Elevate Your Movie Nights with These Affordable Home Theater Upgrades

If you’re a real movie aficionado, there’s a good chance that you have a viewing area set aside at home – and whether it’s a modest home theater setup or an elaborate one, you’re probably pretty proud of it. What’s more, there’s an equally good chance that you’re always on the hunt for some great home theater upgrades whenever you have a little extra money to spend. 

While a lot of your extra home theater money probably goes toward new content to watch – especially now that movies are beginning to come out in 4K and even 8K resolutions – it’s always a good idea to set aside some extra funds for upgrading your viewing environment as well. After all, enjoying a great movie night isn’t just about having the flashiest new releases with all of the extra content. Even watching an old VHS cassette can be a great experience if you’re watching it in a comfortable environment with people you love.

If you’re looking for some ways to elevate your movie nights without spending a lot of money, this is the article for you. These are the best affordable home theater upgrades that you should consider buying this year.

Refreshment Stand

One of the things that makes watching a movie so much fun is that it provides an excuse to enjoy some great snacks. There are plenty of people who’d rarely chomp on a box of candy or a big bag of buttery popcorn, but they’ll happily do so while watching a movie because that’s an expected part of the experience. 

While the people in your viewing group certainly won’t say no to bags of microwave popcorn, it doesn’t take a lot of money to upgrade that experience in a significant way. Try buying an assortment of popular boxed movie candies and setting up a display so your guests can help themselves. If there are smokers in your group, buy an assortment of disposable vapes from a company like V2 Cigs. That way, your guests won’t have to spend the evening outside smoking. If you have the space for a mini fridge with an assortment of soda and beer, that’s even better.


Watching a movie is primarily a visual experience, but you shouldn’t undervalue the auditory component. Nothing takes an emotional scene to new heights quite like a soaring orchestral soundtrack, and booming explosions can make watching an action film a much more visceral experience. If you’ve done any browsing at a local electronics store, though, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that good audio equipment is often extremely expensive. It would be great to own a top-quality audio setup, but the best surround systems are often so expensive that they’ll probably cost more than what you paid for your TV. Unless you’re investing significant money into your home theater setup, that might be a step too far. 

If you want to upgrade your home theater’s audio capabilities and don’t want to spend a lot of money, a soundbar is the perfect alternative to a full-blown surround system. The reason why most TVs are underwhelming in the audio department is because sound waves require space in which to develop. A TV doesn’t have sufficient room for substantial internal speakers. In fact, modern TVs have gotten so thin that they actually sound tinnier than ever. 

A soundbar is an array of speakers that you can place under your TV. A soundbar doesn’t require the complicated installation procedure of a full surround system. A soundbar is also much less expensive than a full surround system and doesn’t require a great deal of space. Most importantly, a soundbar will provide a dramatic upgrade in audio quality compared to your TV’s internal speakers. For even richer sound, you can pair a soundbar with a subwoofer without investing a great deal of additional money. 

Projector and Screen

Large TVs have become surprisingly affordable in recent years, so there’s a chance that you already have one. If you don’t, though – or you’d like to enjoy an even bigger image – consider buying a projector for your home theater instead. Although modern TVs are available with screen sizes of 75 inches and even greater, you’re not likely to find one with a 100-inch display – and that’s just the start of what you can accomplish with a projector. In terms of the money spent per inch of display space, a projector is still more affordable than a TV and can give you an experience that’s even more immersive.

A projector is essentially a box containing a tiny digital display, a powerful light and an array of lenses for focusing. The most popular options are lamp-based and laser-based projectors. Lamp-based projectors cost less, but they require periodic bulb replacement. You’ll want to buy a projector calibrated for the screen size that you want to use, and you’ll also want one matching the resolution of the content you want to view. As you might imagine, 4K projectors are more expensive than 1080p projectors.

When you view a projected image, it’s less fatiguing to the eyes compared to looking at a TV because the light source is behind you rather than in front of you. In addition, the fact that you’re looking at reflected light rather than direct light will help to make the image look more natural to you. Don’t forget that you’ll only get the best image quality from a projector if you pair it with a good screen. You can always use a white wall as a screen in a pinch, but the smoothness of a screen makes it much easier to see fine details.

Blackout Curtains

Regardless of whether your home theater uses a TV or a projector, it’s very important to control the ambient light in your viewing area if you want the image to look as good as it can. As you may have already learned, that’s very difficult to do if your home theater has windows. If you don’t want to wait for nighttime to watch movies, you need to get blackout curtains for your home theater.

If you’ve ever spent a night in a hotel, chances are that you’ve seen blackout curtains before because almost all hotel rooms have them. Blackout curtains consist of multiple layers of material, and that helps to ensure that almost no light gets through. With them, you can make your viewing area almost completely black, even during the day.

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