Home Theatres generally conjure up a feeling of luxury and awe with an image of plush, large room, complete with a huge screen, comfortable recliner style seating (with the popcorn of course) and state-of-art Audio Visual (AV) equipment. Living spaces are also transforming into enviable home theatres wherever there is a little room to spare in home designing.
Whether it’s a Media Room (a multipurpose space that is outfitted with a large flat-screen television, surround sound and cosy seating) or a full-fledged Home Theatre with the lighting, furniture, equipment and more importantly the space, there is an option to make a cinematic experience come alive in your home.
Here are some pointers to bear in mind before you decide to make that all important investment into a home theatre set-up:
- Choose your space and set-up: There are no limits to planning the scale as long as you have the budget and space to spare. Depending on these resources, you can choose either a media room set-up or a home theatre. The decision to go for either of them has to be made during the planning stage of construction depending on the scale, as making changes later on would be a huge challenge. Keep in mind the following aspects – Seating Area, Storage Space, Ventilation (in case it’s a basement) and the necessary provisions for wiring and electrical points.
- Selection of the right AV equipment: This again is a crucial step which to a large extent also depends on the type of space/room chosen and constitutes at least 70% of the budget for a home theatre project. The standard equipment required are Audio systems, Display screens and Projectors. There is a wide variety of AV equipment available for every possible budget and configuration. A thorough research, price comparison and demo of these systems are required before making that important purchase decision. When it comes to speakers, start with whether to use floor standing speakers, satellite or in-wall speakers or a mix. Mixing and matching speakers and speaker locations, the surround sound configuration (5.1 or 7.1), the AV receiver and the subwoofer is very crucial and can be done through an AV consultant, in case you don’t possess a ‘Golden Ear’ for acoustics. Always remember that a system may sound differently in an acoustically treated space (a demo area vs the actual location).
This also holds good for other necessary equipment like projector and display screens which are quite expensive and essential to create a wonderful cinematic experience. For large screen size requirements, projectors are the best and for smaller rooms, flat screen LED /Smart TVs/Ultra HD/3D TVs work as good. Be sure the screen size and resolution is matched to the seating distances. Having said that, the topic of AV in Home Theatre itself is vast, which we will cover in subsequent posts.
- Overall experience: For all the above elements to work together, the setting needs to be looked into with utmost care. In the construction stage of your home theatre zone, ensure that there is Soundproofing or Acoustic treatment of the room. If that isn’t done right, even the most expensive equipment or the best configuration will fall apart. Understand the echo, sound leakage and sound quality of the room and make the right decision to have sound panels or drapes in the room.
To enhance the viewing experience, also invest in good recliners, carpeting and lighting (soft mellow lighting). Last but not the least, once the stage is set, you need the right content to play and enjoy the home theatre experience. Good, high-quality content sources makes all the difference and ranges from traditional devices like a Blu-ray player to other Internet-based content sources (Media Players, subscription based services like Netflix etc.).
Media rooms or home theatres are fast changing from just a feature in luxury homes to mid-sized villas, ‘villaments’ and condominiums that are mushrooming in most urban spaces. It’s the perfect place to relax, entertain guests or enjoy a movie night with the family.
Given the plethora of options in the market, one can choose the look and feel of home theatres to the last detail and the best part is the easy availability of professional assistance in India (AV Consultants, System Integrators) which goes a long way in the best utilisation of space, materials and investment into a home theatre project. If you are not sure where to start, leave it to the experts who will work on what is best for you and create that memorable experience for your family to enjoy for years to come.
– Monisha Devaiah.