Creating a Home Theatre

There was a time when the only decent way you could see films was to go to your local cinema or movie theatre. With the invention of VHS tape, it became possible to watch films at home, either recorded from the TV, or by buying the film on a VHS tape. The quality of the picture and sound on VH tape was pretty abysmal, and so if you wanted to have a full filmic experience there was nothing for it but to go to your local movie theatre.

How things have changed! With huge Plasma/LED screens available, digital reproduction is now available to us all. Not only that but you can simulate the cinema “surround-sound” experience in your own front room with friends and family. A “home theatre” sounds grand, but it can be as grand or as modest as you want. What you go for will depend mainly on two things; your budget and the size and layout of the room you plan to install the home theatre system in.

But are we all on the same page here? What is a home theatre system? It’s actually whatever you want it to mean! Generally speaking, a home theatre system is a combination of electronic components designed to recreate the experience of watching a movie in a theatre. It’s normally composed of screen, a dvd/Blu-Ray player plus set top box, and then speakers to give you a surround sound experience (five speakers for 5.1, and more for more sophisticated sound systems).

Many people install their home theatre system in their lounge- because it is often the largest room in a home, and it’s likely that you already have a sofa and armchairs there for you and others to watch films together.

The basic necessities to create your home theatre are a minimum 27-inch or larger television, movie playing device (DVD/Blu-Ray is recommended), speakers, a surround sound capable stereo receiver, all the cables and connectors and a high-quality surge protector.

The screen should be the focus of attention and positioned at eye level (when sitting down)- I’ve seen some affixed high up a wall and you get neck strain by the end of the film!

The speakers should be positioned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and there are usually programmes for you to test each speaker and the “boom box” woofer for the bass frequencies.

If you want to go the whole hog then you could install electric curtains that can be opened or closed with a remote, and even make sure that half-way through the film you have a popcorn break!  One consideration you’ll have to ponder is how many people could be looking at a film. Some screens are better viewed directly in front, and aren’t so good seen from the edge angles. When looking at a screen in a shop, walk right to each edge of the screen to see how the picture changes if at all. Finally, the more you pay for your screen, the better the reproduction will be… the blacks will look black and not shades of grey!