Most helpful positive review
184 of 189 people found the following review helpful
Don't let the title fool you, this is a great book
on June 16, 2003
I went out and got Home Theater for Everyone (Harley), Build Your Home Theater in a Weekend (Bruyn/Karabian), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Home Theater Systems (Miller), Use Your PC to Build An Incredible Home Theater System (Farkas and Govier), and Home Theater for Dummies (Briere and Hurley). (I've posted this review in each of the books).
There's a clear difference among these books, and approaches. In order, I would get these books:
1. (tie) Home Theater for Everyone; Home Theater for Dummies. This surprised me. I've heard a lot about Harley's book and it is great. It's getting dated though, and some stuff was simply way over my head for what I'm going to do with my home theater. But it's one of those books you have to read even if you don't understand a lot of it (and mind you, I've got seven computers in my house, a 100Meg LAN, multiple wireless systems, etc...I'm not scared of technical stuff.) It's not so much not understanding it, as much as it is that a lot of it while important to a magazine editor such as Harley, it's not something that you're going to use in putting in your home theater.
Home Theater for Dummies surprised me. I must say, I found it incredibly well researched, practical, and more homey and less academic than Harley's book. I think the title would keep a lot of the HT mags from reviewing it, thinking it beneath them. And the authors clearly know how to have fun (they have sections on how to create your own drive-in and another on bathroom theater.) They cover home theater PCs and Windows XP Media Center PCs, as well as wireless projectors -- so this is truly up to day at publication time because these are relatively new things. (Harley's book does not even mention HTPCs and gives relatively small coverage to personal video recorders (PVRs) which HT for Dummies covers well. I'd say just get this book, but no one would believe me.
3. User Your PC To Build An Incredible Home Theater System. This is a niche book for the techies that like to build their own PCs. Sort of like me :-) I found it knowledgeable and fun, but like I said, you would not buy this book to build a home theater.
4. The Complete Idiots Guide to Home Theater Systems. I liked this book's coverage of budgets and little facts in the book. However there was nothing on HTPCs, the pricing is already dated, and there was nothing in it not covered in Home Theater for Dummies. So if I have to choose between being a Dummy or an Idiot, I'd say I'm a Dummy.
5. Build Your Home Theater In A Weekend. This was basically a waste of money. It was a nice effort, but outclassed by the competition above. It's not worth a longer review.
If you are looking to put a home theater in your home, I'd recommend Harley and Briere/Hurley. Briere/Hurley also wrote Smart Homes for Dummies which they referenced in the HT book -- I'm getting that now, because it basically tells me how to extend my home theater all over the house. Since I spent a lot of money on my home theater, I'm betting, based on HT4Dummies, that their book is worth the $$$.
My two cents.