frugal

5 simple home luxuries for less

Sound system
Sound system © Keith Muratori/Shutterstock.com

Big, fancy houses often have elaborate screening rooms and intricate sound systems on which to play their movies and music. But you don't need to spend a fortune to get the most out of your TV and music collection.

One simple solution is a "home theater in a box," says David Berman, vice president and general manager at Stereo East Home Theater Design Studio in Frisco, Texas. The system provides five speakers, an amplifier and subwoofer for one room, starting at $299, though the better ones are generally around $1,000, he says. You can also plug your other tech items up to it, such as a Blu-ray player, stereo system or computer.

"It's very inexpensive for someone who's looking to get better sound than (their) TV is capable of," he says, noting that as televisions become flatter and thinner, there's no room for decent stereos inside.

If you want a full sound-system solution, talk to a specialist, says Berman. Get quotes on an entire system, not individual components. Then get pricing for the best available system, an inexpensive one that does the same thing but lower quality, and something in the middle, to see what fits your budget best.

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