Designing Your Home Theater: 4 Important Things to Consider
A great movie, TV show, or playoff game in a cozy home theater brings a family together like nothing else. Suddenly, your house is the “cool” house, and spending Friday or weekend night in is everyone’s first choice.
What's the good news? A plethora of possibilities awaits, ranging from high-end home theaters fit for an A-list Hollywood film director to very inexpensive versions that can fit in a spare bedroom but still impress you. When you add in all of the networking possibilities (like how home theaters can easily stream content and/or transform any room into a music room), your home theater becomes a happy investment.
In this guide, the experts at MIProTechs will walk you through the four most important things to consider when designing your home theater. Let’s get started.
It’s a common misconception that size matters when choosing a TV or projection screen for your home theater. When it comes to screen size, we at MIProTechs generally recommend that you opt for the biggest your space and budget will allow. What truly makes the difference is where you’ll be sitting.
Ask any movie theater goer where the best place to sit is and they’ll likely tell you within the centermost rows. Not down in the very front row. Not all the way in the back of the house. There’s a reason for this: the best viewing distance from the screen is one that fills your field of vision, not overtakes or shrinks away from it. The same idea applies to the TV or projector screen in your home theater.
For the best viewing experience, you should plan for a viewing distance of about 1.5-2x the width of the screen. For example, if you have a 55-inch TV, sitting about 6-8 feet away from the screen is ideal. Anything more may cause you to notice distracting image lines and pixels. Anything less may strain your eyes too much as you struggle to absorb image detail.
How many theaters have you been to that don’t shut the lights completely off once the movie starts? While most TVs are fine in a semi-lit room, darker is always better, especially when it comes to home theaters. Moreover, a projector screen pretty much demands total darkness for any picture clarity whatsoever.
A home theater room ideally wouldn’t have windows in the first place. However, for existing homes that are being retrofitted with a theater room, this isn’t always possible. In this case, be smart about the layout. Try not to place a TV or projector screen opposite a wall with windows. If this is the only choice you have, however, we recommend that you install thick blackout curtains to draw over them come showtime.
What element of your moviegoing experience really draws you in? Big, full-bodied, immersive sound. However, it isn’t as simple as going to a big box technology store, buying whatever speaker kit you want, hooking it up, and boom. Home theater audio is a delicate balancing act of equipment and environment to achieve the best sound quality possible.
Most home theaters we help design at MIProTechs use surround sound systems, which usually contain either 5.1 or 7.1 channels plus a subwoofer (or two). We go into more detail about how to properly set up surround sound in another article.
Hard surfaces are the number one enemy of home theater sound quality. No matter if you have the most top-of-the-line audio system available, any surfaces like stone, wood, or tile will reflect the sound and cause horrible reverb. If you’re building a new theater room, make sure it’s carpeted. If you’re converting an existing room into a home theater, consider having carpet installed before setting up any equipment. This is the best method to reduce uneven sound and distracting audio artifacts.
Who wants to waste valuable movie watching time fumbling around with eleven different remotes? Luckily, through the power of smart technology, you don’t need to do that in your home theater. We at MIProTechs can enable everything from the lighting, TV, projector, window treatments (if you have them), and media sources to be controlled by one single device; be it your smart phone, tablet, or integrated command center.
If the process of designing a home theater gets a little too overwhelming, let the professionals at MIProTechs help. We didn’t get to be Southeast Michigan’s premier provider of home technology, control, network, security, and entertainment by hard-selling or plugging any particular product. That’s just not our style. We’re here to make your quest in making your home fit your life easy, on your terms!
Give us a call at (248) 987-6171 or schedule an appointment online today!