Shopping online can be a quick and easy way to make a purchase without having to deal with the hassles of crowds, lines and pushy salespeople. Purchasing home theater electronics, however, can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the products you seek. When looking for audio systems or other home theater equipment, it is important to have a basic understanding of what your needs are and how to determine what speaker, plasma TV or receiver is right for your home. Below are some ideas to help get you started in your search. Tributaries HDMI Accessories The Room Spend some quality time with your room. It is as much a component in your home theater system as any of the electronics you’ll buy. Your room’s acoustics and dimensions play an important role in determining the proper size of your home audio equipment and what your set-up options will be. Ask Yourself: In what room will my home theater be? Will the room exist solely for my system or will it be used for other activities like kid’s parties and other family gatherings? Given the dimensions of my room, are there any size considerations for the components and speakers I plan to use? Tip: If space is an issue, freestanding tower speakers take up little space while still providing big sound. Sleek in-wall speakers nicely complement a wall-mounted plasma screen and don’t require any sacrifice of space. The Reason Ruminate on the experience you desire before you ruminate on your budget. Home theater systems can be as different as the people who purchase them. Speakers designed to perfectly reproduce Beethoven may not be suitable to blare the hottest action-packed movie of the summer. Ask Yourself: Are you seeking a true jazz immersion when you turn on your audio system? Do you want to feel the energy and action in a blockbuster happen right in your living room? Get clear on what you want to experience when determining your budget. Tip: Having a smaller budget should not force you to sacrifice the performance and quality of your home theater system. Online manufacturers who sell direct to the customer are able to provide higher-performance products at more affordable prices. Read reviews and customer feedback to determine what retailer will give you the best bang for your buck. Research Your Choices The Internet is an incredibly immediate experience; spend a couple hours poking around on key sites and forums and you’ll know more than most people do. Trade and consumer magazines, friends, family and inquiring jaunts to the electronics store all bolster that valuable possession called customer leverage. Most importantly, don’t buy a thing at this point. Just fill your cranium with information that will empower you come purchase time. Review the Possibilities Whittle your home theater choices down to what you absolutely want this instant versus what you’re willing to add later on. Revisit the sketch of your room. Review your research. Ultimately you’ll end up with two, maybe three possibilities. You’re now in a very confident, very resilient place and will be able to make your decision with confidence. Deals, Promos and Values Keep your eyes peeled for values. Electronics superstores make promotions a daily ritual, online manufacturers can offer radically lower markup than retailers and web auctions offer access to deals worldwide. Rest assured: The values are out there. The trick is to know your stuff and be ready for them. Ask yourself: Is the product I want available elsewhere? If not, does the manufacturer have a good reputation for giving customers affordable products with exceptional performance? Tip: Be sure to consider the fine-print any online manufacturer offers. Money-back guarantees, return policies, risk-free home auditions and interest-free financing are just some of the offers online manufacturers may offer their customers. It’s important to understand these special offers in order to make the most of your purchase. Buying home theater electronics online can be nerve-racking because it is impossible to truly hear or see the product’s performance until you’ve made the purchase and it arrives at your door. Some online audio and video manufacturers offer unique in-home audition programs that allow you to “try out” your new products to determine if they’re a good match for your home before completely committing to the purchase. Such auditions can be very beneficial for those who are worried about getting the wrong piece of equipment and experiencing buyer’s remorse. Don’t forget: There are a lot of products and manufacturers out there, and YOU hold the power these days in the supply-demand equation. Don’t sell yourself short. Demand the highest level of service and the best pricing you can get, and settle for nothing less. You deserve it!