounding sound effects. Welcome to the beauty of home theater systems!

What if we told you it’s not always sunshine, rainbows, and incredible quality worth the high price? Picture this: you’ve spent painstaking hours setting up your home theater system. Despite twiddling with the volume knob, fidgeting with wire connections, and tinkering with the equipment settings, nothing seems to work.

If you were considering investing in a home theater system, you may want to think again. We’re here to break down the crucial considerations before you spend your hard-earned money.

Background on the Home Theater System

Best High-End Home Theater Receivers
A home theater system changes how you experience movies and video games.

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In a report by the Business Research Company, the home theaters market size will reach $66.16 billion by 2027. The industry also expects a 19.5% growth rate by the same year. As disposable incomes increase, more people are able to afford this high-tech equipment. The future looks bright, and manufacturers are looking to capitalize on it.

Home theaters integrate the television with an audio system, typically comprised of a receiver, soundbar, subwoofer, and satellite speakers. Consumers seek the surround sound effect to enhance the experience of watching movies at home. Moreover, cloud technology has enabled video streaming platforms to provide access to movie libraries. Home theaters with internet connectivity allow you to stream these videos with cinema-quality sound.

Creating a home theater system requires careful thought. You should assess your room size and decide whether to opt for large or small speakers. A ready-to-use unit is okay, but a carefully planned setting is most fulfilling. Also, invest in a top-market smart TV since it has all the audio and streaming components. All you have to do is connect it to the speakers, adjust the settings, and relax with a good movie.

Three home theater audio systems exist: the 3.1 channel system, 5.1 channel surround, and 7.1 channel system. The figures before the decimal point denote how many speakers a system has. For example, the 3.1 channel system has three speakers.

Despite all of the great reasons to install a home theater system, it isn’t without its drawbacks (of which there are quite a few). We’ve put together a list of the key things you should consider before making this big decision. Let’s talk about it!

Reasons to Avoid a New Home Theater System

Compatibility Issues

Modern Home Theater Room Interior with Flat Screen TV angled perspective view
Sometimes there can be compatibility issues when setting up a home theater system



A home theater system comes as a package consisting of an amplifier, subwoofer, and surround systems. They all have wiring connections, but many models have wireless speakers. Older models feature a disc player, while newer ones have a USB slot and a streaming device.

Connectivity issues arise as manufacturers are always releasing software updates. HDMI cables on your unit may also be incompatible with your TV since the cable and port could be different. For example, the micro HDMI port on your TV cannot support type-A HDMI connections.

Technology May Become Obsolete

The rapid pace of technological advances renders cutting-edge equipment obsolete quickly. Home theaters are not an exception. For example, AV receivers are used by traditional speakers to process and amplify audio signals, while soundbars don’t need them at all.

Soundbars have built-in amplifiers, which is also the case with the additional speakers with the package. On the other hand, the home theater’s AV receiver is on its way to becoming obsolete.

No Picture

Nothing could be more disappointing than staring at a dark TV screen. It takes away the excitement. This can be an issue with home theaters. The problem could be a faulty remote, receiver or projector not in sync, or loose cables. 

Resolving these issues requires measured steps, tackling one element at a time. A dark and non-responsive screen points to a power issue. Also, the remote batteries could be dead. Something might be blocking the signal relay. If the TV turns on manually, the remote is faulty. If no method of troubleshooting works, you need to call an A/V technician. 

Too Many Requirements

Building a home theater can be a fun experience that puts you in control, but there are tons of requirements. Without sufficient research, you might end up with expensive, incompatible equipment. You also need to consider how your room looks by paying attention to lighting, seat placement, blinds, or curtains. Blackout curtains create the best ambiance for movies by keeping out light. Also, the TV mounting must be precise — not too high or low. Extension cables should have built-in surge protection. Insurance is necessary especially if you’re investing in expensive equipment.

Space Limitations

Home theater systems require significant space for them to perform optimally. A small apartment cannot feasibly accommodate the unit. Your entertainment center will only look good, but the performance will be wanting. Similar limitations apply to your home. Immersive sound requires the very specific placement of speakers around your room — one each on the left and right sides of your room, as well as in the center. Many also prefer to keep the subwoofer by the couch because it keeps it out of sight for a more tidy look.

Speaker Problems

For a system with many settings and wire connections, things can go wrong pretty fast. Speaker problems are common in home theaters. Speaker vibrations loosen components such as screws, and you occasionally need to tighten them. Sometimes it is the sound that does not come out forcing you to check the wire connections. In other instances, the content you’re running may not play in your speaker setup prompting you to tweak the settings. In some cases, the surround sound plays too quietly. Each time these problems arise, you must check the settings or wire connections, and it can be frustrating. 

Hefty Price Tag

Your budget determines the sound configuration of your choice. A $300 budget gets you a simple system, typically with a 5.1 surround channel and a couple of additional speakers. A serious setup is possible with $1,000 to $6,000, which can outfit a living room or a media room with all the best equipment.

biggest oled tv
Home theater systems are expensive and all that pricey, bulky equipment may not be worth it for you.


Alternatives to Home Theater Systems

Modern technology has given rise to plenty of alternatives to home theater setups, still with high-fidelity sound and great picture quality. Let’s explore the best alternatives you can find now, offering great quality that won’t break the bank.

