With the cost of regular cinemas and general going out sky rocketing, many people are turning to a home theatre experience as an alternative option. Having a dedicated theatre room in the house is a big step, but if you are a film buff or want to get the most out of your leisure time, a dedicated viewing area might be just the thing. The objective of home theatre is to get quality sound and imaging that is as good as or better than the commercial cinema, without the queues, uncomfortable seats and distracting audiences.
Uses for home theatre systems include:
– Making a movie night as good as the red carpet
– Making a regular film a 3D, surround sound experience
– Sport watching becomes better than the real thing, with clearer sound and better visuals
– Turn a holiday slide shows into a multi-media experience
– Kids enjoy educational programs in full colour with awe inspiring sound
– Watch the line between gaming and reality blur as you immerse yourself in amazing realism with the latest video games
There are many different options when it comes to creating a home theatre system.
Source components ‚Äì to enjoy the theatre experience to the max, ensure that all your media can connect with the least amount of fuss possible. Potential source components include:
– Blue-Ray player
– Apple TV
– Media server
– Playstation 3
– Laser disk or DVD players
Surround Sound Receiver / Processor ‚Äì these boxes collate all the incoming signals, process the audio and video and control volume.
Amplifier ‚Äì this item takes the audio signal from the surround sound processor and amplify it to the listening level required.
Speaker options ‚Äì surround sound is the most popular choice for home theaters.
Displays (screens) ‚Äì the technology for screens has come a long way in the last few years, and prices for even the largest screens are very reasonable. When creating a home theater set up, your screen will most likely be the least expensive component, however when it comes to projection quality the sky is the limit. It used to be a simple case of selecting a projector, however more and more customers are ordering the large scale LCD or Plasma panels ‚Äì which are available from the 70 inch standard TV right up to 152 inches and getting bigger each year. The ultimate option is a 2.35:1 projection system which offers the ‚Äòtrue‚Äô wide screen experience of being at a cinema. All other screens will be top and tailed with black bars. The more advanced 2.35:1 projection system should also include an additional constant image height leans and side masking screen which allows for any aspect ratio to be catered to, from old black and white movies right through to current wide screen blockbusters.
Acoustics – Acoustic treatment for the room is generally incorporated into the design to ensure room modes and resonate frequencies are removed or addressed. Sometimes home theaters are smaller rooms within a regular room, so that the high listening levels cannot be heard outside of the home cinema ‚Äì our customers tell us this is key for the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). Decoupling, wall material selection, soft furnishings, specialized acoustic plasterboard for reducing resonate frequencies and reflections and acoustic paneling can be installed in the cinema room to assist with absorption, diffusion or reverberation of sound.
Cabling ‚Äì cabling is a key part of the room set up, and are often overlooked in the design phase. You must talk to a consultant as early as possible ‚Äì even before the frame of the room has gone up during construction. Correct cabling will allow for best performance and future flexibility for maintaining and operating the system in the future.
Lighting & Blinds ‚Äì there are many creative options for lighting when it comes to home theatre design. Having the lights dim at the start of the film, or installing a twinkling star ceiling will wow guests and give the home theatre experience a more guiniue feel. Blinds can also be motorised in front of the screen or over the windows to block out any unwanted light. These can be set to automatically assume the correct position at the right time.
Interior decorating / theme rooms ‚Äì
Many customers like to decorate home theater systems as a themed room. Some examples include:
– Classic art deco decor
– Futuristic or out of space
– Bruce Wayne‚Äôs bat cave
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– The bridge of the star ship enterprise
– Or a sleek modernist design
Add the genuine classic movie posters and a mobile popcorn trolley and you might even want to start charging for the experience!
Surround sound speaker should have good dynamic range and power handling, regardless of their size. Specialised home theatres surround sound systems are sometimes integrated into the wall for a neater finish, however floor standing speakers will generally give the clearest performance.
Matched speakers (having each speaker be exactly the same) will deliver the best quality sound, but it can stretch the budget so talk to one of our consultants about which equipment will work the best for your situation.
Best performance is achieved with complementary equipment selection and correct set up.
1. Decide a room: have you got a spare bedroom, attic, or basement? Any room can be used for a home theater.
2. Get in touch with a consultant who can make a site visit or help you with plans
3. Establish a system design and layout with your consultant and a budget for the project
4. If the room is being renovated, have your AV consultant brief the builder and electrician so that key items are known by the team up front
5. AV cabling and acoustic paneling will be installed by the AV team, ideally this should be done during the room build, however cables can be installed at any time with varying degrees of difficulty and cost
6. Once the room has been finished the screen and speakers can start to be installed. An important note is that the room needs to be a dust free environment so make sure that all sanding and painting has been completed.
7. The commissioning of the system will involve the following:
a. Sound configuration
b. Visual calibration
c. Projection alignment
d. Remote control and lighting programming
e. Precise speaker positioning
8. The final step in the projects to get some friends over, kick back and enjoy your favorite movies.