Believe it or not, Home Theater is roughly 80% sound and only 20% picture. In several A/B comparisons of two distinctly different Home Theater setups (a 19-inch televison with $5,000 worth of surround sound OR a 65-inch TV all by itself), the vast majority chose the smaller TV with surround speakers. Sadly, most people's Home Theater budgets reflect the opposite of these findings (20% sound ~ 80% picture).

Take the time to listen to your setup. You should be able to tell within a few seconds of playback if all of your surround perimeters are as you left them. If you spend enough time using your ears, you won't need a computerized SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter to setup your Home Theater.

If your speakers are similar (while receiving equal power), and your living room allows for proper placement so you can set all of your speaker volume's at "0 dB" and when your TV has been calbrated using ISF (or THX) test patterns, then you begin to own a true "REFERENCE SYSTEM". With the audio and video set to the consistant highest standards you can view movies EXACTLY the way the director intended. Then, if the picture and sound is lacking from your latest rental you'll know it's not your Home Theater's fault.

Don't take another's account (praise or dislike) of any piece of Home Theater equipment at face value. It shouldn't become FACT (one way or the other) in your mind until you've personally had a chance to demo said equipment yourself.

Even if you've been sold the "Top-of-the-line" Home Theater system, remember there's always something better out there. Even if you're completely satisfied with your setup, always keep up with the latest advancements in audio/video technology.

Most importantly, your Home Theater is NEVER complete. Read the owner's manuals and play with your equipment. There's always something you can "tweak" to continually push the audio/video quality just a tad bit further (and quite often at no additonal cost).