The Perfect Gift: a Home Entertainment Center that Rocks
The Perfect Gift: a Home Entertainment Center that Rocks

Looking for a gift that won’t soon be forgotten?  Consider converting the TV room into a true home entertainment center.  These days, there are literally options for every budget from a $300 home theater “in a box” to a $30,000 professional installation.

While most reputable electronics stores will send a design specialist to your home to help determine what type of system best meets your needs, it’s not a bad idea to do a little homework in advance to make an informed purchasing decision.

The size and layout of the room is the first consideration.  This includes where people will be sitting to watch the screen, height of the ceilings, if the room opens to other parts of the house or can be closed off, sound proofing, lighting and much more. 

“We prefer plasma screens for color, motion and black space, but if there is a lot of uncontrolled light, such as from large windows, it may be better to go with a LCD screen with a matte finish,” explains Ken Quartarone of Talk of the Town in Allendale.  “And while floor-standing tower speakers provide the best quality sound, there often isn’t enough room or there are young children in the house who could knock them over, so we find other ways to install speakers.”

There are also some really cool high-tech options for a real aficionado who might want to entertain but not have the equipment dominate the room:

  • stealth in-wall, in-ceiling or behind-the-wall flush-mounted speakers that are painted over and are invisible to the eye;
  • television screens hidden behind a painting that rolls up and out of the way with a click of the remote; and
  • decorative mirrors that magically transform into a televisions with the press of a button.

“In addition to the physical aspects of a room, how a system will be used – for movies, music, video games, sporting events – also factors into the decision,” says Vinny Dawfik, sales manager at Electronics Expo in Paramus.

Ken also recommends not cutting corners on a universal remote.  “Many people don’t realize their value.  But if you don’t get a good one, you may not get the true value of your home system.  People get frustrated if using a home entertainment center gets too complicated.”