Top 10 Home Theater New Year’s Resolutions

1. Fix it or maximize what you already own

You put your hard earned money and time into your home entertainment system. Don't you want the best picture and sound quality possible from your investment? A professional video calibration is an excellent first step, as it will noticeably improve your display’s picture quality.Also, I recommend having an installer look over your existing home theater wiring. Why? Too often while looking over a new customers existing system, I discover they are using the lowest quality (composite) video connection possible. The second I connect their live HDTV satellite box to their display using an HDMI cable, their jaw drops from the 720p image clarity.

2. Tame your home theater system wire mess

Doing so may be the difference between high performance and no performance. Too often the wiring is such a mess that when you go to remove one piece of equipment for repair, unintentionally you disconnect another piece of gear in your theater system. Also, trying to plug a new piece of gear in can be quite frustrating when you cannot see what you are doing. In the long run, a great deal of time and money will be saved if you have your home theater wiring neatly zip-tied and organized.

3. Go whole house with your digital music collection

The great news is that you more than likely already have a digital music collection in the form of iTunes on your PC or Mac. What makes iTunes on a computer powerful is when it is paired up with a whole house audio speaker system. Every time I complete an installation of a whole house speaker system, the customer will say it has brought them even more joy than they had ever thought possible. There are makers of whole house music systems that send your music over a standard wired and wireless networked home such as Sonos. Other high-end music server systems like Audio ReQuest, allow you to listen to your home music collection when you are away from home by streaming your music over the internet.

4. Get the advice of a professional for any home theater system installation

If your goal is for home theater to be your hobby, you can have fun with it. However, it is likely to be an expensive hobby through a process of trial and error. If your goal is to relax and enjoy the entertainment experience, enlist the help of a home theater professional. Home theater professionals have the advantage of decades of accumulated knowledge, on-the-job installation experience, and certified training.v.

5. Get a single universal remote to control everything and stop using five remotes just to turn on your favorite HDTV show

A single remote that controls everything may be the single most important purchase you make apart from choosing the right home theater display. The cost of an entry-level handheld remote is no more than an entry level DVD player, and the benefits are tremendous. It will allow you to Control your entire system throughout the home with a single remote. You will never again have to aim your remote at the equipment, or try and remember several different input selections for each playback source device.

6. Protect your high-end home theater devices with a power conditioner with surge protection

I can't tell you how many times I have seen a very high-end system break down simply because all the source devices plug directly into a standard wall outlet. If you have several grand invested in good equipment, you owe it to yourself to keep it in good working order by having it plugged into a quality surge protector.

7. Add some home theater automation - Controlled lighting, HVAC, and security with a home automation system

There are now so many well priced scalable home automation systems that there really is no excuse to not get your feet wet. You can start with some lighting control and add on other control later down the road. For example, using a z-wave light switch in your home theater room is a great start. As long as your remote can control z-wave devices, lighting control can be set up in minutes.

8. Put together a single page system operation reference sheet for family and friends

Although operations of your remote may be familiar to you, it is always a good idea to have a remote operations reference single sheet around for family and friends. It will prevent them from getting irritated with operations and shaking their arms up and down, only to realize they just shook up the innards of your brand new touch screen remote in the process.

9. Stop putting off acquiring your very own home theater system

Don't be a victim to the all or nothing approach to life. Start putting together the essentials of your home theater system today, and start enjoying your music collection right away. I recommend starting out with a pair of quality floor standing speakers and an integrated receiver to get you started with high quality music playback. Then when you are ready, purchase a projector or flat panel display and the remaining speakers to give you a complete 5.1 sound system.

10. Stop paying late fees, driving all over town to drop off or mail back rented movies, and start streaming HD movies today!

For around a hundred dollars you can purchase the Roku XL HD streaming unit and start watching movies wirelessly on your large flat panel. I finally purchased one of these with a Netflix streaming subscription, and I must admit this is a very impressive way to choose from cover art hundreds of movies to instantly watch in HD. Simply, amazing!