Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Best Room For Your Best Home Theater

A “home theater” immerses the viewer to make watching television or movies so much better. That’s because, rather than relying on the TV, there are dedicated speakers providing quality and potent audio that can well rival the best found in the movie theaters. But the biggest problem people have in putting together a “home theater” is where to put all the components. Obviously there has to be space for the TV itself, but anyone installing more than a sound bar knows there needs to be room for the speakers. And by speakers we mean quite a few: the speakers that flank the TV for Left/Right plus the center channel so necessary for dialogue must be augmented by a pair of surrounds that have to be placed to the left/right of those watching. Even if these surrounds are able to go wirelessly in position, there still needs to be power cords running to outlets. Add to that the subwoofer and the cables and power cords and the physical space needed for a cable box/satellite receiver, Blu-ray player and other video sources — plus an AV receiver (audio/video) — and it’s easy to see that space can become an issue. This doesn’t change even if the speakers/amplification is being supplied by an all-in-one home theater system either. So lets look at the spaces in the typical home/apartment to see what the advantages/disadvantages of each constitute.

Usually the biggest room in the home, the Living Room offers plenty of space for placement of the TV, the home theater components like the AV receiver and furniture for holding same. This is also the best place for having large groups of people watching, since there’s enough room between the TV and the couch, the chairs — so as to avoid those being forced to sit at the edge of the couch and not enjoy the “sweet spot” angle for the best picture. As the most “common” of spaces, it can be a good place to congregate as a family. But family members not watching might need to pass through the Living Room in order to get to another location — especially if the kitchen is placed nearby.

A Bedroom is rarely a space as big as the living room, although most have enough room for placing the various home theater components and furniture in position. But due to the bed being a part of the equation, the TV and speakers must take into account that those watching will often be seated/lying down on the bed. This will affect placement of the TV but even more so, the surround speakers — which most likely will be on the walls but must either be at ear-level based on those on the bed, or aimed down from the ceiling to “hit” this sweet spot of those lying down. Additionally, any other viewers will most likely be seated or standing close to the bed as well. On the up side, the intimate nature that watching in the bedroom allows can made the home theater even more appealing for those viewing, especially when the home theater system is working together in concert. And easier to hear at lower volumes too. Not to mention an extremely comfortable experience.

A “dedicated room” can be a Den, basement or any space that is not otherwise in use (storage, etc.) and which can be sealed off from the rest of the house. The main advantage is that there are no requirements for how the space is to be set up: no decor is in place already that must be accommodated. Nor must the seating “match” each other — stadium or Lazyboy-type seats or a couch that clashes is meaningless here. And since no foot traffic will be encountered, the room can be darkened and the immersive experience of watching and listening taken to as high a level as is possible. The isolated nature can further be enhanced by wireless headphones being used when a single person has gone in to watch but doesn’t want any sounds to emerge.

To set up a home theater, it’s important to realize that each person’s needs are unique and so must be met in a similar fashion, Only by confronting this head-on can a proper home theater be set up. The results will be ongoing and enjoyable.


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