Not so long ago, the idea of creating a home cinema was way beyond the reach of all but the very wealthiest among us. However, with significant advances in technology and tumbling price points, the cinema set-up of your dreams is now a very affordable prospect. Setting up a home theater
is relatively easy, so long as you stick to a few general rules.
Audio tends to distort if you can’t properly space out speakers so avoid smaller rooms where possible. An integral part of home cinema is the surround sound – and for audio to properly engulf you, it needs space. You could, of course, use a soundbar but for the full cinema experience, you’ll want to go for multiple speakers.
Also, with the larger TVs on the market today, you need to be a reasonable distance from your screen. Ideally, go for a room at least 10ft x 12ft (bigger if you have space).
The sound system
Sound is 50% of the cinema experience. To get the best effects from your home set-up, you’ll want to invest in good audio equipment.
Modern speaker systems allow full spatial audio, meaning sounds come from all around you - behind, from the side and in front. Just like the movie theater, you’ll want intelligent, immersive sound in your home cinema system.
The most popular sound systems come in 5.1 and 7.1 varieties, with the numbers representing the number of speakers vs subwoofers. So, in a 7.1 set-up, you’ll get a total of seven speakers (two front, one center and four satellites) plus one subwoofer.
Screen choice is vitally important to the home cinema experience. There is a dizzying array available, but the most important considerations are:
While TV screens these days come in truly gargantuan sizes, for most systems, 48” will be ample. Screens of 80” and above are not uncommon – but bear in mind you’ll need an equally spacious room to adequately accommodate anything this large.
LED or OLED:
Screen technologies have come a long way in a short time. These days, the most significant debate is between LED or OLED technology. OLED screens feature self-lighting pixels rather than the backlit system employed in LED technology meaning OLED features blacker blacks, higher energy efficiency, ultra-thin screens, and better viewing angles.
Just a few years ago, Full HD was the buzzword, but the technology has since been superseded with Ultra HD 4K and even 8K. In simple terms, 4K offers four times the pixel density of Full HD, giving significantly improved picture quality and crisper images. It’s probably not worth going lower
than HD 4K but if you want to be future-proof (well, as future-proof as you can be), 8K is the best option – particularly if you choose a large screen.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) screens offer better contrast, more accurate color replication and deeper blacks. HDR capabilities should feature on your list of TV requirements.
With all this great kit, you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to connect everything. Surge protection is also essential to prevent electrical damage, and you may also want to look at getting wall brackets, cables, AV amplifiers and antenna. Companies like thewireszone.com offer a one-
stop-shop for home cinema devices and peripherals as well as offering specialist technical advice to achieve the best home set up.
Once you’ve selected the right kit, you’ll need to think about positioning. For a 7.1 set-up, you should place two front speakers on either side of the screen, one underneath and four surround units pointing towards the center of the room. There are several smartphone apps that will help you
find the sweet spot for your home audio set-up.
While it may seem a little daunting at first, the rewards of home cinema are well worth the investment. Following the guidelines above will help ensure you get the best results.