Every time a crisis hits the world, we humans compromise and sacrifice on a lot of things. This Covid-19 situation has been no less. While many lost jobs, few great businesses even hit the bedrock. Cinema hall and theaters are no exception. The conditions are so grave that it might take several more unpredictable months for them to revive.
While health, hygiene and social distancing top the priorities, you might as well consider having your own home theater room. Life is truly too short to spend our valuable time on less worthy things. Why run to the cinema theater when you can have the same fun right at your comfortable home? To top it all, you get to experience the thrill endlessly at any time and at multiple times you want.
With right knowledge and supervision, it is always possible to build your own home theater. Let us now look into certain prevailing conditions necessary for you to come up with a good home theater design.
A house feels like your home when you feel connected to it. Every room’s aura influences your thoughts and personality. It therefore becomes greatly essential for you to choose every interiors rightly.
A home theater, though meant for a cinematic movie experience, requires considerable attention to make it efficient in serving its purpose as well as to blend it as one among your other rooms. Before getting through the equipments, Home theater acoustical panels and other such essentials, you might want to decide on the Home theater interior design scheme under the guidance of in-house architect or designer. This being done as the primary most step holds the maximum benefit as the other room requirements can there upon be matched with the decided aesthetics, there by bringing the best out of your home theater.
Like your living room or bedroom, even home theater offers a massive opportunity to invoke the artist inside you. Be it based on a theme or colour, you can be as innovative as possible. With sky as your limit, it’s you who can choose how uniquely beautiful your home theater design should be and even witness it turn into reality. Accordingly, audio-video systems and home theater furniture are selected such that they complement you Home theater interiors.
Though you can enjoy a free hand for your home theater interiors, there are certain criteria to be looked at. Home theater acoustics is a very crucial requirement of every home cinema and has its own fulfilments. You can expect your cinema room to deliver brilliant performance only when it is acoustically treated well. It is therefore necessary for you to come on common grounds with the Home theater interiors on the basis of acoustics.
Another feature influencing the aesthetics of your home theater design is the placements of involved audio/video devices such as the speakers, projector, etc. Each of these devices works best at certain positions to offer an extraordinary performance without any disturbance.
Based on the concluded Home theater interior design and acoustics, there are loads of secondary settlements to be done such as selecting the right colour combination for the recliners, acoustic wall panels, home theater flooring, speaker, Video projection system, Home theater lights, paint and polishing to add an essence of life to your home theater interior design.
2. Audio System Design:
A true home theater is the one which allows you to float in the pleasure of immersive and intense sound performance. It must be immensely enjoyable that you actually feel yourself to be in it. This is possible by having efficient speaker placements to deliver the true impact of movies, music and games.
Before deciding on speaker placements, it is essential for you to understand the fundamentals of a Home theater audio system design.
Home theater audio speakers are of various kinds and sizes, starting from tiny satellite speakers to a fully blown THX Ultra Home cinema package. Each Home theater speaker type is used for a specific purpose, for instance, a full range floor standing speaker is a must if you want to feel every nuance of your soundtrack. Similarly,THX certified speakers are always the best choice for an enthralling movie experience.
In accordance to the required aesthetics and your preference, Home theater audio speakers can either be left visible or maintained hidden. If you opt for visible speakers, there are plenty of floorstanding and bookshelf speaker options available. In case of speakers to be not visible, Klipsch THX Ultra cinema type Home theater audio system serves the best with the audio systems installed behind the perforated Home theater screen.
An efficient home theater audio system has front LCR speakers, a subwoofer, rear surrounds and ceiling atmos. The main left and right speakers are placed on either side of the Home theater projection screen with the center channel speaker centred below it. Surround speakers are used in pairs around your seating area and atmos speakers go onto the ceiling over the seating on the same axis as that of the front left and right channel. Subwoofer, being an omni-directional sound source can be installed at any preferred location that you think gives you the best bass quality in your Home theater room.
Often, AV processors such as those from Marantz, Anthem or Trinnov are paired with power amplifiers from Anthem or Marantz to manage all the speakers as well as to achieve a strong, enveloping Home theater sound.
