You’ve decided on a theater system for your home. That’s exciting! Now you can watch great movies on a large screen with comfortable chairs and amazing sound, all put together to provide you with the best in-home movie experience possible. No doubt you’ve thought about all the particulars, such as how many of those big soft reclining chairs you’ll need and whether you’ll choose surround sound over conventional speakers. There’s a lot to consider for sure!

But are you also thinking about doing the wiring yourself? It’s a huge project, but many homeowners are determined to take on the task on their own, perhaps with a little help from a family member or friend who’s done some electrical work. Nonetheless, wiring for a home theater system is not a task for those who are unfamiliar with wiring basics or those who want to get the job done quickly. It takes patience and a bit of fortitude as well.

Do you know home theater wiring terminology?

If you’ve started to research the components you need for your home theater system, you’ve likely encountered words like interconnect, cable, and – of course – wire. You may be thinking that you’re familiar with all three terms, but it’s probably not as simple as you think.

  • Interconnect – An interconnect – in simple terms – is what joins together two audio-visual devices. So, this word could refer to the wire that joins the TV to the DVD player, for example. An HDMI cable is also an interconnect.
  • Cable and wire – These two terms are often used interchangeably and refer to something that sends audio signals from the amplifier to the speakers. There are many kinds of wires and cables involved in this kind of project, such as HDMI, DVI, S-video, component, axial, VGA/RGB, and more. If you’re going to do the set-up yourself, it’s probably a wise idea to familiarize yourself with these and other parts you may be using, such as adapters.

Things to consider before wiring your home theater system

If you’ve thought about doing this project yourself, you’ve hopefully done your due diligence before heading to a store or searching online for the components you’ll need. Aspects of the project that you’ll need to consider are:

  • The size of your space and how and where each piece will fit
  • The quality of the audio you’re planning and what it will take to achieve that quality
  • The number of speakers you need and how many you’ll be wiring them together
  • Whether or not you need to hide the wires

Given all of this pre-work, followed by the installation, be sure you are familiar with safety guidelines, which will help prevent temperature fluctuations or, worse, fires.

Also, have you planned your wiring in advance? You’ll need to do this, so drawing up a schematic of some sort is essential. You must also think about things such as the positioning of the screen and the theater chairs as well as the lighting and sound components.

Remember, while it’s fun to think about the size of the screen and how far back the chairs recline and if they have sufficient cup holders for your drinks, the wiring really is the most important part of the puzzle. Give yourself the time you need to do it correctly.

Leave it to the pros

Of course, another viable option is to hire an electrician to complete the job from start to finish. With the expertise of a professional on your side, you’ll not only save lots of time but also plenty of aggravation as well. Unless you’re an expert yourself, chances are this project will take a lot longer than you had planned. And because “time is money”, as the old adage goes, you’ll likely be a whole lot better off choosing to hire someone who can get it done right the first time around.

Electricians will tell you that they spend plenty of time either fixing or completing a project that a homeowner has begun, not realizing just how difficult that project might be. Wiring a home theater system is one of those jobs homeowners believe they can tackle but often can’t, simply due to the complexity of design and the intricacies of sound.

So, if you’re uncertain about any of the particulars of installation a home theater system, talk to a local electrician. You can still have plenty of say as to what is included and how the room will look, but you’ll do away with all the frustration involved in wiring the project on your own.