Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone had an impressive home theater system? With all of the equipment, technical knowledge and money needed to set one up, many are too intimidated and think it’s too expensive to think about setting one up of their own. These step-by-step instructions will help you install a respectable starter home theater that’s financially sensible to turn your extra living space into the ultimate movie night destination.
1. Prepare an Entertainment Room
The first step to setting up any home theater is finding the right room for it. Things like lighting and acoustics will figure heavily into your entertainment experience, so put some thought into these factors before shopping for electronics.
For starters, find a room with as few doors and windows as possible a basement would work wonderfully. This setup will insulate your theater from outside noise, while also keeping your sound system from leaking into other parts of the house. Think about covering up hard floors with rugs or carpeting and other surfaces that can deflect any sound. Also place drapes over any windows, and install dimmer switches to control the level of light in the room.
2. Furnishing Your Home Theater
There’s two schools of thought when it comes to furnishing your home theater, either going the luxury theater route with individualized reclining chairs, while this can get expensive buying one for each family member, and a few more for guests, it will make your theater that much more comfortable and give it a high end, luxury, custom feeling.
The other is what I call the family route, using a couple of couches for seating which is less expensive per seat and is more intimate for viewing with your spouse or kids. If you’re going this route, you’ll likely want this room to be more multifaceted for everyday use. So, if you have the space, go for it and add some side tables, coffee tables, lamps and an entertainment center to hold and organize various media input boxes and your movies in.
If you’re up to it, and want to give your home theater even more of a custom feel with more dimensions to it, you could think about building a simple foot high platform (with a few screws, 2 by 4’s and boards of wood) to elevate the couches in the back and create stadium seating feel. Finish off the platform with red or black carpeting and even some string lights around the edges to give it a theater feel.
3. Choose a Display
You’re making a dedicated home theater, and unless you can splurge on a 70-80 inch HDTV, getting an HD projector is the only sensible way to go. You can get a giant 100+ inch display for relatively low cost, for $800-$1200 you can get a good midrange projector, it’s even possible to even get a 3D projector in that range. When selecting a media input for your screen most any Blu-ray player will suffice, however try and opt for one that can access the internet, so you can download and use apps and receive firmware updates to keep it up to date with new features and fixes.
Now for the actual screen the image is going to projected upon, you could go either 2 ways, a roll up removable screen, or if you have a plain flat wall to project on, you can paint it to your desired size. Use white tones in very dark rooms and grey/silver tones in rooms with some ambient light and you need special 3D projector paint if you want go to that route. Be sure to add a deep black border around your painted screen to enhance the contrast. If you want to go the extra mile, get some red velvet curtains to hang around the screen to give it a classic Hollywood feel.
4. Customize Your Sound System
Lastly, think about what kind of sound system will fit your entertainment needs. The main factor to remember when shopping for sound equipment is to have at least five speakers and one subwoofer, these can range anywhere from $200 and up. This setup is based on Dolby 5.1 surround sound, which distributes audio outputs evenly throughout your entertainment room to give you the sense that the sound is all around you, making that serial killer in the movie seem like he’s actually creeping up behind you. Make sure to place speakers far enough from the television that they won’t cause interference, or select speakers with magnetic shielding.
Once you’ve figured out everything you need for your entertainment center, the only thing left is to hook it all up. As long as you’ve followed these steps to find the right equipment, you’ll have the ultimate home theater installed in no time!