3. Projection System:
Based on your budget and required excellence of performance, there are 3 main Home Theater Video technologies namely, LCD,DLP and SXRD, each having its own pros and cons.Under proper supervision, you can choose the right one from a plethora of high resolution and Ultra High definition projectors from Sony, Optoma and Viewsonic for your Home theater Video projection.
The size of Home theater video screen depends on your room size and seating layout. Though you might get lured into wanting a bigger screen than that required for your room, it is always suggested to follow the norms as they intend towards providing you with efficient screen time at maximum comfort levels. Also, you have to consider the front speaker placements to enjoy uninterrupted movie watching experience.
Depending on your preferred movie content, there are few prescribed screen ratio standards to help you choose the right sized Home theater screen. Do you crave for the thrilling Dark Knight, Avengers or other such extravagant action-packed Hollywood movies? Then 21:9 screen should be your sure shot perfect pick. For other local HDTV and regional movie playback, 16:9 screen will serve you sufficiently.
Though projection onto a Home theater screen majorly depends upon the projector and its characters, the surrounding room environment also has a considerable influence over it. If your Home theater room has a dark finish with dark walls, furniture and ceiling, always go with a white screen having a gain rate between 1 and 1.3. White also serves the best with a high contrast projector. On the other hand, a grey screen, also referred as a high contrast home theater video screen is used for lighter rooms to boost contrast onto the digital projectors. Grey screen is characterized to absorb ambient light better than that of a white screen.
To know more about projection screens, check out How to choose the best Home Theater Screen
If your home theater audio is built around a passive speaker system, then the AVR, projector, subwoofer and other such sources along with Home theater lighting and electric recliner systems will need a constant power supply.
Each cable and wire circuitry have different demands. It is therefore necessary for you to be well aware of them all before starting with the connections. Firstly make sure that the speaker cables, projector HDMI cables and electrical wires terminate at CTP or Cable Termination Point below the Home theater video screen. The projector requires a separate 1 KVA Sine wave Online UPS with 20 mins backup.
While organizing the cables, do not lay the power Cable and speaker cable/HDMI/RCA cable in the same conduit. It’s suggested to use a separate MCB just for your audio video equipment. All Home theater audio video and electrical cables are laid directly inside the room with just the Internet and Tata Sky connectivity wires brought from outside.
Since India undergoes a lot of power fluctuations, save your Home theater electrical equipments from damage by installing an efficient power conditioner.
5. Technical Cabling Infrastructure:
The Home theater room must have high quality OFC speaker cable of nothing less than 14AWG thickness for the passive speakers, and a high quality HDMI for the projector. These are the most essential cables that you would want to have in place before thinking over the further steps. Moulded Cable for the subwoofer and CAT cable for Home theater automation would complete the technical cabling work of your home theater room.
For storing equipments such as the Blu-ray discs, amplifier etc., and their flexible accessibility, you can get a Home theater audio cabinet that can be customized to blend with your Home theater interiors. But make sure that they do not disturb the surrounding speakers or your direct Home theater video screen view.
6. Home theater Interior Acoustics:
A Professional home theater consultant would always serve you the best by advising on what’s good and bad for your home theater acoustics. A Home theater consultant does so by starting with on site acoustic measurements to analyse the room’s response to different frequencies. These acoustic measurements allow you to notice the difference before and after acoustically treating your room. Also, they let you know you the extent of treatments required for different areas of your home cinema room. In case of a problem in future stage, these analysis guide you in instant problem solving without deviating from the finalised Home theater interior design scheme.
If you are into building your home theater room all by yourself, know that absorption, diffusion and bass trapping treatments are a must in order to achieve actual cinema-like experience. Further, make sure to reduce the effect of modal resonances associated with bass by stuffing few Rockwool chunks in the 4 corners of your room. To further learn about acoustical treatment and their benefits for home theater rooms, look into Beginners Guide to Soundproofing & Acoustics.
One of the most fondly used Home Theater acoustic treatment method is the usage of diffusion panels. Other than enhancing the aesthetical beauty, these create bigger soundstage to render you the feeling of a bigger room. Diffusion panels can be made in different shapes and sizes based on your budget and requirement. Our post on How to improve your Studio/Home Theater Sound with Sound Diffusion will further direct you through its application.
