The first and best place to turn for help with a home theater is a qualified home-systems installer. This professional carries audio/video gear and will install it as a subcontractor. Experienced in the home building process, a home-systems installer can configure a custom theater for each home or can create a standard package. Installers affiliated with the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association or the national ConnectHome dealer network are experienced in all aspects of audio/video design. Naturally, economies of scale kick in when you buy several systems from one contractor. Owens Corning now offers not only insulation materials, but complete home theater packages. Its Visonaire FX package, for example, comes with a video projection system, a video screen, Dolby Digital surround sound, chairs, speaker columns, acoustical panels, lighting, and more. It's sold to fit in several different room sizes.

Big-name retailers, too, are helping home builders by selling and installing audio/video systems. Sears, Best Buy, and Tweeter now offer professional installation services. These stores serve as design centers where home buyers can select a home theater system and arrange to have it installed. But building the room is still up to you.

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