Home Theater Systems

A home theater is a high-end appliance which can provide a great deal of entertainment with its unique and exclusive features. It consists of a large screen with high capacity speakers, a DVD player, a video game system, a CD player, a VCR, and many such facilities. Many multinational companies have entered this lucrative business by providing maximum possible amenities.

After buying a home theater, you can do the installation work yourself if you have a complete knowledge of its technique. By doing so, you can save a lot of money which is charged by the professional installation service providers. Setting up a home theater might become easy with the help of the following tips.

Select the Components After a Research

You have a wide range of choices to select the components of your home theater. Conduct a research by personally visiting the showrooms and then decide what components you want. The best choices available for you are wide screen Plasma TV, CRT TV, televisions with the options of front and rear positions, and flat screen televisions. The other components of a home theater like the remotes of different kinds, the voice receivers, home theater speakers should also be selected carefully.

Choose a Good Room for Home Theater Installation

The first step in the installation of a home theater is selecting a proper and spacious room, which is fully furnished and good enough to have this expensive device in it. The absence of such a luxurious room can prove to be a major deterrent for you, as even if you purchase the best home theater from the market, it will not give you the desired effects. You can have plush interiors for the room like POP's, good flooring, wall decoration, and ceiling installed lights of different colors. The room being selected should have a good privacy and the number of doors should be a minimum.

If you are ready to spend more, you can have the soundproofing done, which will prevent external noises from entering the room. Design the interiors of your rectangular room by having attractive paintings on the walls and shelves to keep essential things, because these things make the room look good as well as help in blocking the outside noises, which can be quite irritating. Make sure that the room is not too dark or too light, and note that lack of light can put a lot of strain on your eyes if you plan to watch your television for a long time.

Installation Of The Home Theater

The concept of a home theater is to have both, audio and visual effects in your own house. So, you should place the flat screen in such a way that it should be immediately seen after entering the room. This flat screen, along with the speakers would be wall mounted. Two or three speakers should be kept in a line which would be exactly in front of the chairs or seats. You should place the rear speakers such that they do not face each other.

It is recommended that you have sufficient distance between the components and the wall so that repairing and daily operation of the home theater system becomes easy. Make all the connections right and have a demo to view the results. Take help from the employee of the showroom, who will help you in the task as per the guidelines of the company.

By now, you must have understood how to set up a home theater comfortably. Enjoy your great possession by watching your favorite movies with your friends and family.

The basement is an ideal place to construct home theaters. These underground rooms provide quiet surroundings and proper light-effects to watch movies. To convert a basement into a home theater a little remodeling or renovation is required.

A basement can be designed in many different ways and customized according to our needs for setting up a home theater. The color on the walls should be non-reflective and it should have neutral colors. The carpet should be a sound absorbing or sound deadening one. Some basements have windows which act as a source of light, therefore they need to be covered with blackout curtains. Walls may be decorated with the help of framed movie posters. These can be purchased from specialty stores.

Arrangement of Equipment and Accessories
The equipment needed for the installation of home theater system are the screen, surround speakers, necessary wiring, and other equipment. Specially designed cabinets are also available to fit in the equipment required for this system. Curtains can be put up in front of TV screens. The sofa concept is the best home theater seating option for viewing purposes. It is difficult to construct a stadium seating assembly for a basement room, thus a sofa turns out to be the most feasible option. For the construction of risers, the room dimensions should be appropriate and the ceiling should at least be 8-9 feet in height. The ceiling and walls should be covered with drywall.

Room Dimensions
To decide the dimensions of the home theater room, one should take into account the science of acoustics. The dimensions such as the length, breadth, and width should be such that their values are not equal or multiples of each other. It is necessary to reduce the effect of resonance, as they cause dips and peaks in the frequency of sound. Keeping the room well ventilated is important along with the designing and lighting part. The popcorn machine can add to the heat of the basement. Whole fans or a ceiling fan could be used to remove the excess heat from the basement.

Enhancements and Decorations
A kids area could also be built inside for spending leisure time with the kids, which could be decorated with the help of toys, story books, etc. Soft cushions should be used for sofas in this area. A coffee table in front of the seating place can add to the comfort of the viewer. It helps to enjoy snacks and tea/coffee while viewing the favorite movies. If possible, a snack zone could be created by placing a mini-fridge and a sink in a corner place. A nacho maker, popcorn machine, and many more accessories could be brought into the designing of the home theater.

As basements lie in the lowermost portion of the house, waterproofing it becomes important in order to prevent any water leakage.

The aforementioned designs provide a rough idea about the various tips that should be kept in mind while designing of a home theater. Customizing the home theater according to our needs by exploring our creativity is the best thing to do.

