The short answer is yes, you can build your own DIY home theater! But it isn't a small undertaking. You need to plan, plan and plan some more. And then it's going to take some hard work.
Because it's such a complex undertaking, we've come up with this list of hints and tips. And at the end, we've summed everything up with a little advice. Read on to find out everything you need to know about putting together your own DIY home theater!
Planning your home theater is the most important step. It's the step you should spend the longest on. So our first piece of advice is that you should never, ever skimp on the planning (either when putting together your DIY home theater, or doing any home improvements).
The first decision you'll have to make is where to have your home theater. Next, you have to figure out where the wiring will run. Then you have to plan exactly what equipment you're going to want, and where it's going to go. That all sounds very simple, but it's anything but; there are so many choices these days for surround sound systems, and of course furniture and style.
The sheer magnitude of planning you'll have to do is why most people go with a professional. As electrical engineers, we spend a lot of time and money installing home theater systems, so we like to think we know what we're doing! If you're going to go it alone, you have to allow for the fact that it's more difficult than it looks.
Before you start actually installing your home theater, do a dress rehearsal. If you're not sure exactly how to do that, it's simple: set out all of the furniture, all of the equipment and all of the lighting (if possible) to see realistically what your home theater will look like. You might surprise yourself and find out that you don't actually have enough room. Or, that you would prefer to put out the surround sound speakers somewhere else.
There's nothing wrong with changing your plans around at this stage- that's why you should always do a dress rehearsal. In fact, it's not just possible but probable that you'll make adjustments to the wiring setup, the equipment and the layout of your room at this point. Just bear in mind that you might have to put aside yet more time for your project, both because of the additional planning, and potentially the additional orders you'll have to put in.
The last thing you should do is rush the installation of your home theater. If it's a weekend project, don't set an arbitrary limit of time- say, eight weeks- because projects overrun. Maybe you need a part that you didn't realise you did. Or maybe you cut a cable in half by accident, and have to send off for a replacement. Accidents are always inches away from happening on jobs like these!
The same applies if you're taking time off work to work on your project. You might be tempted to work day and night to finish your work in a week's paid holiday. But if you do that, do you really think you're doing the best job you possibly could? And if you knew that a professional electrician was rushing through the job you were paying them to do, would you be happy?
Of course you wouldn't be happy! So apply the same rules to yourself: give yourself enough time, as long as it takes, to complete your project.
If you give yourself enough time, wiring is likely to take up a large portion of it. You have two options for wiring: if you're fully renovating the room, the best method is to hang the wiring inside the wall. That way, you'll be left with the amazing aesthetic effect of hidden wiring! But if you're not going that far, think about alternative methods like a cable tidy. If you hire a professional, we can completely renovate the room, install insulation to muffle the sounds escaping from the room, and hide the wiring almost completely. Like we said, it's a bigger job than it seems!
When you're wiring, keep to the hints and tips you can find for wiring anything. Mark every single wire, so you know exactly what it is when it's tangle with the other wires. Make sure you pick cables that are too long for the job you need them for, so you never pull them too tight. This is something you have to address during your planning stage, and if your cables are too short when you go through your dry run then you'll have to order more. But it's worth doing right, and doing right first time, because once you're done with your project it's best if it stays done!
Through all the long days, and maybe long nights, remember this: it isn't easy now, but once you're finished, it'll all be worth it. You're likely to stress out by working on a large scale project like this, and there are guaranteed to be unforeseeable hitches. You might feel that you take one step forward and two steps back as you encounter roadblocks to realising your dream. But don't give up!
The good thing is that if you hit a hitch that you just can't overcome, you can always bring in the expert. Electrical engineers pick up the pieces of abandoned projects all the time, so it's nothing we're uncomfortable with. All that matters in the end is that you're happy with your home theater, so if it gets to the point where you're dreading coming home to be confronted by your unfinished project, call in the experts.
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Lanny was awesome. I got a quote for a job from Wirenut for some electrical work, and Lanny came in at a third of the price. He knows what he’s doing and was great. Definitely keeping him on our list.
