How Much Does a Home Theater Cost?

The average cost of a home theater in the United States is between $2,000 and $33,000. This total includes the price of the system itself, installation and additional features like seating and lighting. The biggest cost variable is the modifications to the room, which may range from no changes at all to building a new room custom designed as a home theater. Labor costs also vary greatly by location.

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The specific technology that a home theater uses is always changing, but the basic components haven’t changed much. They still consist of a high-definition TV (HDTV), surround sound speakers and the equipment needed to reproduce audio and visual elements. The primary change with recent advances is the ability to access the desired material over the internet at the touch of a button.

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Average Home Theater Cost

Average Cost$17,500
High Cost$33,000
Low Cost$2,000

Home Theater Room Cost

Building a home theater room from scratch costs $290 per square foot on average, including electronics, seating and soundproofing. A typical room of 20 x 15-feet would therefore cost 20 x 15 x 290 = $87,000. This addition adds value to your home since offers activities such as watching movies, TV shows and playing video games.

Basement Home Theater Cost Estimate

The cost of remodeling a basement into a home theater ranges from $20,000 to $60,000, depending on the floor layout and materials used. Basements are the most expensive rooms to remodel because they aren’t finished, as other rooms in the house are. However, this improvement also provides a high return on investment (ROI) when you sell the house. Additional cost variables include the type of flooring and bathroom if any.

Home Movie Theater Extension Cost

You can also make a home theater by extending an existing room, which costs between $130 and $170 per square foot. The layout of the room has the greatest effect on the cost of extending it, with other variables including finish quality and materials used. Hire a local home theater builder to perform tasks such as laying foundations and building walls, along with specialized contractors to install plumbing and electrical fixtures. Additional tasks in extending room include flooring and interior design.

Home Theater Installation Cost

A true home theater consists much more than just a flat-screen TV mounted on a wall. Recreating the full movie-theater viewing experience at home also requires you to estimate the cost of surround sound speakers, dimmable lighting,and theater seats. You may also want sound bars and subwoofers, depending on your budget and the types of movies you want to watch. Additional features of a home theater include DVD and Blu-ray players, gaming systems and projector screens.

Home Theater System Price

Product or ServiceCost
Home Theater Setup$20-$90/hour
Home Theater Screen$250-$1,500
Basic Home Theater Cost and Installation$2,100+
Home Cinema Projector Price$1,500-$60,000
Projector Screen Installation$60-$80/hour
Receiver, Subwoofer and Amplifier$65-$95/hour
Wiring and Circuit Board Upgrades$400-$2,700

Home Theater Setup Cost

Installing a home theater requires many professionals, so labor costs vary according to specialty and location. A contractor who performs general labor like installing a TV mount costs between $60 and $90 per hour. Electricians charge $65 to $85 per hour to install and wire electronic devices, and plumbers charge $45 to $65 per hour for installing pipes and fixtures. Other typical rates include $70 per hour for carpenters and $20 to $35 per hour for painters.

In Home Movie Theater Sound System

The typical cost of a surround sound system for a home theater is between $240 and $1,020. The brand of the system and the number of rooms it includes are the primary cost variables. Other important decisions include wired vs. wireless speakers and integrated vs. mounted speakers.

Home Theater Screen

ScreenCost
4K 50” TV$250-$400
4K 50”-60” TV$800-$1,500

The price for a basic 4K 50” TV ranges between $250 and $400, although you should step up to the mid-range price models if you can. The price for mid-range 4K TVs is between $800 and $1,500, and their size is between 50” and 60”.

Basic Home Theater Cost and Installation

Assume for this example that you want a basic home theater. The typical equipment you need and their prices are as follows:

  • 60-inch TV and bracket: $900
  • Five box speakers and subwoofer: $500
  • Three HDMI cables: $30
  • Amplifier: $250

The total cost of home theater equipment in your area is $1,680. The labor cost would be about $400 to mount the TV, install the speakers and complete the electrical wiring.

Home Cinema Projector Price

ScreenCost
Low-end Front Projector$1,500
High-end Front Projector$10,000-$60,000

A front projector that costs $1,500 is a good starting place, and you shouldn’t pay any less than this. High-end projectors start at $10,000 and have a lot more features if you can afford it. Projectors that cost $60,000 or more have additional features like 4K resolution, widescreen format and video processing capability.

