Buying all the right equipment for your home theater is only half the battle of creating an incredible theater space in your home. State-of-the-art TVs or display screens; expensive projectors; booming speaker systems for cinema-quality sound; comfortable custom theater seats; a home theater system remote control that can integrate every piece of the system: while all these elements are essential to a quality home theater installation, they won’t get you there on their own. There is another part of the process, and it’s nearly as important as investing in the right equipment.
Home Theater Setup: The Secret X-Factor
With the proper setup, the raw ingredients of a home theater go beyond their sheer technological prowess to become something more. Even with a less-than-ideal setup, a big TV screen or a good sound system can make the home viewing experience better. With the right setup and all the pieces in the right places, your media room can create the true movie magic that is typically only reserved for big-screen movie theaters. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps you can take to achieve this X-factor and wow anyone who steps into your home theater.
Step 1: Know all the components
Check your checklist and make sure you’ve made plans for every component you need to build a top-tier home theater. At Starpower, we can help you out with one of our media room packages. In any case, there are five categories you need to cover before you should even start thinking about setup. They are as follows:
- The TV or display screen/projector
- The sound system
- The seating
- The universal remote control
- The perfect space
The last point is the hardest to achieve. You’ll want a sizable space where you can control the light and where you can minimize noise bleed into or out of the theater room. Some homes already have a perfect space—often a basement. Others require a bit of renovation to achieve this type of space.
The TV or display screen is the centerpiece of your home theater. It is also probably the most difficult piece of equipment to select. Go too small, and your media room will seem to dwarf the screen, effectively rendering the entire room ineffective. Go too big for the space you have, and you won’t be able to sit far enough away to see the whole screen. There’s a reason no one sits in the front row at movie theaters.
Knowing the exact dimensions of your media room is a must before you start shopping for TVs, screens, or projectors. That means length, width, and height. Knowing these details—and sharing the dimensions of the room with your sales associate at Starpower—will help us advise you on a few key details. Figuring out screen location, seating distance, and optimal projector location (if applicable) is a genuine math problem. In fact, there are calculators on the Internet designed to help you figure out the right measurements for your home theater setup. Our team at Starpower is happy to advise as well, though.
Step 3: Figure out seating location
The ideal location of your custom theater seats is going to be a product of the screen size and the layout/dimensions of the room. However, the good news is that your seats are generally going to be much easier to move around than your screen or projector. As such, you can enjoy a little bit of trial and error with this part of the process. While movie theaters attach their seats to the floor, there isn’t really any need to do that with your home theater. There will be many fewer people in your media room than at the local cinema, which means less jostling of seats or worries about something getting knocked out of place.
So, your best bet for choosing optimal seating location is to start testing things out. Once you’ve selected a screen that is appropriately sized to suit your media room, bring in one your theater seats—or perhaps even just a regular chair, if you haven’t bought media room seating yet—and move it around to different spots throughout the room. Play a movie on the screen and try sitting in a few different spots, taking notes on how much you have to look up or from side to side to see the screen. Your goal should be to place the seats so that you can take in the whole screen without needing to move your head or hold your neck in an awkward position. In most cases, your first row of seats will be about twice as far from your screen as the horizontal length of the screen. So, if the screen is 80 inches across, your first row of seats will likely be about 160 inches from the screen.
How you set up your home theater sound system will depend in large part on how many speakers the system includes. One of our preferred packages at Starpower, for instance, features a subwoofer for home theater, along with two tower speakers, one center channel speaker, and two surround sound speakers. This type of setup—often referred to as a 5:1 surround sound system—is fairly standard for a home theater. You’ll want three of the speakers (the towers and the center channel) toward the front of the media room and near the screen. The others (the surround sound speakers) will be slightly behind your back row of seats. A system with more speakers—a 7:1 surround sound system, for instance—gives you more opportunities to place speakers behind or alongside the seats.
The last thing you will want to do during your favorite action movie is get up to adjust the volume, or fiddle around with half a dozen different remotes to figure out which one controls which part of the system. While some home theater setup guides leave the universal home theater system remote control out, it really is an integral part of the system. Alternatively, you can ask Starpower about helping you design a Bluetooth home theater setup, where you will be able to control everything via your smartphone or tablet.
Work with Us on Your Home Theater Design and Installation
At Starpower, we are here to help you design and install the perfect home theater. From the selection of the right equipment to the setup of your media room, we are here to help you achieve the home cinema X-factor. Contact us today to learn more.