Designing a home theater requires a combination of smart planning and good visual taste. You should realize, however, that it takes a considerable experience to design a home theatre that features top-quality audio, video, and décor that best suits your space and personal taste. This doesn’t mean that you can’t design and build a home theater all by yourself.
You just need to be equipped with the right information and tools. While installing your theatre system you should try to avoid the following home theater design mistakes that could affect the success of your project.
Overly Complicated Operation
One of the most common home theater design mistakes is having a so complicated system that would give everyone a hard time operating. Nothing can be more frustrating than having to fumble through numerous commands just to start a movie. In fact, complicated controls are one of the major reasons many media rooms go unused.
It is advisable to allocate part of your home theater design budget for a control system that will automate the process of operating the various components. Furthermore, investing in components that address other aspects of your theater system, such as managing your movies, would also make your media room fun for everyone to use.
If there’s one home theater design mistake that can really ruin your viewing experience, then it’s having lights that drown out your video projection. A glare on the TV screen can be equally frustrating. A home theater needs to be dark.
If your theater has windows, avoid mounting the screen on the wall opposite the windows. Also, consider the surface of your TV screen. Namely, a matte surface minimizes light reflections. Conversely, a screen with an extra glass-like coating increases reflections from light sources, distracting from the picture.
Purchasing the Wrong Size TV
While everyone wants a large screen, an excessively large TV may not be the best choice for the room size or the viewing distance. The ideal viewing distance for 720p and 1080p HDTVs, for instance, should be approximately 1.5 times the width of the TV screen. What does this mean?
If you have a 55-inch Plasma or OLED HDTV, you should sit about 7-9 feet from the screen. To ensure you get perfect screen size for your media room, simply measure the available height and width you have in the room, as well as the seating distance from the screen. You don’t want to return your TV because it is too small or too large to fit the available space.
Too Many Seats
A good home theater design ensures that all seats in the room deliver the same experience in terms of video and audio performance. You should put seats away from walls and surround speakers. You know why?
Seats too close to walls result in a boomy bass while seats too close to speakers will lead to incorrect localization and screen door effect. So, how do you avoid this home theater design mistake?
You should allow at least a 4-foot space between any seat and a speaker or wall. If you’re using authentic home theater recliners that means a two-row theater will be about 23 feet long. Conversely, A 12-foot media room will have a three seat-row across the room, and add three feet for every additional seat across.
Unbalanced Speaker Levels
You have everything in place, but nothing sounds right – the subwoofer overwhelms your media room, the surround effect is too low, the dialogue is inaudible over the rest of the soundtrack. How do you solve this home theater design mistake?
First, ensure that nothing is blocking the sound coming from the speakers to your listening position. Likewise, avoid hiding the speaker behind the door of your media room. You can then balance the speakers by using a sound meter along with a DVD, CD, or Blu-ray Disc that provides test tones. Alternatively, you can use a test tone generator that could be built in right into most home theater receivers.
Nevertheless, most home theater receivers feature a setup program that helps in matching your speakers’ capabilities to the characteristics of your theater room. Different brands have different names for the programs:
- Audyssey – Denon/Marantz
- Anthem Room Correction – Anthem
- AccuEQ – Onkyo/Integra
- Digital Cinema Auto Calibration – Sony
- YPAQ – Yamaha
- MCACC – Pioneer
These programs, together with a provided microphone and built-in test tone generator in the receiver, determine the size of the speakers as well as their distance from the main listening position. They then use that information to help in adjusting each speaker’s sound output level.
Home theater design could be easier than you think, as long as you understand what you want. All you need to do is determine the overall quality of entertainment you want, decide on the perfect room, get the necessary electronics, and draw inspiration from the above tips to get the home theater design of your dreams.