The Movie Room
With all the technology that is available today, it is much more affordable to transform practically any room into your very own home theater.
One way to lessen the out of pocket impact of a good home theater system is to tie your investment in with your mortgage. If you plan ahead, you can finance a better system and avoid settling for an entry level system that may be limiting or quickly obsolete.
In order to create the movie theater experience at home, you need to be able to have control of lighting, acoustics and viewing positions. Any room which you can sufficiently darken will work to create your own movie theater. Your basement may work. A room with lots of windows that are hard to cover easily would not work.
The room dimensions will depend on your maximum intended audience and the screen size. In general, the optimum viewing distance is about twice the diagonal screen measurement (for example: a 48-inch TV is best viewed at around 8 feet).
Furnishings in Your Home Theater
Comfortable seats are essential. Small reclining chairs work well. Sectional sofas are a good choice if they face the screen directly. Do not use high backs that will obscure views.
Lighting in Your Home Theater
Technology is available to automate the theater lights, close and open window treatments, drop the projector from the ceiling and lower the theater screen. All of this can happen with a touch of a button on a sophisticated remote. Automation is very popular. It is important that your light sources are indirect and controllable.
Audio in Your Home Theater
Start with a Dolby Digital receiver. Then add a 5.1 surround sound system – six speakers for the left, center and right front, rear surround and a sub-woofer for the low frequencies. You can spend under $1,500 for a decent-sounding entry level system or more for a THX certified surround sound system that can be built to a 7.1 surround with additional speakers and amplifier. Shop around and look at major brands to compare quality and price.
Video Essentials for Your Home Theater
For prerecorded movies, you need a good stereo VCR. DVD’s offer superior video and audio quality and will also play music CDs.
A high definition tuner would need to be purchased separately for $600 to $2,000.
Inexpensive viewing options include direct-view sets (32 inches is the minimum) and rear-projection big screens (from 43 to 80 inches). Expect to spend between $800 and $5,000 for a good set. A high definition ready set combined with wide screen picture format may cost even more.
If you are able to spend more money, you can create a real theater experience with a 100"+ screen and a digital light projector (DLP) or cathode ray tube (CRT) projector.
Get ready to enjoy your very own movie theater in the privacy of your home for many years to come!