Home theater systems came as a boon to the cinema aficionados who couldn't make it to the theater every time they wanted to experience the excellent audiovisual amenities of the movie halls. Since they first became popular in the 1950s, technological advancements have made watching movies in your home just as real as watching one in a movie theater. The real experience of a home theater is complete when the proper lighting complements the superior picture and sound quality. Some people have gone to the extent of dedicating an entire room to their theater system.

Tips

When it comes to installing lights in a movie room, most prefer to keep it dim. From wall sconces to fiber optics, there are many choices for the more passionate viewer.

Wall Sconces
Wall sconces are a great option that add to the mood of watching a movie. Their soft lights create the perfect ambiance that neither diminishes the essence of the movie nor do they strain the eyes. Wall sconces that come in a variety of shapes and designs provide soft backdrop lighting that add a touch of class to any movie room. These devices create a dimming effect with the help of a plastic covering or translucent glass that diffuses the light, or the metal shell that reflects the light back onto the wall. Some manufacturers also make themed wall sconces to help create the perfect atmosphere.

Recessed Lighting
Also referred to as pot lighting, recessed lighting is installed in inaccessible places in a room, generally inside a ceiling. They direct light at the ceiling, towards a wall, or any other area of the room. This helps to reduce the glare of the bulb.

LEDs
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have come a long way from being used in microwaves and VCRs due to their dim light output. Nowadays, LED lights are bright enough to replace normal lights. However, their small size and low electricity requirements mean that they can be used in rope lights and cove lighting that would perfectly complement the mood of a movie room.

Accent Lighting
This refers to installing a low-voltage light behind the couch or the screen, which emits a soft glow that is soothing to the eyes. Having it behind the screen will give a sense of depth to the image, this reduced the strain on your eyes. Certain television manufacturers have provided specific television models with accent lighting features that change color according to the theme of the image being displayed on the screen.

Fiber-optics
Fiber-optics can be used for numerous designs. The most common of these is creating a night sky that is lit by numerous glittering stars. A fiber-optic ceiling can be installed by purchasing pre-manufactured panels available in the market, or you can use a kit to do it yourself.

Explore More Technology

If you use wall dimmers, these could be replaced with dimmers that are operated with a remote control. Installing voice controlled switches could be another great idea. These switches could function as normal switches and can be programed to respond to your voice.

While choosing the lighting equipment, keep in mind what your movie room looks like. A projector works best with no lights, as additional light sources will produce a glare. Flat screens and plasma televisions distribute light more evenly with less glare. Hence, these work best for those who want to have some sources of surrounding light for their movie room.

The tangled wire mesh is a big problem of home theater systems. These wires need to be concealed by drilling holes in the walls, which is highly inconvenient. A wireless home theater system helps to avoid this obstacle as the speakers do not need wires to connect to the system. These are available in both audio and video varieties. The factors involved in choosing the best wireless speakers are quality, sound range, and the total investment involved. The cost of these speakers is an important factor. However, it does not mean that low-cost speakers are necessarily good.

Transmission Modes

The transfer of the data required for these speakers uses the following two transmission modes:

Radio Frequency Transmission
Radio frequency technology uses radio signals to transmit audio signals from the base system to the speakers. The transmission speed of 40 kbps, and the 900 MHz frequency are used for this transmission. It is beneficial, as 'line of sight' transmission is not necessary. The radio signals can travel through walls, electronic devices, and other interruptions. The position of the speakers must be adjusted in such a way that the best reception and audio quality is available. These kinds of speakers are generally used in outdoor speakers and can be kept in different rooms. However, they have a limited range which must be tested in the room in which you are installing them. This technology is being improved upon to minimize the interference of electronic devices like cordless phones and radios. It is an expensive option as compared to infrared speakers.

Infrared Transmission
Infrared speakers use infrared light to transmit data signals to the speakers. The transmission rate of this technology is 50 to 2000 bps. The wavelength of the transmitted light is in the range of 870 nm to 950 nm. This technology is the best for home theater systems set up in a small area. The maximum range of the transmitter and speaker receiver is 20 feet, for which line of sight has to be maintained. Opaque physical materials obstruct the infrared signals. Glass does not, unless it is tinted or colored.

Types

Integrated Wireless Home Theater System: This is a completely wireless system that consists of the amplifier, transmitter, front and rear speakers, front center speaker, two frontal speakers, and a sub woofer.

Add-On Wireless Speakers: This system consists of transmitters, receivers, and surround sound speakers. It is meant for those who already have a wired home theater. The new transmitter is connected to the already existing amplifier.

The disadvantage of wireless speakers is that they have a limited range and no external power supply. They need a rechargeable battery unit which acts as a backup and is quite expensive.

Watching a movie on the big screen contributes dramatically to the special effects. Moreover, if it can be enjoyed in the sanity of the house, it would be an absolute bliss. Home theater systems have made it possible for us to view movies on the big screen, without having to go to multiplexes. And then, a good seating layout takes the comfort level one notch higher.

