The larger-than-life screen, the thump-in-your-chest audio, the fade-to-black lights: It’s an environment you’ve come to expect every time you step into a commercial cinema. Today, there’s no reason you can’t recreate this movie magic in your own home. A custom-designed home theater gives the entire family a place to unwind and relax while watching blockbuster movies, concert videos, and other content from the comfort of their own couch.
Home Theater Components
It takes more than a big-screen TV and a set of surround-sound speakers to evoke the emotion of a true home theater experience. You’ll need a large projection screen and bright video projector, a high-performance surround-sound receiver, a full suite of well-engineered and designed speakers, a quality media player, dimmable lighting, comfortable seating, and a way to easily control everything. Most of all, you’ll need a professional to put all of these pieces together in a unified system that delivers the most engaging, immersive entertainment experience possible.
Technology is constantly evolving, but today, the highest quality video content that’s also widely available is 4K; as for audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are the crème de la crème formats. You’ll need AV equipment that can support these technologies, plus a professional home systems integrator to install, configure and calibrate them for optimal audio and video performance.
Home Theater Accessories
In addition to AV equipment, a home theater requires lighting, seating, and control. Video always looks better in a dark room, so being able to dim the lights right from your seat is a great feature to include in a home theater. The lights can even be automated to dim as the projector starts. If you envision also watching sporting events, concerts, and playing video games in your home theater, a lighting system becomes even more useful. You can alter the intensity of the fixtures—brighter during the big game, for example—based on what you’re watching and the preferences of your audience.
The right seat can make or break the experience, too. Specially designed home theater seating provides just the right amount of support for long, epic films, plus plenty of style to complement the room design.
A control system can consolidate the operation of your theater into a single button press. A command called “Movie Time,” for example, can signal the lights to dim as the projector and surround-sound system activate. The environment can change for “Intermission,” “Clean Up,” and other events.
The Room Design
A home theater, in the true sense of the word, is a room dedicated and designed solely for the purpose of watching video—although some people also use the space to listen to music. The size, shape, structure, acoustics, even the texture of the furnishings and the color of the walls can have an impact on the quality of viewing and listening environment. The characteristics of the space are just as important as the AV equipment, so make sure to consult with a home systems integrator to get the room design right. For example, speakers can be recessed into the walls and ceilings to free up floor space; the projector can be mounted in a ventilated “hush box” to muffle the noise of the machine, the screen can sit flush against the wall or descend into the room from a soffit on the ceiling—the sky’s the limit in a home theater.