Home theater flooring can be done with either a thick acoustical carpet or the classic wood finish. Where carpet flooring absorbs the upper registers of the audio frequency spectrum, wooden flooring reflects sound in a home theater room.
Home theater false ceiling, which is generally filled with different acoustic treatments, can either be furnished with acoustic tiles, fabric or paint.
7. Furniture layout:
Home theater furniture layout always depends on your personal choices such as the number of seaters, the type of seating and future customizations as and when intended by you. A typical Home theater furniture seating needs more space in terms of both, depth and width. On the other hand, a Home theater sofa would need less than about 4.5’ depth.
Although not an important aspect, good home theater lighting is very much necessary as it imbibes positive vibes in your room. You can go for various Home theater lighting designs and even choose their positions on any face of the room, be it ceiling, flooring or on the walls. Out of these, ceiling and wall lighting always rules the choice. Home theater lighting mounted on the ceiling can either be in the form of spot lights, linear strip lights or any custom designed lighting to enhance the aesthetics. Similarly, wall lighting can also be explored in various methods, but horizontal or vertical strip lighting in between the wall panel’s elements is preferred.
Sneak into our very special Home Theater project at Arakere, Bengaluru to help you get a glimpse of few lighting designs.
A home theater is a complete closed space emphasizing on utmost sound and video reproduction without any interruptions. You might therefore sometimes feel lack of air or suffocated when inside it. Therefore, along with the other parameters, Home theater air conditioning is very much essential to create a comfortable environment. Moreover, an air conditioner protects the amplifier from damage by keeping its temperature under control. For the same, make provisions for AC ducts after consulting a Home theater expert in terms of installation, internal lining and sound proofing. The general Split and Cassette AC’s can also be used as long as they produce low self-noise.
10. Home theater Automation:
After all the Home theater acoustics and AV components are in place, the various devices must be tuned to flawlessly sync with each other. This is done by automating the different parameters of audio, video and Home theater lighting equipments through pre-programmed settings. Be it movie, music, leisure, reading or party, each pre-set Home theater automation configuration is such that they adjust themselves to deliver appropriate performance for every scenario. Home theater automation system in general will enhance your home cinema experience while saving time.
11. Add-on Interior elements:
A home theater is not just about audio video systems and technical treatments. It is as important as other spaces of your house and hence must be treated the same way. You can flexibly place any decorative elements such as framed photos, posters, glow in the dark sculptures and other such external items, as long as it doesn’t disturb your movie watching experience.
12. Calibration and optimization:
Choosing the best systems doesn’t suffice your home theater. They further need to be carefully installed and calibrated to achieve maximum output.
Let us for now consider Jamo THX Home theater speakers and look into the installation of the same. Any Home theater audio installation begins by connecting the source devices such as Blu-Ray player, Tata Sky box onto the AV receiver. Later, all the Jamo THX Certified speakers will have to be connected onto the AV receiver using OFC Cables. The active Jamo D600 subwoofer requires a pre-output through a moulded RCA cable through which it is connected to the AVR. The projector, apart from the power cable, will need a HDMI cable and an optional CAT6 cable for Home theater automation purpose.
After completing all the physical connectivity, you can tune your audio systems through professional Home theater calibration software like REW or a handheld Audio Analyser.
There are several other parameters to be looked at such as setting the right sound pressure levels, audience to Speaker distances and audio equalizations which must be of top priority along with the subwoofer placement and output optimization. If you are a tech savy person, you can calibrate a high end home theater projector using professional softwares from Sony, Spyder etc. to get the best possible video output.
Its normal human tendency to be passionate about building your own things, be it as complicated as a home theater. But it is also important to do it the right way. Enlighten yourself with major dos and don’ts while planning a Home theatre through our post Top 7 Do’s and Dont’s for your home theater room.
Hope I have helped you considerably through all of these information. Since, acoustics and system optimization can sometimes be a tricky thing, if you get into a fix at any point, feel free to consult a professional home theater consultant to help build your dream into reality.