How much is Too Much?
The question that many consumers or would be consumers of home theater or surround sound systems must ask themselves is how much should I spend on a home theater system. The problem with that question is that there isn't an answer that is appropriate for every potential buyer. While there are many who honestly and firmly believe that if you are making the investment in your home and the entertainment value within your home you should really consider how much time you spend there and how much value a system such as this will actually add to your perception of the time you spend in your home. I did tell you that there really isn't a simple answer.
The long and short of it is that you only need to find a system that you believe will enhance your perceived value of your movie viewing, television viewing, music listening, or game playing experience. I say start at the low end of the spectrum and listen to the various systems and devices on the market until you find one that you feel will be a vast improvement over your current situation and that should be the system that satisfies you. Do not move up in price range once you've found a system you like or you will wind up spending more money than you could have spent and been just as content.
I was once a true believe in the philosophy that everyone should buy the high-end equipment and that name brands were important. The truth of the matter is that there is a level of quality that is often paid for but it is noticeable to me only if I have heard better than what I am hearing. This means that I am perfectly content with the system I choose as long as I do not encounter something better. I guess it's kind of like dessert. I'm content with my chocolate cake until I see someone walking by with chocolate truffle cake with raspberry sauce and ice cream on the side. It made my chocolate cake look a little less fulfilling if you know what I mean.
We often experience this problem with electronics. There is always going to be some fantastic system just beyond our reach. I say make the investments where it matters (in surround sound systems this would be the speakers) and find contentment with the knowledge that the sound you are purchasing is a vast improvement over the sound you had before. On the other hand if only the best of the best will do for you, you can easily pay well in excess of $50,000 for a very high end home theater and surround system in your home (plus the price of installation of course).
There will always be those who are willing to spend more and those who haven't enough to spare. We live in a world of the haves and have not's the good news is that even if you aren't one of the few privileged 'haves' there is probably a decent surround sound system in your price range if you are willing to take the time to really look for one and make the effort to save your pennies, nickels, and dimes in order to get one once you've found it. Those things in life that are really worth having are those that are worth making sacrifices in order to receive. How much is too much? More than you are willing to pay.