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December 19, 2012

Home theaters coming to a room near you

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

With Christmas and the Super Bowl approaching, some metro Detroit retailers say they are offering a coming attraction that shoppers won’t want to miss: the option of setting up and owning a home theater.

Dan Paulson, store manager at Paulson’s Audio & Video in Farmington Hills, said the home theater market has continued to do well. He attributed the trend to lowered equipment prices and the appeal of an activity that enthusiasts can enjoy all year.

Sharing a movie experience among friends and family at home is another selling point, he said, adding that a trip to the theater can be expensive these days.

“You’re talking about 100 bucks for a family of four to see a movie with the cost of popcorn and tickets and drinks,” he said.

Paulson said home theater systems could vary in scope, from TV and surround sound to lower-level dedicated theaters. He said a more common setup is a media area in a basement that coexists with a pool table and a poker table.

Seating options also abound in some home theaters, with seats that may recline or be motorized, he said.

For people who prefer projector systems instead of television sets for their viewing pleasure, Paulson said technology has improved to the point where they can have a “beautiful picture, even with some lights on.”

Projectors can offer a picture ranging from 92 inches to a 10-foot screen, Paulson said. He strongly encouraged getting a 1080p projector that, these days, can be used to watch Blu-ray films and play video games.

“You can use anything you like on these projectors now,” he said.

Bill Derrick, president and owner of NBS TV Home Theater in St. Clair Shores, said home theaters have become affordable, to the point where the average consumer doesn’t need to spend thousands of dollars on them.

He said both plasma and LED high-definition TV screens are popular — especially among brands like Samsung, Sony, Sharp and Panasonic.

Five years ago, the average television screen might have been 40 inches, whereas today it’s more like 55 inches, Derrick said. Top brands sell multiple models that span from 60 to even 90 inches. And TVs have become thinner with smaller bezels.

“Prices on TVs are lower than they ever have been in the history of TVs,” he said.

Sound is a crucial part of the home-theater experience, and sound bars are one way to spread the sound around. Prices range from $149-$599, and some have subwoofers, he said.

“It’s like an entry-level way to enhance your sound in the TV,” he said. “You can mount it on a wall below the TV. You can put it on a shelf.”

Derrick said it’s important to buy a quality audio-video surround sound receiver, the component that connects various parts of the home theater system. An AV receiver is used to amplify sound and provide surround audio for multiple speakers, he said.

Paulson’s Audio & Video, located at 37670 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills, may be reached at www.paulsonsav.com or at (248) 553-4100. NBS TV Home Theater, located at 21815 Greater Mack Ave., in St. Clair Shores, may be reached at (586) 772-9333 or at nbstv@sbcglobal.net.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.