Movies are making their way to home screens in a shorter period of time these days, making creating a home theater that can compete with the Cineplex down the street tempting. The good news is: You are no longer beholden to a challenging set up and difficult installation.
Designing and setting up your home theater is no longer a seemingly impossible task. Simply add a larger television, a decent sound system, and a good collection of media to create an entertainment space that you can be proud of.
Follow these ten easy tips and get your home theater ready for the viewing experience you have dreamed of.
Tip 1: Secure the Best View
Designing a movie theater requires an engineering degree. Fortunately, the mathematics behind home theater design is much easier. Some very smart people have done the hard work and provided a simple equation to help you decide how far to sit from your screen.
The ideal distance from the screen is determined by multiplying the size of your screen (55-inches) and 2. In this case, you would want your best seats to be around 110-inches away (just over nine feet).
This formula can also help you decide how large of a screen to buy. Rather than trying to squeeze an enormous screen in a tiny room, do the math in reverse to make sure you will not be caught sitting too close to enjoy the show!
Tip 2: Every Room Deserves Good Sound
Home theaters come in many shapes and sizes. The beauty of modern technology is that it allows even smaller rooms to be used as media viewing meccas. Many people shy away from sound systems in small spaces because they can be overwhelming. There is a solution: The sound bar.
A sound bar is a slender set of smaller speakers enclosed in a sleek package that can fit right under your television screen. Some can be used as a base for the television, depending on their size. Sound bars provide high-quality sound without taking up too much space in a smaller home theater.
Tip 3: Let the Walls Rumble
If you want more oomph from your sound system, consider adding a subwoofer to your audio package. These large speakers are designed to provide that floor and wall shaking rumble you hear at the real movie theater.
If you decide a subwoofer is what you want, make sure to install it on the floor and next to a wall. If you put it in some form of furniture to hide it, the bass will simply rattle the cabinet into oblivion. Let your subwoofer hang out in the open, preferably against a wall (maybe not one you share with your neighbor).
Tip 4: Camouflage Your Speakers
There was a time that speakers came in enormous wood cabinets that took up tons of space. Then, sound systems involved into stand-based speakers. Now, you can buy tiny speakers that produce massive sound.
Rather than cluttering your home theater with floor stands or cabinets, hide these smaller options amongst bookshelves or built-ins. This will provide all the great sound you expect and keep your home theater looking great.
Tip 5: Get Out the Drill
Most people installing a home theater decide on the whole surround sound package. This is understandable as it provides the best, most realistic quality. A surround sound system requires the use of six speakers – right, center, left, a subwoofer for that intense bass, and two speakers in the rear of the room.
It can be difficult to add speakers to the rear of the seating area because, in many cases, the seating is pushed back against a wall or is close enough that putting speakers there is impossible.
Get out the drill and install a DIY wall mount for those all-important rear channel speakers! Aim for somewhere near the ceiling towards the corners of the back of the room.
Tip 6: Plan Ahead For 3D Viewing
3D viewing requires some prior planning to ensure you can enjoy the full three-dimensional experience. Most 3D screens and content require looking directly at the screen. This means laying back in a Lazy Boy or slouching down in the couch are off limits.
If you are intent on finding a 3D display, purchase furniture that encourages sitting upright rather than lounging. This will keep the 3D effects from looking “weird”. Just think of 3D content as good for your back!
Tip 7: Plug It in First
It is tempting to want to arrange all your furniture, hang the TV, and install all the speakers before turning on the power. However, it may behoove you to put the television where you think it should go and plug it in before drilling any holes in the walls.
Not every television is friendly to all angles. Just like us, some TVs have a “good” side. Turn the TV on first to check and make sure there are no bad views. This will allow you to make adjustments without having to do much work.
Tip 8: The Sun Always Rises
The wise idiom, “The sun always rises in the morning,” is true and plays an important role in setting up your home theater. Why? There is no worse feeling than realizing that the 6:00 PM sun provides an intolerable glare off your television screen.
Lamps and other forms of electric lighting are easy to manipulate but the sun always rises and maintains similar angles throughout the year. Plan on positioning your TV in such a way that it does not receive sun or consider buying curtains that can blackout the rays entirely.
Tip 9: Take Advantage of All Your Space
Previous tips have warned about bad angles and sun glare. If you prefer not to deal with these issues at all, look into a curved television screen. These screens are also ideal for rooms with furniture positioned at varying angles like an L-shaped couch.
Tip 10: Go In With a Plan
The excitement of installing a new home theater can make even the most rational shoppers lose sight of their budgets. It is important to go into the process with a plan. Using these tips will help by letting you avoid purchasing oversized screens, a sound system that is too powerful for your room, or unnecessary brackets and hangers.
If you need help with the process, there are plenty of companies that will help you determine what suits your needs and wants while staying in your budget. Take these ten tips and get started building the home theater you have always dreamed of!