Building the Perfect Home Theater Room

Building the Perfect Home Theatre

Gone are the days of just slapping a semi-decent flat screen on the wall and calling it a home theater. Today’s new homes, and many renovated older homes are beginning to feature this use-specific room, and it’s worth spending some time looking at what will make it not just a home theater, but a GREAT home theater!

First, plan it out. My father used to tell me (when doing just about any project) that the prep work was more important than the finish. Think model cars, painting, real cars, dirt-bikes – whatever. The principle holds true to home theater rooms as well. There is nothing more annoying than seeing cables running outside a wall, speakers mounted incorrectly, and components that don’t play well with others. (well, maybe there are a few things more annoying – like people who leave the clear screen protectors on their remotes and electronics, but I digress)

A properly planned out theater room should encompass every aspect of the finished room. Consult a professional – they really do know what they are doing, and will save you hassles and headaches down the road. Even if you opt not to seek professional help, just sit still for a minute with a blank piece of paper and think through everything. Where will your cables run? Where will the TV be mounted? Where will the speakers need to go? Can all the components be hidden? How much seating will I need? What type of sound insulation barrier should I use? What about the acoustics in the room?

Second, think a bit about (ergo PLAN!) the end use of the room. Sometimes people can get lost in the gear – they want the double woofer doohickey with blue-tooth controls and a data link to the mars rover – and in the end, don’t know how to use any of it, and only got sucked into it because a guy with think glasses at Best Buy said it was the best. Really? You going with that guys advice on life decisions?

Instead, focus on what your are going to do in this room, and build it around the activities. Do you watch movies or listen to music? Is it an intimate setting, a family area or will it be used for extensive entertaining? Is it going to be only a theater or are you planning on having a pool table or a mini-bar involved? Your plans should take into account the size of the room, the type of equipment that is going into it, and the number of people that may be in the finished room. Focus less on gear, and more on use, and you’ll be much happier with the end product.

Finally, remember these little tidbits of wisdom and you’ll be in good shape: 

1. If you don’t need it, don’t have it. (Think DVD players… 🙂

2. If you can see it, hide it. (OK, OK, I’ll give you a waiver for the TV or the screen)

3. More than 1 remote is unacceptable. (Yes I am serious! Get with the program and buy a good digital universal remote)

4. Dimmable lighting is a must. Stop worrying about the turtles and the ozone layer and make sure you have good dimmable lights. No curly-cue fluorescents or harsh LEDS, unless they are dimmable!!

5. Data, Data, Data. Your room should be smart, not dumb! Every componant should have access to hardwired or a good WiFi data source internet access. (Hulu+, AppleTV, Netflix – these are the future. Embrace them.)

6. If you do nothing else, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL to hook up and calibrate the final set of equipment. (Yes, yes I understand that you are a regular MacGyver when it comes to building a shed or replacing the valves on a 57′ Deville, but unless you are Edward A. MonsterCable himself, then you have no idea how to setup that gear properly. Hire someone!

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