You're ready to invest in what will soon be the most enjoyable room in your house and this single room can likely turn your home into the most coveted in the neighborhood. That is, if you do it right.
From dedicated rooms to shared entertainment spaces, home theaters used to be a rarity only the upper class would design into their custom home but with the price of home electronics making plasma TVs and front projection affordable to the masses, everyone wants their very own home theater. So, "everyone" now thinks they can install a home theater. We notice in this business that new companies appear all the time but we also notice that they don't sustain and we are called in to correct their mistakes. The reality is that it takes years of training and experience to design a theater that will incorporate quality audio, video and aesthetic that best suits your space and desires.
That isn't to say that anyone can't design a space and install a theater but they must be equipped with the right tools and information. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes made during home theater design that will affect the success of your room.
Overly Complication Operation
While the techie of the house may be able to turn it on, other family members might be left frustrated if they cant fumble through the necessary commands to start their movie. Complicated controls is one of the main reasons that theater rooms go unused. It is important to allocate a portion of your theater budget for a control system that will automate the process of turning on the multiple components (projector, dvd player, etc.) to the proper inputs. In addition to a control system, owning components that address other aspects of your system such as managing your movies will also make your theater fun for everyone to use. For example, a Kaleidescape is a movie server that offers quick, easy and organized access to your movie collection.
Poor Sound Quality
While most of our clients will admit they aren't audiophiles, they do have some basic expectations when it comes to sound. Dialogue is the most important. In order to follow your movie, understand what is happening in the movie and pickup the small details such a whispers, you need to address several items that will affect sound. Choosing the right speakers is one of the most important things you can do to make a positive impact on sound. We tell people to spend the most they can on speakers and out of all of the electronics you will purchase, good speakers will usually last the longest and become obsolete at the slowest rate. Know that many practices and standards that were in place 50 years ago in designing speakers are still in use today. Another item that will affect your sound is your theater room itself. A carefully planned balance of materials that absorb sound and refract sound will allow you to get your value out of your sound system. After addressing a plan to obtain good dialogue, then we can address the practices that make for great surround sound and bass so that you can really get into the movie.
Poor Theater Placement
To pick the right location, you need to consider how you will use your theater most. An open theater design in a den or family room is great for everyday use for your entire family and friends. The downside to having a theater in this type of room is that your movie experience can be prone to distractions from people talking in the next room or noises from other parts of the house. In an expansive great room obtaining good quality sound and eliminating all sources of sun glare and ambient lighting can also be tricky. Not everyone has the option, or desire, for a dedicated theater room but the level of privacy and ability to manipulate lighting and acoustics results in the most immersive entertainment experience. So many factors must be considered when selecting the location both within your home and within the room. Don't forget to factor equipment placement to maximize your space while hiding your equipment.
Improperly Connected Equipment
We commonly find systems that have the technical capabilties to produce an optimal picture and sound quality, yet are connected using inferior standards or the equipment configuration is not optimal. For instance, we have found systems that have the capability of using HDMI cabling with full 1080p resolution ability, yet are connected using component video wiring. We have also found customers that never knew they were missing Dolby Digital or DTS surround sound because of incorrect settings on their receiver. Make sure that you get the maximum performance out of your system.
Improper Equipment Protection
Your theater will be an investment and you want to ensure the components are protected. Component style surge protection must be in place to protect your components not only from lightning strikes but also the surges and spikes that occur within your house. You may have seen your lights dip when you turn on your vacuum cleaner or your air conditioner compressor starts. This electrical disturbance can shorten the lifespan of your theater components. You also need to ensure that your components stay cool. Providing airflow for your projector and other components (especially if they are contained in a cabinet or closed closet) will reduce maintenance and extend the life of your system.
If you decide to call on the experts, Hoishik has been in business over 15 years and can help you design and install the theater of your dreams. Check out www.hoishik.com for a sample of our portfolio or contact us for a consultation.