So it’s actually happened. You’re finally in a position to stop dreaming about that bona fide home
theater you’ve fantasized about since you were 10 and really make it a part of
your reality. However, as nice as it would be to go to town sparing no expense, you now know how much a home theater costs, and you still have to work within a budget. You’ve got bills to pay and mouths to
feed after all!
Luckily, designing the home theater of your
dreams isn’t an endeavor that has to break the bank. If you know what you’re
doing, you can actually put together a wonderful set-up yourself. Here’s what
you’ll need to consider in order to make your
theater every bit as awesome as you’ve always dreamed it could be.
by Considering Acoustics
Yes, a state of the art speaker system has a lot to do
with sound quality, but the acoustics of the room you’ve chosen for your home
theater are even more important. Here’s how to make sure that trademark theater
sound is part of your home theater experience as well.
out the ceiling of any state of the art movie theater, and you’ll probably
notice that it’s covered with fiberglass paneling that’s fantastic for the
room’s acoustics. Luckily, this is an option that is not very expensive.
The average room in the average home is going to be made of either plaster or
drywall and neither is good for a
room’s acoustics. Line your home theater’s walls with inexpensive acoustic
boards covered with thin carpeting--just like you see in the movie theaters.
Floors made of materials like concrete, tile, linoleum, or wood are not ideal
for acoustics. Go for inexpensive plush carpet instead.
Treatments: Does your theater have windows? It’s well
worth your while to invest in room-darkening shades to really deliver that
authentic theater experience. It’s easier for light to seep in and mar your
viewing experience than you might think.
The colors you choose for your walls, ceiling,
seating, and carpet are all important for enhancing the overall experience as
well. Choose darker shades like black or navy to give small rooms the
appearance of being bigger than they really are as well as to prevent any light
from reflecting off of those surfaces back to the audience’s eyes.
Projection Options That Perform
The heartbeat of any good home theater system is going
to be its video system, of course. Many people simply go with a big flat screen
television, but it’s important to realize that a classic home cinema projector set-up is
actually much more effective; It’s less expensive, too! You can easily achieve
a positively astonishing HD viewing experience for $1000 or less.
Of course, if you go with a projector, you’ll also
need a screen. Most home theater owners elect to go with a good quality
dedicated screen. However, others are into DIY and elect to build their own
screens. If you have limited funds to invest and aren’t into DIY, consider
ready-to-go options with a matte white surface. Matte white projection screens
are capable of delivering a fantastic viewing experience while remaining
incredibly cost conscious at the same time. In fact, this combination of
economy and performance is exactly why matte white projection screens are found
in over 80% of today’s movie theaters and boardrooms where ambient light can be
If the ambient light in your room is washing out your
image, an ambient
light rejecting screen may be your best bet.
Looking for the best picture clarity with a 1080p+
projector? Look for a texture-less surface, not a matte one. The texture of a
matted surface may cause some image distortion from higher resolution projectors
due to their smaller pixel size. All of our high
definition surfaces are texture-less, including the Da-lite
HD Progressive Surfaces.
How About That Sound System?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to blow
most of your budget on a top of the line sound system in order to get the most
out of your home theater. Unless you’re working with an unusually large space,
a smaller system is probably a better fit. Just pay attention to the principles
of solid acoustics as outlined above, and you’re all set.
When choosing your speakers, go for a surround sound
system instead of stereo speakers. This will give you the most realistic
possible theater experience. You’ll also need to select a receiver and speaker
wire to connect the receiver to your speakers. Don’t bother with specialized
wiring options marketed as “speaker cable”. Economical bell wire will be just
as effective without the high price tag.
If you wish to place your speakers behind your
projection screen, an acoustically
transparent surface is what you may be looking for. These surfaces are
either woven or perforated to allow the sound waves to pass through the screen
without muffling the audio or moving the screen and distorting the video.
Things to Consider
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to consider
what other touches your budget friendly theater will need to deliver the cozy, personalized
experience you’re ultimately after. Plush seating is an absolute must (perhaps
complete with drink holders), and so are decorations that make your theater
feel more like it is yours.
You’ll also want to think seriously about remote
control options for your theater. After all, no one wants to have to get up to
adjust the lights or the sound once they’re already comfortable. Consider
installing a simple dimmer switch and a remote to make controlling your theater
as easy as pie. You’ll be enjoying the perfect marriage of cozy at-home
entertainment and the classic theater experience before you know it.