Home Theaters Are For More Than Movies
Consider it an Electronic Entertainment Hub
Mention home theater to someone and more likely than not it conjures up a vision of a darkened room, a large screen, lounger-style theater seating, and sconces for soft lighting. In other words, a luxurious dedicated room that simulates the movie-going experience. But that vision of the home theater is changing.
We have a vast array of electronic entertainment available to us. We may want to watch sports on the large screen, binge-watch Netflix or music videos, play games on an Xbox 1 or PlayStation, or even have a virtual reality experience in a home theater or media room space. On top of that, the media experience may be accompanied by games like pool and ping pong.
That means that today’s home theaters may be more like multipurpose entertainment rooms than places to sit and watch a film uninterrupted. These new trends will make a difference as you plan media rooms and home theater installations for your clients.
Read on for some considerations on planning your next home theater or entertainment room project in Houston.
Depending on the size of the room, you may want to combine some aspects of the traditional home theater with the new. That may mean a row of high back lush seats in the front near the screen, and an open area in the back with a bar and stools – and perhaps a pool table too. Or, you can plan a less formal seating arrangement with a sectional sofa or a combination of a sofa and individual chairs. The choices hinge on the experience your clients desire; a more formal one for just watching, or a more communal one for more interaction.
The traditional theater usually involved a ceiling mounted projector (or rear projection setup) with a large screen of 80 inches or more. But for today’s multipurpose rooms, why not consider multiple screens? Or a combination of projection with flat screens? For example, One 75 inch flat screen could be centrally mounted, with two smaller 55-inch screens mounted on the side, making an ideal setup for multiple football games watching on a Sunday, or keeping tabs on March Madness.
For movies, that same room could have a drop down projector screen, and go up to a 120-inch screen for a true cinematic experience. Another potential choice for a big-screen experience is ultra-short-throw projectors, which can project large 4K pictures and take up relatively little space.
Speakers and Sound
Your choice of multipurpose or dedicated room and the type of décor and feel your client desires may dictate the options for sound. If the utmost in theater sound is not critical, today’s high-end sound bars offer big sound and do an excellent job of simulating several speakers from one box (or bar). Some even support Dolby Atmos, which provides a three-dimensional surround experience for movies that have those soundtracks.
If the client is more of an audiophile, high end floor standing speakers can be used, especially for the front left and right channels. The stereo front pair can double as a high-end two-channel listening setup with the appropriate electronics, and the music can take center stage with no video.
If your client wants the full cinematic sound effect, consider adding extra height speakers to support the full Dolby Atmos 3D sound effects. A complete Atmos installation involves up to 13 speakers and two subwoofers - which involved some room planning as well as design to integrate all that gracefully.
Finally, consider the shape and acoustic properties of the room. If it’s a multipurpose room, and it’s open on one side, proper speaker placement is vital for balanced cinema sound. It’s also critical if there is no specific “sweet spot” for viewing movies, shows, or sports. Consider the effect of seating that’s not on center with the screens or speakers in the design. Also, if there are many hard surfaces in the room, consider how wall treatment, rugs, and furnishings can help with acoustics.
The best thing to do is to call us early in your project planning. We can identify all the options and help design and install the perfect media or home theater room, dedicated or multipurpose. Call (281) 907-9620 or reach out to our team today.