Cost to Install a Projector Screen

This example of installation costs is for a home theater with all additional components, including a projector that costs $1,500 and a bracket that costs $600. The labor cost of a home theater installation ranges from $60 per hour to $80 per hour, depending on the project’s complexity. The installation time largely depends on the type of projector screen. Freestanding projector screens don't require installation, whereas screens that are mounted to a ceiling or wall must be a specific distance from the projector.

The amount of time required to install a projection screen also depends on whether the cables need to be built into the wall. If they do, installation could take 5 to 6 hours; otherwise, it shouldn’t take more than 2 hours.

Home Theater Receiver, Subwoofer & Amplifier

You should pay at least $200 for an AV receiver, even if you’re on a budget. However, a fully control center for your home theater will cost between $500 and $2,000 if you can afford it. A high-quality subwoofer that’s ideal for a typical home theater should cost less than $500, and an amplifier should cost at least $500.

Home Theater Wiring & Circuit Board Upgrades

Electrical work for a home theater typically costs between $65 and $95 per hour, which includes pre-wiring and wiring tasks for the projector, speakers, lighting and outlets. A licensed electrician will also ensure the wiring is up to code. Electricians may also charge a fixed price for a project, starting from $400 for a small system with a 60” TV that only requires wiring in one room. At the high end, a project with a projector and screen that requires wiring throughout the home would cost $2,700.

Cost to Build a Media Room

A media room is a more general purpose room than a home theater. While a media room does allow you to watch movies and listen to music, it can also serve as a family room and living room. The AV performance of a media room can approach that of a dedicated home theater, but it’s more likely that the design will need to make compromises.

The cost of media room features are as follows:

Media Room Costs
FeatureCost
Seating$800-$2,000
Acoustic Treatments$500+/panel
Carpeting$2-$11/square foot
Recessed Lighting$100-$200

Seating

The seats in a home theater system should cost at least $800 if you want to ensure the padding won’t give out after a couple of years. Really good seats start at about $2,000.

Acoustic Treatments

Acoustic panels that can noticeably improve the sound of a home theater room start at about $500 each. The total material cost of acoustic paneling for an entire room ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on how far you want to take it.

Carpeting and Other Flooring

The carpeting for a home theater room costs about $2 per square foot with installation, depending on the size and type of fibers. It also provides additional sound proofing, which is especially beneficial for home theaters that are above ground level. Other options like laminate flooring cost between $7 and $11 per square foot.

Recessed Lighting

The cost of installing recessed lighting is usually between $100 and $200 per light, although it will be more if there are obstacles in the ceiling like heating ducts or joists. Recessed lighting causes all of the light to be directed downwards towards a specific target, instead of emitting it in all directions.

Additional Features

Additional features for a home theater include cinema seating, refrigerator, pool table and popcorn machine. Acoustic tiles can help soundproof the room, so a screening doesn’t disturb the rest of the household. A second kitchen with a cooking area, cabinets and countertops will allow you to prepare meals without having to travel back and forth to the main kitchen.

DIY Mini Theater vs. Hiring a Professional Home Theater Installer

Much of the basic work of installing a home theater doesn’t require any particular expertise, including moving equipment and plugging in cables. Installing electrical wiring will require an electrician to ensure the wiring is up to code, especially if you want cables to run inside the walls where they’ll be out of the way. You’ll also need an acoustic expert to determine the best placement for the speakers.

FAQ

What sound system do I need?

Even the most basic sound system should have 5.1 surround sound. This configuration consists of left, right and center speakers in the front, with left and right speakers in the rear. It also includes a subwoofer.

Does a home theater add value?

A room that you have permanently remodeled as a home theater will add value to your home. The equipment itself won’t add value since it will go with you when you sell the house.

What brand is best for a home theater system?

As of 2020, some of the most popular brands for home theater equipment include KLH if you’re on a budget. Klipsch and Marantz equipment is highly popular at the high end, especially for audiophiles.

How can I build a low price home theater?

Build your own home theater yourself if you’re on a budget. Buy components separately when they come on sale, instead of buying a complete kit. The TV and DVD/Blu-Ray player should be the same brand as the TV if possible to ensure you can use all of the player’s features.

Where can I get the best price on a home theater system?

Get the best prices on home theater equipment by watching for sales. Retail stores often sell electronic equipment at a substantial discount when the next models come out because they need the floor space.