Smart TVs

Best Budget-Friendly TV
SAMSUNG 55-Inch Class QLED Q70A Series
  • Quantum HDR
  • Alexa built-in
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11/27/2023 07:16 am GMT

Smart TV is the best alternative to a home theater system. It offers seamless internet connectivity, high-definition images, and powerful sound. They work like computers and only need Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to access the internet. After that, search and choose the apps you want. Plus, the sound quality is so good on these TVs that you usually don’t need any help from external speakers or soundbars. The Samsung Q70A QLED smart TV is our choice here. It automatically adjusts audio and picture settings to the content. This TV also delivers stunning images with enhanced brightness and contrast. Its motion rate feature offers blur-free motion allowing you to enjoy every detail in fast-paced scenes.


Best for Dolby Atmos
VIZIO M-Series 5.1.2
  • 11 high-performance speakers
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • 2 upfiring speakers
  • True 2-way speaker design
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11/26/2023 06:21 am GMT

Soundbars are single speakers that only require a single connection to the TV. Immersive surround sound is among the many features you will enjoy. They have multiple sound modes that you can utilize for sports, music, or movies. Some models offer automatic sound calibration. Their slim and compact design allows them to fit neatly in front or below your TV.  

You no longer need an AV receiver, and you can opt for soundbars that come with wireless speakers and subwoofers for an even more immersive experience. That way, you avoid running cables across your living room. The VIZIO M-Series sound bar is ideal for its affordability and sound. It projects sound upward, and you can hear rustling leaves, cracking twigs, or gunfire with amazing clarity.

Traditional Passive Speakers

Awesome Sound
Audioengine HDP6 Passive Bookshelf Speakers
  • 2-way powered speakers
  • Real wood veneer
  • Walnut finish
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11/26/2023 08:37 pm GMT

Passive stereo speakers have an HDMI connection for integration with your TV. Some models require pairing with an amplifier, but there are units with a built-in amplifier. Options with Bluetooth streaming are ideal for accessing music albums via the cloud. Automatic signal-detection passive speakers are also available.

Expandability is also possible, allowing you flexibility in upgrading single components without affecting the entire system. Besides, passive speakers excel at capturing rich musical aspects such as thunderous bass or the plucking of notes on a guitar. The Audioengine HDP6 is an excellent pair for audio-visual entertainment and features a classic hand-finished wood design with removable grills.

Wireless Speakers

Wireless speakers are another alternative to a home theater system. As they are wireless they can be placed wherever you want them in your room to give the maximum effect. They can also easily be connected to your existing devices without the need for bulky wires.

Home Projectors

Best Image Quality
Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD 3-Chip Projector with HDR
  • Features Epson UltraBlack technology
  • The projector has a true 3-Chip design
  • The digital imaging processor reproduces sources material perfectly
  • 4K PRO-UHD projection technology
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11/25/2023 04:56 pm GMT

Home projectors transform your living room into a theater. They relay images with impressive quality. Many models offer Full HD and 4K resolution. Home projectors offer you an opportunity to customize screen sizes. Whether you want a modest 50-inch or a massive 200-inch, a home projector is up to the task.

Another advantage is the connectivity options available. HDMI ports allow connections with streaming devices, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles. Other models have built-in Wi-Fi, enabling streaming.

Besides, home projectors are easy-to-carry machines that let you have fun watching movies outside. You can put them in your backyard. Being able to connect to speakers or soundbars without wires is another cool thing about today’s home projectors.

Wrapping Up

Typically, home theater systems are comprised of a sound system and an AV receiver. The receiver powers the woofer and speakers. Built-in electronics decode the soundtrack from the TV, while some home theaters connect to Wi-Fi. Despite the benefits, home theater systems are not necessary for most people, and with quickly changing technology, what you buy may become obsolete quickly.

Moreover, you need sufficient space to set up the unit for the best performance. There are many maintenance aspects, and some are too complicated. A quality home theater system does not come cheap. It is even more expensive to splurge hard-earned cash on creating a dedicated home theater room.

Summary Table

Compatibility IssuesConnectivity issues due to software updates and HDMI cable incompatibility
Technology May Become ObsoleteRapid technological advances can render home theater equipment outdated quickly
No PictureDark TV screen due to faulty remote, receiver or projector not in sync, or loose cables
Too Many RequirementsRequires research, compatible equipment, room setup, and insurance
Space LimitationsRequires significant space for optimal performance
Speaker ProblemsCommon issues with settings, wire connections, and vibrations
Hefty Price TagExpensive, with serious setups costing between $1,000 to $6,000

Frequently Asked Questions

What home theater types are on the market today?

The Home-Theater-in-a-Box (HTIB) is the most common and comprises a unit with speakers, an amplifier, and a subwoofer. A sound bar is another type and features a thin bar with several built-in speakers. AV receivers and component systems are the other two categories. In total, there are four types.

What components does one need to set up a home theater?

You need three components to have a complete home theater system. These are a media player, an audio system, and a TV screen. The audio system has surround speakers; you can use a ready-to-use or self-customized system. For the media player, the recommendation is to seek a device with UHD streaming abilities. Regarding the screen, you could opt for a large flat-panel screen or a short-throw laser TV.

Is a home theater different from audio speakers?

The answer is in understanding what the system comprises. A home theater system combines surround speakers, an AV receiver, a DVD or Blu-ray player, and a TV. Audio speakers are stand-alone units that may not necessarily have surround capability.

Are home theaters expensive?

That depends a lot on your budget and the equipment you seek. Starting from the low end, a $300 budget will get you a simple system. Better configurations are between $1,000 and $6,000, where you can equip a dedicated living room or movie room. You also need to factor in the cost of extras like cables, brackets, and installation.

What are the problems associated with home theater systems?

Home theaters experience numerous challenges. Some are very minor but build up into major ones if left unchecked. These include HDMI incompatibility, poor picture quality on the TV, loss of audio, and unsynchronized videos. Solving these requires tweaking the settings, but any major challenges require handling by a skilled technician.

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