At one point or another, you have probably entered the cinemas and dreamt of bringing that wide-screen and surround sound system combo inside the comforts of your own home. In this age and time where movies from the big screen can be easily found in Blu-ray format the following month, chances are, you have contemplated a home theatre system at least once.
Of course, there is always an option to hire a professional home theatre designer to get things going real quick. But there are some who prefer to do things their own way and opt for a DIY approach. There is an appeal to doing things on your own and there are times when a DIY approach comes out so much better than hiring someone to do it for you.
If you are among those homeowners who would like to try out the DIY home theatre installation route, here are a few things to take note of:
- Plan before you press play. Walk inside any electronics store and you will easily find tons of home theatre set-ups awaiting every visiting customer. You will typically see a comfortable couch or a leather recliner, and a large TV propped right in front of the seat. Sound bars, woofers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and several other kinds of sound systems are displayed in this setup well. While it all looks good and ready to be transferred to your target room, the most important step in a DIY scenario is still to plan. Take note of all the considerations and aspects that can affect your home theatre installation plans. Consider how much you are willing to spend and how you will execute your envisioned home theatre experience to ensure things turn out as you imagined them to be. Remember, expectations do not always match what happens to your reality. So, plan and do it wisely.
- Know the room requirements. Among the top considerations when it comes to home theatre installation is the location where you will set up the home theatre system. For DIY enthusiasts, this means assigning which part of your home will be the perfect spot for your entertainment haven. There are several parts of your house that can pass as a potential room. You can set up the home theatre system in your very own living room and wow your guests with an ultimate cinematic feel even when you are just chilling out to binge-watch on Netflix. You can also make use of your basement and mimic a secluded area dedicated for your viewing pleasure. The key to determining which part of your house best passes as a home theatre sweet spot is to check out its dimension.
For one, professionals disapprove of rooms with completely even dimensions, which is why a square-shaped one is out of the question. A rectangular-shaped room is preferable as it is not prone to producing standing waves, unlike its square-shaped counterpart. Standing waves, in a nutshell, have something to do with bass sound effects being unevenly distributed. In effect, this messes up with the sound quality. You should also take note of the height of the ceiling and the presence of windows and doors. Ideally, the best home theatre setups are often seen in rooms with only one door and less to no windows, to eliminate distraction, lighting glares, and to contain the sound better.
Definitely, a larger room can accommodate bigger and wider screens, more speaker components, and allows for more seating. If, however, your chosen room is limited in space, you can always adjust each element in the home theatre system so that it matches the designated area.
- Select your screen. After knowing where you will set up your home theatre system, choosing the appliances that will comprise it is your next step. You can start off by selecting the screen that will display the shows that you want to watch. Choose one that can give you better visuals not just in size, but in quality as well. Take note of the newest features and trends that can be found in the latest models. Go for one that fits your budget, but do not skimp on quality and performance. Understand what the jargons (such as ultra-high definition (UHD), high dynamic range (HDR), and 4k, to name a few) actually mean and evaluate TV sets accordingly. Take advantage of popular trends like Wi-Fi connectivity and Smart TV features that allow you to not just watch your favourite movies, but also stream shows, interact on social media, and even do both at the same time. This screen will be literally one of your biggest appliance investments, so take time to know more about what each model can offer.
- Amp up the volume. After buying the perfect TV screen that will fit your home theatre goals, it’s time to liven up the room with the right sound system. As always, the market is chock full of choices when it comes to speakers, woofers, and sub-woofers, that can fill your home theatre area. The key to figuring out which ones to choose will depend on how much you really want to recreate the ultimate surround sound experience. If you want the full cinematic feel, you can always go for quantity and distribute them all around the room.
On the other hand, if a high-end audio output is not really your top priority, you can always choose the simple route and buy only the basic needs (usually a speaker, subwoofer, and some woofers will suffice). You just need to map it out and place it strategically, so the sound effects remain superb and pleasing.
- Spread out the seats. Once the audio and video components of your home theatre are in place, the next thing to do is to figure out the best position for your couch and recliners. Keep in mind the size of the screen as this will have a huge impact on seating distance and placement. As your TV screen grows larger, the farther your seats need to be for suitable and safe viewing. Take note of the viewing angle and orientation in relation to the seats, for optimum visual experience. As with any other room in your house, a balanced and well-thought layout for your home theatre will ensure maximum satisfaction to anyone who uses it.
- Keep the noise in. Finally, ensure that you soundproof your home theatre for both your and your neighbours’ peace of mind. Because while the ultimate audio-visual feels of a movie can be downright satisfying to you, your next-door neighbour might not feel the same. So, make sure you keep all the sound effects within the confines of your home theatre by installing elements that can block off noise and keep them from disturbing your neighbourhood. Some useful soundproofing add-ons include the use of drywall, installing acoustic panels and wall-to-wall carpets, as well as making use of thick and heavy drapes.
The home theatre of your dreams can always become a reality, many thanks to technology. And although some hand it to the pros to get the job done, you can always take the DIY road and execute your own home theatre installation. All you need is some careful planning and preparation, the right room and TV screen, strategic sound system and seating placement and some sound-proofing.
Author Bio: Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is the founder of One SEO, a multinational link building agency, author of Off-site SEO guide: A Hands-On SEO Tutorial For Beginners & Dummies, and a web content specialist who now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire, and many other outlets.