This article shows you how to choose, set up, and connect the TV, speakers, and receiver that make up a home theater system.


Find out what parts you need to buy. A typical home theater system has speakers, a receiver, some kind of video input (like a DVD player or a game console), and a TV. Take stock of what you already have before you go shopping for things like speakers and receivers.

Figure out where you want your home theater to be. It’s easy to buy too much equipment and then find out that your TV and/or speakers are too big for your living room. Before you buy any equipment, measure the room where you want to set up your home theater to get an idea of its size. Then, mark where you want to put the different parts of the home theater.

The TV

Choose a TV with a good picture. Resolution is one of the most important things you can do to improve the picture on your TV. The resolution is better when there are more pixels. This is why 2160p, which is also called “4K Ultra HD,” costs more than 1080p, which is also called “Full HD,” or 720p.

The Speakers

You could build your own surround sound system with 5 speakers, a receiver, and a subwoofer. If you want full control over your home theater system and the best sound, you might want to build it yourself. This is best for people who already have a few pieces, like a nice TV, speakers, or Blu-Ray player, but want to add more. You’ll need the following parts or components to do this.

The Receivers

A receiver connects all of your devices (such as speakers, video inputs, the TV, and so on) so that your TV doesn’t have to switch inputs to use the connected devices. Look for a receiver that can handle all of the inputs you want to use. Receivers come in many shapes and sizes. You’ll need one with enough audio and video (like HDMI) inputs to handle all of your connected devices, as well as at least one optical audio input for your speakers.

Make sure you buy a home theater receiver, not just an audio receiver. A home theater receiver can handle both video and audio.


Before you move on to the speakers, you should test and fix your video connection. You should have everything you need to test the video at this point. Turn on the TV, the receiver, and the media player. Press the “Video” or “Input” button on your TV until you find the correct HDMI input and switch to it. Your DVD player or smart component should show a picture.


Join your speakers to the receiver. This is usually the hardest part of setting up a home theater because every room has different needs and problems. Even though basic wiring is easy, it takes time and thought to hide the wires in a professional way. Speaker wire is made up of two wires—one red and one black—that are joined together. The wire connects the back of the speaker to the “Audio Output” ports on the receiver. Connect your speaker by connecting one wire to the red “input” on your speaker and the red “output” on your receiver. Do the same with the black wire.

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