A Projector and Screen
Let's face it: As big as they are, 60-inch plasma televisions just can't compare to the majesty of movie theater screens. If you're building a small home theater, perhaps a conventional HDTV is the right choice for you. But to make your home theater feel like a real movie theater, a projector and screen combination is probably the best choice. In general, you want a projector with a high contrast ratio for accurate colors, a bright bulb for a vibrant image and 1080p support for high-resolution video. Mount your home theater projector from the ceiling and pick out a screen suited to your room.
With a projector, you should be able to fill a screen that measures at least 8.3 feet (2.5 meters) diagonally. That's a huge jump over a big plasma or LCD HDTV and brings your home theater setup within the realm of the real theater. While you could shine a projector onto a blank wall, nothing beats the color reproduction or theater experience of a giant white screen hanging on your wall [source: CarltonBale.com]. The downside to a projector and screen combination is the challenge of lighting; keeping the room dark is key to preserving picture quality. We'll discuss how to perfect the home theater atmosphere and attain the perfect lighting conditions later.