How to make the perfect home theater on a tight budget

Building the perfect theater system is easy when you have money to burn. But for those of us with a tighter budget, here are some affordable options that won’t compromise your enjoyment.

How to make the perfect home theater on a tight budget
  • How much do you need to spend on home theater? It’s possible to build an awesome audio-visual setup from scratch for $500.
  • What is the most important part of a home theater? Probably your screen. Even cheap second-hand speakers can be adapted for surround sound.
  • What is the best home theater setup on a tight budget? Check out the projectors, speakers and streaming devices below for some inspiration!

On a cold winter’s night, there is nothing better than settling down in a cozy room with a movie. Of course, straining to see the details on your laptop slightly detracts from the experience. But with these products, you can create the perfect home theater on the cheap.

Anker Nebula Prizm II HD LCD Multimedia Projector

This compact projector lets you enjoy the big screen experience at home. The Prizm II offers full HD resolution, with a display size of up to 120 inches. It also has dual 5W speakers on board for powerful sound.

Price: $269.99 USD

Anker Nebula Prizm II HD LCD Multimedia Projector - How to make the perfect home theater on a tight budget

The Nebula Prizm II offers impressive visuals at an affordable price

RIF6 CUBE Pico Projector

Measuring just two inches tall, the RIF6 CUBE is small enough to take anywhere. Just as importantly, it has a maximum display size of 120 inches at full HD resolution.

Price: $199.99 USD

Chromecast Ultra by Google

This small HDMI dongle lets you send 4K and even HDR content from your phone or computer to your TV. Even if your screen can’t hit those heights, the Chromecast Ultra will optimize the picture.

Price: $69 USD

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

If you’re a regular Prime user, the Fire TV Stick might better suit your needs. The devices gives you access to a vast selection of 4K and HD content, with physical controls, and voice search via Alexa.

Price: $49.99 USD

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K - How to make the perfect home theater on a tight budget

Get access to a huge library of content with Fire TV 4K

Polk Audio Command Alexa Sound Bar

Polk Audio’s Command sound bar provides virtual surround sound at a very affordable price. The device optimizes sound levels for dialogue, and you can use voice commands to control your TV thanks to Alexa.

Price: $249 USD

Roku TV Wireless Speakers Bundle

This bundle from Roku delivers wireless sound and high-quality streaming for under $200. Along with stereo speakers, the pack contains one voice remote and one tabletop remote with traditional controls.

Price: $199.99 USD

Roku TV Wireless Speakers Bundle - How to make the perfect home theater on a tight budget

Roku’s wireless speakers bundle offers incredilbe value

Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Speaker

With class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers, this Sonos smart speaker will bring your movie soundtrack to life. Pair two or more together for amazing surround sound, complete with Alexa intelligence.

Price: $149 USD

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth TV Soundbar

This brand new soundbar offers incredible sound for a very reasonable price. The Mi bar packs eight drivers into a sleek design, with enhanced bass and multiple connectivity options.

Price: $70 USD

MovieMask Portable Cinema Wearable

If setting up all that equipment sounds like too much trouble, you can always use MovieMask. This headset turns your phone into a personal cinema display — perfect for lying back with your favorite Netflix series.

Price: $99 USD

Tight budget cinema

Few of us have $2k to blow on audio-visual equipment. But as this roundup proves, you can create an amazing home theater on a tight budget.

What does your setup look like? Paint a picture in the comments.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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