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If you've ever considered transforming your living room into a home theater, but have been daunted by the planning and arranging of all of that equipment, there is a solution for you. Home Theater in-a-Box systems provide consumers with the means to getting theater quality entertainment at home for a fraction of the price, and a lot less hassle. These systems are a great introduction to the world of home theater entertainment. Many systems are upgradeable, making this an investment that you can grow with as you become more comfortable with the various technologies involved.

One of the advantages of getting a Home Theater in-a-Box system is the price point. Complete systems can be as low as $200 and range in price up to $2000. They are easily purchased from just about any consumer electronics store (such as Best Buy or Circuit City). Wal-mart stores are even offering Home Theater in-a-Box systems.

Next, the Home Theater in-a-Box system comes with everything that you need to set up a basic home theater. The basic components are speakers, a surround sound receiver, and either a DVD player or DVD/VCR combination. In many cases, the systems also include a DVD recorder as well. A remote control is also provided with the system to control all of the functions from one convenient place. Higher end systems can include fun extras such as 5 disc DVD players, XM satellite radio compatibility and satellite speakers.

The ease of use is another selling point for Home Theater in-a-Box systems. The majority of the connection cables come with the kit, making set up a breeze. All you do is read the instructions and connect the new equipment to your television. Most, if not all systems require a television with AV inputs and audio outputs.

For people who are concerned about the size of a home theater system, a Home Theater in-a-Box solves that problem as well. These systems are designed to be compact and not overwhelm your living space. The speakers and subwoofers are generally compact enough to be inconspicuously placed in your living room.

This convenience and ease of use of comes with a few disadvantages. If you are a video game console fan, you need to make sure that your new system's DVD receiver comes with enough auxiliary inputs to plug everything in. It would be a shame to have to reconnect your entire system in order to switch between movie watching and video game playing.

Secondly, your budget priced system may come with budget priced sound. Speakers are where manufacturers most often cut corners, so it is not uncommon for the speakers to be the first things replaced in a Home Theater in-a-box system. Be prepared to expect a little less quality than you would get if you purchased the speakers separately. This may the first component that you upgrade in your home theater system; especially considering movie quality sound is what most home theater enthusiasts are looking for. Your best bet is to try listening to the system you are considering in the store before making your final decision.

Another consideration is that if you and your family are avid music fans, the music quality through your Home Theater in-a-box system may not be up to par. Since the speakers and sound system in a Home Theater in-a-box system are designed for DVD sound quality, your favorite CDs and vinyl may not sound quite as rich on these speakers.

Keep in mind that most stores will let you return a system within a given period of time if the quality is not up to your liking. You can avoid this hassle by shopping carefully and spending time making your decision. A Home Theater in-a-box, like most big-ticket items, is not something to be purchased on a whim. Do your research wisely and know exactly which components are worth paying for, and what you can do without.

Due to the great prices and convenience available with Home Theater in-a-box systems, they are an excellent purchase to get your home theater up and running quickly and easily. The drawbacks can be avoided with careful planning and a little research

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