Setting Up a Home Theater
There are many points that have to be considered while planning the layout for the home theater. One of the most important points being, the space available for the whole setup. The number of seats that can be accommodated depends on the availability of the space. Over-stuffing the room with extra seats minimizes the effectiveness of the purpose of the home theater.

The next important concern is where to start the placement of the seats from. The seats cannot be placed at any random distance from the screen. The width of the screen and the angle of vision have to be taken into consideration. As per the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) guidelines:

The ideal angle of vision to get the best 2D effect for an HDTV signal, is 30° horizontal angle of view and 15° vertical angle of view, which corresponds to a viewing distance of 1.9 times the screen width, for a single row of seats.
If more than one row of seats has to be installed, then a range is specified for the angle of vision. Horizontal angles of 36° for the front row and 26° for the last row, which corresponds to the viewing distance range of 2.2 to 1.54 times the screen width and the vertical angle not exceeding 35°, specially for the front seat.
The limits on the viewing distance is a minimum of 2 times the screen width, for the nearest distance and 5 times the screen width, for the farthest distance.

Moving any closer to the screen than the specified limits may result in poor picture quality, as the 'image forming structure' i.e. the image pixels can be distinguished easily. In that case, depixelization filters (for LCDs) can be used to overcome the problem.

The seat layout can range from bean bags, regular leather sofas, to something more customary. Generally, leather seats are preferred to maintain the elegance of the room. The seats can either be a joint unit or separated seats. For those who like to lie down and relax, recliners are a great option. A recliner seat has a folding footrest that can be unfolded when required. Since, recliners spread out in a horizontal direction, adequate space is required at the front and back of the seat. If they are to be placed in more than one row, they should be well-spaced away from each other. Again, drinks and eatables are inevitable in this setting. Select the seats such that the armrest has suitable provisions for holding drink cans and packets of eatables.

If the theater has more than one row, platforms can be installed. Seating platforms with risers or steps are essentially used for better viewing from the back rows. Ordinarily, riser levels vary from 6 to 8 inches, but in home theaters, the risers can be up to one foot high. At the same time, they should be wide enough, so that the huge-sized seats can be placed onto them, without toppling over. If that is not possible, another option is to arrange the seats (if separate) in a scattered way to obtain the best possible view.

Home theaters have a lifelike picture quality. Setting up a decent and comfortable seating arrangement complements your hi-tech experience. It gives you an immersive effect.

You walk into an electronics mega-store and you're floored by the sight in front of you. It's shiny, it's sleek and it's the newest thing to hit the market. The latest and fully-loaded DVD home theater system on display leaves you spellbound. In a zillionth of a second, you've already made up your mind to buy this new baby home. Many go ahead with their buyer's instincts and purchase it then and there.

Purchasing is quite easy, but installing it is something totally different. Hooking up a home theater system is a vital task, because an incorrect installation can lead to inferior output quality and can also damage the system.

Read the Owner's Manual
This may seem to be the most basic of instructions, but often it is the most overlooked one. Reading the owner's manual thoroughly is the first thing one should do while installing a home theater system. More often than not, this will help in avoiding fundamental problems at a later stage.

Placement and Positioning
Study the dimensions of the room in which you wish to install your home theater system. Visualize and plan the way in which you would like to place the various components, such as the speakers, sub-woofers, etc. Proper positioning of the system components is directly related to the quality of the output, and it is largely dependent upon the size and area of the room.

Cables
Purchasing and using the right cables for all your connections is vital. Avoid going in for cheaper cables as they are most likely to be of sub-standard quality and may prove to be costly in the long run. The cabling should be clean, it should be concealed appropriately, cables should be marked with colored tapes for easy identification, and there should be proper ventilation to ensure that the cables are not exposed to extreme temperatures.

Power Outlets
Home theater systems consume much more power than other home appliances. Naturally, it is imperative that you have the right power outlets for it in terms of the number of sockets, technical specifications, and compatibility. It is also advisable to use a surge protector to protect the system from voltage spikes, which can otherwise cause internal damage to the components.

Balancing Speaker Levels
In a typical home theater system, each speaker is meticulously designed to play a specific role in terms of sound production. Balancing the individual speaker volumes to produce an overall optimum level is a tricky, yet achievable task. Insert your favorite audio CD, and using the instructions given in the owner's manual, tweak the audio settings for each speaker until you reach a satisfactory level of acceptance. Certain inbuilt tone test features are a good way to preview the sound output during the process of balancing.

Get Professional Help
If you feel that the process is totally out of your reach, do not fret. There are hundreds of companies and vendors who provide professional home theater installation services. It may cost you a little extra, but it will definitely save you from having to spend a bomb on repairs in case you damage the system during self-installation.