Must-have electronics for your media room

May 1, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. ET

So you’ve stepped into the future and decided to build your own media room with plush seating, proper lighting and a comfortable atmosphere. Now all you need is the media. Here are the electronic media room must-have electronics to enhance your entertainment experience.

Media room with projection screen

1Surround sound

No, surround sound isn't a new technology, but there's a reason the sound-enhancing equipment has stuck around for so long. It's a simple premise -- instead of placing all of the sound directly in front, facing toward the audience, surround sound creates a more realistic sound experience by encircling the audience with speakers, each with its own individual purpose. Achieve movie-theater sound with a set, including a left speaker, right speaker, back speaker and bass. Action movies sound especially fantastic on surround sound. Listen to that plane going over the character's head in the movie like it was going over your own.

2Flat screen HD television

You'd be hard-pressed to find a new television in stores that isn't a flat screen, but selecting the right television for your needs is important. If you'll be watching plenty of movies, choose a television that's heavy on black contrast. The sharper and darker black looks on screen, the better the perceived picture quality. Also, look for a television with a USB plug-in. For the more tech-savvy, this plug-in will allow you to download music and movies on your computer and play them on your television.

3Blu-ray/DVD player

Movie technology is currently stuck in an awkward middle ground. Blu-ray picture is sharper and clearer than it is with DVDs, but DVDs are considerably cheaper to purchase and rent. Get the best of both worlds with a combination Blu-ray/DVD player and never be stuck without the technology to play the video your friends bring over.

4Projector and screen

Create your own movie theater with a projector and an accompanying screen. Projectors allow you to adjust the size of the picture, which you can expand for larger crowds. Though a screen isn't always necessary, a completely blank white wall is. If you don't want to give up decor for functionality, a projection screen is the way to go.

5Internet-enabled technology

Plenty of devices fall under the Internet-enabled category, and you might already have one of them. Blu-ray players are often equipped with Internet capability, which allows you to access streaming video on websites like Netflix, Blockbuster, Hulu and more. If your child has an Xbox 360, the technology is there, too. If you want to skip the middle man, opt for an Internet-enabled television while looking for that perfect new flat screen.

More tips for family media rooms

Best furniture for your movie room
How to decorate your movie room
How to set up a movie room on a budget