Home Theatre Systems


One in five Australians now has some kind of home theatre set-up, whether it be widescreen, plasma or projector. Tara Dennis asked Nic Tatham, Editor of ‘Audio & Video Lifestyle’ about options for people who want that movie experience in the comfort of their own home.

Essential components

You’ll need a television, DVD player, receiver and speakers for your home theatre system. The TV should be large enough to view movies in a wide screen aspect ratio (27″ screen or greater). It is best to buy the latest plasma or Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions, which improve significantly with each upgrade. All DVD players can play CDs but few can play all types of CD and the sound quality varies, so it’s best to check before you buy. A dedicated receiver takes the audio signal and sends it to five or more speakers instead of the two used in stereo. For surround sound you’ll need a minimum of five speakers plus a sub-woofer for the bass. (Note: Before you go shopping it is really important to decide exactly where you will set up your home theatre system, as this will help you decide what type of system suits you best.)

Set-up options

If you want to use your existing television, you can buy what is known as Home Theatre in a Box (HTB). These all-in-one packages contain a DVD player, receiver and 5.1 speaker set-up. Home Theatre in a Box is best suited for either small living rooms or bedrooms, and costs from $1,000.

The alternative is to choose separate components, and in the massive home theatre market, the only limitation is budget. Separate component hi-fi can fill small, medium and even large rooms with good DVD quality playback for surround sound as well as good quality CD playback. A rear screen projector plus a mid-range home theatre system will cost from $5000, while a plasma screen TV and high-end home theatre system will set you back about $10,000.


The price range of home theatre varies from the cheapest options (Home Theatre in a Box) for a few hundred dollars, to extravagant systems that can cost $150,000 or more. It’s best to decide on an approximate budget that’s right for you, then look around at realistic options within that budget.

Further reading

For full details on home theatre systems and smart home living, see Sholto Macpherson’s special report in the September 2004 edition of the Burke’s Backyard Magazine. It is available from newsagents and supermarkets for $5.70.

Contact information

84 O’Riordan Street
Alexandria, NSW
Phone: (02) 8339 7000

Len Wallis Audio P/L
64 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove 2066
Phone: (02) 9427 6755
Web: www.lenwallisaudio.com.au

Switched On Living
108 Pittwater Rd, Gladesville 2111
Phone: (02) 9879 2100
Web: www.switchedonliving.com.au

Subsonic (manufacturer of Home Theatre loud speakers)
Duncan Best
Phone: (02) 4296 3366

Gabriele’s Audio Heaven
7/44 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9247 8655

Gabriele’s Audio Heaven specialise in home theatre and can offer in-your-home demonstrations of our full Subsonic range to insure an accurate audition without any tricks or acoustic enhancements.