Professional service paired with quality workmanship for a reasonable price. We highly recommend Lanny for any electrical needs that you may have. Wire Works installed a whole house surge protector, a 5 speaker surround system and a number of outdoor lights along with an outdoor television. Great work! Got exactly what we needed without the oversell pitch.
I hired Wire Works Co Inc. to upgrade the 100 amp service panel in my garage to 200 amps. They had to replace the meter box on the outside as part of the job. I also asked for a 240v outlet in the garage and a dedicated circuit run to the over the range microwave in the kitchen. Their price was spot on fair and the work was done on time, as agreed and professional all the way. I was glad to give Wire Works Co Inc. my money. I got every penny I paid for! Thanks Lanny and Corbin!
Lanny came highly recommended for the work that he does and he did not disappoint! I can honestly say that he is in the Top 1% of contractors I have ever dealt with. Very friendly, courteous, knowledgeable, and laid back. He and his son helped me with mounting my TV and even fixed another completely separate electrical issue I had. I was extremely satisfied with their work and their overall helpfulness in completing my project. He was very prompt in returning my correspondence and was spot on in the estimate he gave me. If I ever have electrical issues in the future you can guarantee I'll be turning to him. Thanks again Lanny! The setup looks great and everything works perfectly!!!
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Lanny did a great job! When 2 other vendors said it couldn't be done, Lanny proved them wrong - he exceeded our expectations.The process was great. On our first meet, Lanny toured our property and heard our requests. He followed up with a proposal that met all of them plus. The actual work he did was phenomenal - nothing but raves from family and friends who have looked and listened to our system.
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We picked this company because of all the great reviews. He was kind enough to look at several issues we were having at our new home. Prompt, respectful. Felt completely comfortable having him in our home. Initially came to set up our sound system, but plan on using him to install our lights and ceiling fans.
Lanny did an amazing job and had zero problem diving into mounting TVs on our rock fireplaces, a job we had multiple people deny. He's the only electrician we will use from now on.
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After calling around, We decided to go with Lanny and the team at wire works for our whole-house remodel. Wire Works was able to skillfully accomplish not only the initial scope of work (New electrical throughout, distributed audio/video/internet) but also the hurdles we encountered as we got deeper in to the project. I especially appreciated that I felt like I could trust Lanny, and that when I asked him a question he gave me a straight-forward, unbiased answer. We would definitely use Wire Works again.
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Well, planned. Quick, clean, professional. Will definitely continue to use.
This is the second time we have had Lanny out to the house. He has now put in a total of 21 canister lights for us. He is very prompt, efficient and professional. I wish all contractors were as good as Wire Works. I will definitely recommend Lanny to my friends and will call on him again should the need arise. Great work Lanny, thank you.
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My wife loves to watch movies and, therefore, I decided to surprise her with a nice home theater. My son asked me to contact Wire Works and I was so impressed with their quickness and quality of work. Home theater installation was done in less than a day and without making unsightly holes in the walls. She loved the surprise, thank you Wire Works
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About a year ago I did research on electricians who specialize in home lighting. I found myself returning several times to Wire Works website. I finally called Lanny to come out and talk with us about remodeling our ceiling lights in the lower level. I found him easy to talk with, open to listening to our ideas, and offering creative solutions to meet our needs. Lanny finished the project on time and for less than he estimated. Beyond his professionalism and expertise as a Master Electrician, Lanny also treated our house as he would his own. He cleaned up the area each day before he left. I am glad we chose Wire Works and we look forward to more projects with Lanny in the future.
Wire Works--Lanny Woods as it is personified--does professional, reliable and timely work which he guarantees and backs up with personal commitment. Mr. Woods serves his clients not only with scheduled, "planned" work and service, but aids his clients in emergency cases when immediate action is required. I cannot imagine higher quality work or service, or for that matter, better satisfaction with regards to that work and service.
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This company is very Trustworthy, Knowledgeable, Detail oriented. Have used them for many projects, from lighting, sound, and technical support. The work is done in a quick and efficient manner. Nice to be able to trust someone these days! Thanks Good work.