While your first thoughts about a complete home theater system are likely how great it will look when it's installed, it's just as important to choose the right home theater system. You can go with a complete system or choose individual components. An integrated system, regardless of whether or not it's purchased as a whole or not, is likely to include a television, speakers and various devices attached together to form a versatile entertainment setup. Get started by taking stock of what you already have. Make a list of everything you want to add. Once your list is made, you're left with three basic choices.

The first option is a complete home theater system right out of the box. This option is best if you're starting from scratch or you're not happy with anything you currently have in the room where your system will be located. A complete system typically includes a receiver, a DVD or Blu-ray player and speakers. Not every complete system is the same. Some have more speakers and other bells and whistles. The system you choose should be based on the size of the room where it will be used. For instance, a smaller system can be very effective in a small, cozy room. The only item you add is a TV.

The second option is to purchase a standalone receiver. You add your own speakers and TV. There's no point in going with a complete system when you already have your own specific sound requirements since you'll just end up with a bunch of unused equipment. A mix-and-match approach works best given these circumstances. Audiophiles tend to appreciate being able to add their own audio system to the mix without being tied down to whatever comes in the box with the rest of the system.

The final option is to opt for sound bars. This eliminates the need for a tangle of cables with equipment not likely to be used. A sound bar is great for playing music from various audio sources such as an MP3 player or off of a video source such as a TV or an Internet-connected device. Most sound bars are relatively inexpensive. A basic kit usually includes sounds bars that can be easily mounted on the wall. Each sound bar includes a built-in speaker and a wireless subwoofer. Each bar has connections to attach audio and video sources. The bars can be connected to your TV via a wireless connection with vacuum tube technology to provide a fuller sound.

Most standard system kits come with two front speakers and a subwoofer. You will also have the option of a wireless or wired connection. Wireless technology is much better than it was even just five years ago. The sound quality is about equal. Just remember that you will still need a power source for the speakers if you go wireless. Your final choice is between DVD and Blu-ray. Since you can play your old DVD discs on a Blu-ray player, it's a toss-up based solely on personal preference based on what video and sound quality you want. Enjoy your new home theater system.