While most of us don’t have a dedicated room for a true home theater, your living room or spare bedroom can become pretty close. Home theater design, though, in a normal room is a little different, as everything can’t be controlled, which could make things more complicated and difficult. For example, there maybe a window in an area that isn’t ideal.
These types of constraints can lead to common mistakes and while some we can’t control there are others we can.
Here are a few examples:
TV Height – Don’t mount a big screen too high on the wall. Humans aren’t built to look up for long periods of time and over the course of watching the screen for a few hours can cause a noticeable pain in not only your neck and back but also your shoulders. It is recommended to position the display so that the center of your viewing lands between the top quarter to the top edge of the screen. In other words, the center of the screen should be between 3 and 5 feet off the floor.
Distance – While our proximity of an object changes what we can perceive, many of us install a big screen TV and then sit too close to the screen. When you sit to close, you are decreasing the perceived quality. In contrast, when you sit to far away, you lose the fine detail, the high definition picture provides. Depending on your room size and television size, an optimal viewing distance may be impossible to achieve. In this situation, you may want to buy a smaller TV as it will be much harder (and expensive) to change the room!
Lighting – Lighting has an enormous impact on image quality so placement of the television is critical. Never place your home theater where direct sunlight could fall while it is being watched. If you do have a lot of large windows, it is recommended to get blackout shades or blinds to help reduce those rays.
Foot Traffic – There is nothing more annoying then someone walking through your room and obstructing your view of your television. If there is no way to help it, one solution may be to break up the seating by moving up the sofa or recliners. This way there is a different path through the room for others to take. Another idea is to put a piece of furniture such as a coffee table in that area so people physically can’t pass by.
Speakers on Furniture – Sound is an extremely important part to any home theater, but sometimes speakers can become bulky and take up a bunch of space. In those situations they end up tucked away on an end table or wall unit. This isn’t a good idea, especially for subwoofers, as it will create an output that is muffled. In addition, the sound will not produce in the direction it should.
Surge Protectors are Essential – Home theater systems require power, a lot of it! For a theater that includes a television, receiver, subwoofer, DVD player and game console will require at minimum of five outlets. While an inexpensive power strip may fulfill the need, your “toys” will more than likely be fried should you have a power surge. Always have a surge protector from a reliable brand that includes a warranty. This way you are covered incase any electronics get damaged because of a surge
You don’t always need Full Surround Sound – While many people think surround sound is a must for any home theater it does have some drawbacks, especially if you have a small room. Sometimes all you need is a quality sound bar, like the sound bars from Selby. Its probably cheaper and much easier to install then have to run wires on walls and under carpet.
The more knowledge you have ahead of time will help in determining what your ideal home theater for your room will look like.