Tips For Building Home Theaters

Folks installing home theaters often have a lot of questions about how they should set their systems up. A good portion of the decision-making process hinges on what uses they have for their setups. Follow these tips to improve the experience you'll get from yours.

Picking an Audio System

For most people who want a fully immersive experience, the audio system is a critical component. The vast majority of requests that home theater services providers receive are for 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems, but what exactly does this mean?

The numbers refer to the total speakers in a setup. For example, a 5.1 system has a total of six speakers. These are two speakers to the left, two to the right, a center channel speaker, and a powered subwoofer. 7.1 sound implies the addition of one more left and one more right speaker, usually placed to the back of the listeners.

Targeting your audio is a key part of the setup process. The goal is to direct all the sound toward a sweet spot in a room, typically the main sofa in a living room or entertainment room. A home theater services technician can assist you in calibrating your system's sound based on the unique audio bounces that occur within your preferred room.

Adding Video

A rough rule of thumb for how large a screen will be needed in your home is to calculate how far from the TV you will be sitting. You'll need 10 inches of screen for approximately every foot of distance back you intend to sit. For example, a family that sits 10 feet back from the screen should look into a 100-inch screen in order to achieve an immersive theater experience. With the advent of wireless video game controllers, this should be less of an imposition on gamers, too.

Today's TVs regularly support 4k video quality even in the cheapest models, so support for high-def content should be a non-issue. 8k TVs are still fairly rare, and content for it is close to non-existent, but 8k is an excellent option if you aim to future-proof your setup.

Wiring Up

One of the big concerns will be getting all the wiring for your system under control. Using wireless speakers can help, but some components, such as HDMI cables for media players and game consoles, require a hard connection, and a technician can help hide them.