The true home theater experience can take you away to another place. You become so immersed in the film you feel like you are part of the movie. This is what happens when you create a real home theater room, dedicated to surround sound and great video!
The goal is to create exactly what happens in a movie theater, with the image from a high quality projector reflecting to your eyes from a large film screen. Your screen size, its height off the floor, and how many rows of seats you have are factors to account for in your theater room design. The key is getting the sight lines right. You want all viewers to enjoy the entire picture without having obstructions, and you want viewers to have a clear field of view while comfortably in their theatre seat. Advanced ESI experts can help with this, laying out in CAD format almost all of our dedicated home theatres. Line of sight is a tricky subject and can make or break a room where more than a couple of people will enjoy the film experience.
In designing a dedicated home theater room, you should not have to worry about anything other than making things perfect for sight and sound. (That’s why you made it a dedicated room!) We can help you with screen layout, plus projector, speaker and component placement. Other important considerations are how it will look and how the room can be treated for acoustics. Many magazines and web sites can give you ideas for the architectural look of your theater. Advanced ESI also has decorators and designers we work with for dedicated theater projects. We cannot stress enough how big a difference the proper acoustics approach will make in the enjoyment of your theater. Please read our acoustics blog for more information.
Acoustics and Soundproofing
In designing a dedicated home theater, speaker placement is extremely important. By far, the most important track in a film is the dialogue track. This is produced through the center channel speaker. If you cannot understand dialogue, the impact of the movie is greatly reduced. In theater rooms with multiple rows of seats, hearing dialogue clearly can be a challenge. Not only should your family and guests be able to see the entire screen, they need to hear all of the speakers. No speaker is more important than the center channel. It’s fairly easy to get sound right when there is only one row of home theater seating, but with two or more rows, the location of the center channel becomes critical. Our experts will help you with your design to optimize the center speaker position.
There is a good rule to follow for the best separation of the left and right speakers. We like to see them at about a 45 to 60-degree angle with the main seating position. Use a 45-degree position if the main use of the room is movies; spread the speakers further apart if you will also be enjoying concert videos or audio. Of course this is just a general rule, each speaker and each environment offers its own set of challenges, and should be designed by a professional. Our staff can help you plot this out.
The subwoofer (the speaker providing deep bass effects) can usually be hidden under the screen. Again, we can help with design options. Remember that the worst spot for a subwoofer is in the middle of your room, the best, close to a corner. And the more subs the better – four is ideal!
Finally, surround speakers can be positioned to your sides and on the rear wall. You should have one or more pairs of side speakers and one pair of rear speakers. Their placement will be related to how your seating arrangement works out. We can offer lots of advice here.
Controlling It All
This is a room that has a demanding set of systems that require control. Not only the obvious sound and picture control, but lighting and temperature control are critical for extended viewing pleasure and optimal viewing conditions. Not to mention the requirement to control an expanding list of video and audio sources including Blu-Ray, Cable and/or Satellite receivers, DVR’s, Streaming sources (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), media servers (like Kaleidescape), Apple TV’s, and more.
Advanced ESI can integrate all of these systems into an easy-to-use control system that offers touchscreen simplicity and instant feedback of all of the systems onto a single informational screen.
The Ultimate Home Theater
Imagine an area of your home decorated with a cinema theme, perhaps with a vintage popcorn machine and concession area setting off the area outside the screening room. Your invited guests gather here for wine and conversation before the movie begins. At the scheduled time for your film, your lighting control system automatically dims your lights as programmed, signaling when you and your guests should move to your theater to enjoy this week’s latest Blu-ray movie release. When everyone is seated, a single touch to your personalized touch screen controller dims the lights to viewing level, activates your projector and starts the movie. During the film, images have almost three-dimensional vividness, and you are enveloped in the music and effects of the soundtrack, clearly understanding everything that is said. When the movie ends, your friends comment that the experience is so much better than a movie theater, they can’t imagine why you would ever leave home! Is this your ultimate home theater dream? Whatever yours happens to be, our design team can help your dream come true.