From overpriced concessions to noisy crowds, the annoyances of going to a theater can drown out the joys of watching a movie. You don’t have to put up with the hassles of movie theaters to enjoy an immersive cinematic experience, however. You can create a luxurious theater room within your own home.
Selecting the Right Room
The right room will make your home theater a success. Select a room with as few windows as possible. Incoming sunlight can interfere with your picture quality, washing out colors and creating an uneven contrast across the screen. Additionally, try to select a room with a simple rectangular shape; this will make it easier to balance the acoustics of your sound system.
Modify the Room
Having selected the best room for your home theater, you’ll need to begin modifying the room to suit its new role.
- If the room has windows, install thick drapes to cover them.
- Paint the walls a dark color, such as blue, to reduce glare.
- Install sound-dampening equipment. Depending on your technical abilities, this can be as simple as hanging acoustic panels or as complex as insulating the walls with specialized materials.
Before installing any theater equipment, hire an electrician to evaluate the electricity supply to the room. You’ll need to upgrade the room’s wiring if the existing electrical connections are not strong enough to support your home theater’s energy needs.
Research Your Equipment
Home theater equipment is expensive, and purchasing the wrong piece of equipment can set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Before you go shopping, research the different brands and types of technology you might want to use. Take the time to educate yourself about the different technical specifications that manufacturers publish. if you don’t know what a contrast ratio is or why it matters, you’re more likely to make a mistake when purchasing equipment.
Projector or Television?
After preparing the room, you’ll need to decide whether you want to build your room around a flat-screen television or a projector. Flat-screen televisions work better for multipurpose rooms; if you plan on playing video games in your home theater room, for example, you’re probably better off with a flat-screen television. Additionally, flat-screen televisions are more forgiving of ambient light levels.
Projectors offer the possibility of sharper pictures and larger screen sizes. While 80 inches is the practical screen-size limit for most flat-screen televisions, projector screens can be 120 inches or even bigger. However, ambient light will wash out the picture of a projector. Also, projectors do not have any type of built-in sound system; you will have to invest in a receiver to play any sound, but for the best home theater experience you should do that anyhow.
The audio performance of your home theater is crucial to the experience that most cinephiles crave. Multi-channel sound systems are an absolute necessity for a home theater; at the minimum, you should invest in a 5.1 surround-sound system. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your speakers in the optimum location; if you’re not certain about where to install your speakers, hire a professional.
Install each piece of equipment separately. Test each piece of equipment as you go; if you run into a problem while installing, you’ll be able to isolate the cause of the problem faster. Many home owners opt to install most of the equipment, such as the cable box or the sound receiver, out of sight. Some people repurpose a closet to hold the equipment, and others build a false wall to hide the equipment. Be sure to invest in plenty of remotes; if you have to manually adjust each setting, you’ll ruin your cinematic experience.
After installing your equipment and ensuring that your new home theater is working the way you want it to, it’s time to install quality seating to complete your home theater. Many furniture retailers now offer luxury stadium-style seats. Install the seats about twice the distance from the screen as the screen is large; if you have a 72-inch screen, install the seats 144 inches from the screen. If you must include extra rows of seats, elevate each row of seats about 6 inches from the row in front of it.
Once your seating is installed, your home theater is finished. Although you may wish to add additional items and decor, such as movie posters or a popcorn machine, you’ll be able to start enjoying your new home theater.