Nothing compares to the big screen cinema experience. But with the proliferation of digital streaming platforms and affordable advancements in home theatre technology, setting up your own home theatre has never been easier.
But before you start installing the big screen and speak systems, there’s a few things you need to consider.
Choose the Perfect Room
While some people choose to build on a separate cinema room, either as part of an entirely new home or as an extension to an existing property, this isn’t always an option.
What you really need to decide is if the space will only be used as a cinema or if it will be a multipurpose entertaining space. For instance, you may just want to be able to make your living room into a cinema every now and again. Or, you might have a spare room that could easily serve the purpose.
A multipurpose room will need to be flexible though. You may be limited in what you can do for a home cinema setup, but you should still get a great result.
Choose a TV or Projector
The next step is to pick your screen: will it be a TV or projector? How big you want the screen and how dark you can get the room are the biggest defining factors in this choice.
There are plenty of large televisions available, but few get above 250 centimetres. If you’re after a truly big-screen experience, you may need a projector. It’s worth bearing in mind that projector screens will only work well in darkness, so if you want to watch TV during the day, you’ll need to make sure you can block out
Match Seating to Screen Size
Once you have an idea of your screen size, you can get to work on the seating layout. Comfortable chairs are obviously important, particularly if you’re planning on settling in for a movie marathon. But how they’re laid out can also affect your experience.
If you’ve ever sat in the front row at the cinema, you’ll know how uncomfortable your neck can get. It can also be difficult to get a sense of what is happening on the screen as the angle makes the image seem off.
Experts suggest that the best angle from viewer to screen is 30 to 40 degrees meaning your head should be ever-so-slightly raised.
And while sitting too close to the screen isn’t going to give you square eyes, it can make it hard to see everything that’s happening. To calculate the ideal distance to place the chairs from the screen, just multiply the diagonal width of the screen by between 1.5 and 2.5.
That means that for a 250cm diagonal screen measurement, the seats should be positioned between 3.75m and 6.25m away from the screen. If your room isn’t large enough to accommodate that sort of distance, you may need to consider going for a smaller screen size.
Choose Quality Speakers
A good home theatre needs a good stereo system. Ideally, you want a system with surround sound to create a fully immersive viewing experience. A serious home theatre setup should have a minimum of five speakers. Place three speakers at the front of the room, along with a quality subwoofer, and then the other two to the side or slightly behind the seats.
You may need to experiment with exactly where each speaker goes before you hit on the right setup.
This system is going to pump out some serious noise, so to make sure the sound doesn’t travel throughout the house (or disturb the neighbours), it’s worth considering soundproofing. Some soundproofing around your home theatre room will not only prevent you from disturbing others, but it will also block out street noise, providing you with a better viewing environment.
You can soundproof the room by using a sound-reducing wallboard, along with putting thick curtains on your windows.
Get Control over Lighting
The ideal purpose-built home cinema room will have no windows, giving you complete control over the light in the room. Even with windows you can still achieve a high-level home cinema experience. It’s simply a matter of getting the right blinds or curtains to block out the light. Choose ones that are heavy, so they won’t move in a breeze, and no light creeps in around the edges.
Keep Cables Tidy
A home cinema comes with a lot of electronics and wires. Before you can press play on that first movie, you need to tidy those cables up. Otherwise, your cinema will be full of trip hazards and look messy.
Cable sleeves are a way to bunch multiple cables together in a neat and sleek way. You can also purchase cable organisers from a variety of hardware and computer stores.
If you’re a film buff, a home cinema may be just what you need. Then you can enjoy the magic of the cinema without the long lines or busy theatres. Plus, you can always pause the movie when you need more popcorn.