The Ultimate Home Theater
Imagine an area of your home decorated with a home theater cinema theme, perhaps with a vintage popcorn machine and concession area outside the screening room. Your invited guests gather here for wine and conversation before the movie begins. At the scheduled time for your film, your lighting control system automatically dims your lights as programmed, signaling when you and your guests should move to your theater to enjoy this week’s latest Blu-ray movie release. When everyone is seated, a single button press on your personalized touch screen controller dims the lights to viewing level, activates your projector and starts the movie. During the film, images have almost three-dimensional vividness, and you are enveloped in the music and effects of the soundtrack, clearly understanding everything that is said. When the movie ends, your friends comment that the experience is so much better than a movie theater, they can’t imagine why you would ever leave home!
Is this your ultimate home theater dream?
A true home theater experience can take you away to another place. You become so immersed in the movie, you feel like you are part of it. This is what happens when you create a real dedicated home theater. With the right planning, investing in a home theater can be one of the best enhancements to your home and lifestyle.
In designing a dedicated home theater, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything other than making things perfect for sight and sound. (That’s why you made it a dedicated room.) We can help you with screen layout, plus projector, speaker and component placement. Other important considerations are how it will look and how the room can be treated for acoustics. Many magazines and websites can give you ideas for the architectural look of your theater. Wilshire Media Systems also has decorators and designers we work with on theater appointments. We cannot stress enough how big a difference the proper acoustics approach will make in the enjoyment of your theater.
SCREEN SIZE and VIEWING DISTANCE
The next step is to decide both the location and size for your video display. Both the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and THX Ltd. (a developer of quality standards founded by Lucas film) have recommendations on this subject. This step is very important to get right, and is probably the most difficult one to fix if you get it wrong.
Home Theater Acoustics & Soundproofing
It’s important to have a great picture, but a movie without good sound is a terrible experience. Great sound immerses you in a film’s sound effects. All things being equal, acoustic treatments have a larger impact on the sound than almost any component.
In designing a dedicated home theater, speaker placement is extremely important. By far, the most important track in a film is the dialogue track. This is produced through the center channel speaker. If you cannot understand the dialogue, the impact of the movie is greatly reduced. In theater rooms with multiple rows of seats, hearing dialogue clearly can be a challenge. Not only should your family and guests be able to see the entire screen, they need to hear all of the speakers. No speaker is more important than the center channel. It’s fairly easy to get sound right when there is only one row of home theater seating, but with two or more rows, the location of the center channel becomes critical. Our experts will help you optimize the center speaker position.
There is a good rule to follow for the best separation of the left and right speakers. We like to see them at about a 45 to 60 degree angle with the main seating position. Use a 45 degree position if the main use of the room is movies; spread the speakers further apart if you will also be enjoying concert videos or audio. Our staff can help you plot this out.
The subwoofer (the speaker providing deep bass effects) can usually be hidden. Again, we can help with design options. Remember that the worst spot for a subwoofer is in the middle of your room, the best, close to a corner. And the more subs the better!
Finally, surround speakers can be positioned to your sides and on the rear wall. You should have one or more pairs of side speakers and one pair of rear speakers. Their placement will be related to how your seating arrangement works out. We can offer lots of advice here.
Choosing The Right Home Theater Equipment
This is the fun part for most people. Significant improvements in video technology can give you a great picture for a fraction of the cost only 10 years ago. This allows more room in your budget for great sound. Unlike video, audio pricing has held very steady in its cost to performance ratio. Recent improvements in home theater speakers will make your surround sound experience even more fun. Matching all your equipment is where Wilshire Media Systems experts and our experience will be a big help.
Controlling Your Home Theater
If no one can figure out how to turn the system on and make selections, the enjoyment factor will drop! A well thought out control system can make all the difference. Reliable options now exist so you can hide all your components and get signals to them perfectly. We offer you a wide range of options from programmable universal remote controls to complete home automation systems.
In most dedicated home theater rooms, equipment is housed outside the room to minimize noise. It is critical for the life expectancy of components that they have adequate ventilation. Your amplifier or receiver will put out some heat, but the cable box, satellite box, or video game system radiate a great deal of heat. If you use an existing cabinet, passive ventilation by drilling holes is not sufficient to exhaust hot air. Wilshire Media Systems typically installs a ventilation fan in the cabinet to exhaust the hot air.
Contributed by CAPID Industry Partner, Wilshire Media Systems;