Looking for home theater information? We've got it! With the right planning, investing in a home theater can be one of the best enhancements to your lifestyle. Home theaters are great for relaxing, entertaining, and bringing the whole family together. One important thing to remember in considering your many home theater options is that the sum of the parts is usually greater than the whole.
Media Room or Home Theater?
The first step is to plan your space. Will you have a dedicated home theater room or will your system be in a multi-purpose media room? Either way can be fantastic. A dedicated home theater is designed specifically for entertainment: enjoying movies, sports, TV, and video gaming. Basements, attics, bonus rooms, or spare rooms are great as dedicated home theater spaces. A media room serves for more than entertaining. A family room or bonus room usually doubles as a media room as well.
Screen Size and Viewing Distance
The next steps are deciding both the location and size for your video display. Both the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and THX Ltd. (a developer of quality standards founded by Lucasfilm) have recommendations on this subject. This step is very important to get right, and is probably the most difficult one to fix if you get it wrong.
Acoustics and Soundproofing
It's important to have a great picture, but a movie without good sound is a terrible experience. You must be able to clearly understand dialogue. Great sound immerses you in a film's sound effects. All things being equal, acoustic treatments (these can be carefully done, normal room furnishings) have a larger impact on the sound than almost any component. Another thing to consider is soundproofing. Will late night viewing disturb others? Should you do something about it?
Choosing the Right Equipment
This is the fun part for most people. Significant improvements in video technology can give you a great picture for a fraction of the cost only 10 years ago. This allows more room in your budget for great sound. Unlike video, audio pricing has held very steady in its cost to performance ratio. Recent improvements in home theater speakers will make your surround sound experience even more fun. Matching all your equipment up is where FusionPoint experts and our experience will be a big help.
Home Theater Magic
In many cases, spending a few extra dollars on a great remote control or lighting control can add wow to your creation. We've got lots of suggestions and advice about how to create your own personal magic.
Other areas to consider are expert audio and video calibration; electrical and power needs; ventilation and HVAC planning; and integrating video gaming. When your installation is complete, we will instruct you in the best ways to get the most fun from your new installation. You can also rest easy knowing if you have a problem we offer on-call technicians and an in-house service department.
We hope you have lots of fun with your future home theatre or media room!
In many homes, the family room serves as the media room. The focal point in many family rooms is a fireplace in the middle of a wall with either blank wall space or cabinets flanking the fireplace. Placing a flat screen TV over the fireplace mantle is a very popular design option. This can be great, if you can position seats far enough away so you don't feel like you're looking at the ceiling to see the TV. When you select your desired screen size, we suggest cutting a cardboard or poster board pattern to match the dimensions and placing it at the proposed location. Sit back in your chair and look at it for a few minutes. Does your viewing position feel comfortable? If it does, that's great. If not, consider placing your TV lower: either to one side of the fireplace or even on another wall.
If you plan to enjoy your media room during the day for more than casual viewing, then consider how sunlight streaming through windows may shine on your TV. Sunlight glare can wash out a picture. It's very easy to fix this problem with curtains, window treatments, or some impressively quiet and elegant motorized shades.
Speaker Placement Options
If you get one thing right, make sure to get the best center channel speaker you can afford and position it properly. All the dialogue in a movie comes out of the center channel speaker and if you can't understand dialogue, you can't follow the plot! Ideally, your center channel should be located directly above or below the TV. If you decide to place your TV above a mantle, you can put the center channel speaker over it to get the screen a bit lower. Some center channels can be customized to match the width of your TV to create a complementary look. FusionPoint has a wide selection of center channel speakers for every design consideration.
Follow this general rule for the best placement of your left and right speakers: create a 45 to 60 degree angle between the speakers and your main seating position. Each room is different, of course, and our trained staff can help you plot the best angle for you.
Your subwoofer (the speaker providing deep bass effects) can sometimes be hidden in a cabinet. Two things you should remember are: the worst spot for a subwoofer is in the middle of your room, and the best place is close to a corner. Again, we can help you with placement options.
Surround speakers can be positioned on side walls or the rear wall. In media rooms, location usually depends on architectural elements of the room such as windows and doorways. In an existing home, wiring for wall-mounted speakers is typically much less time consuming and invasive than for ceiling speakers. Sketch out your room for us and we can advise you on your best surround speaker options. Speaker possibilities may be dipole, bipole, or directional depending on your room and your seating.
If you are creating a media room from scratch or have easy ceiling access, there are many ceiling mount speakers that can be angled toward the listening position. If properly planned, these can be very inconspicuous while not sacrificing audio quality.
In situations where you absolutely have no room for a speaker anywhere other than at the TV, something you may consider is a speaker bar, with multiple speakers in one compact cabinet.
In many rooms, existing cabinets can be adapted to house components. However, it's critical for your components' life expectancy that they have adequate ventilation. Your amplifier or receiver will generate heat. The cable box, satellite box, or video game system will also radiate huge amounts of heat. Drilling holes for passive ventilation is usually not enough, so FusionPoint can install a ventilation fan in the cabinet to exhaust hot air. A remote mounted, thermostat controlled fan is even better. We can mount one of these fans in your crawl space so you never hear the fan noise!
A typical family room usually has adequate acoustic properties. Window treatments are a plus, as are plants, furniture, rugs, bookcases full of books, wall hangings, or anything else that breaks up reflected sound. An example of a challenging room is one with very high ceilings and lots of sheetrock walls that reflect sound quite a bit, making it very difficult to understand movie dialogue tracks. When FusionPoint calibrates a room like this, we make adjustments to provide the best possible dialogue reproduction. If you deal with this kind of room, consider adding enough furniture and fabric to absorb sound reflections and keeping the center channel height close to your seated ear level.
If no one knows how to turn the system on and select his or her options, it's obvious that enjoyment will suffer! A well-planned and programmed remote control makes all of the difference between a system that's a joy to use and one that is totally frustrating. Reliable system controls are available so you can conceal all your components and perfectly transmit signals to them. FusionPoint offers a wide range of control options that are dependable and easy to use.
The Ultimate Media Room
Imagine a room with a medium sized flat panel TV for casual daytime viewing. When evening movie time arrives, one simple button push on your remote control causes sleek, motorized blackout shades to descend as your lights dim. Your theater screen quietly lowers from its ceiling hiding place at the same time. The screen is filled with bright, crystal clear images from your hidden projector, as music from the soundtrack envelops you, creating a complete motion picture experience. The FusionPoint design team can help you create this ultimate media room experience in your home and help make your other home entertainment dreams come true!
HOME THEATER ROOMS
The true home theater experience can take you away to another place. You become so immersed in the film you feel like you are part of the movie. This is what happens when you create a real home theater room, dedicated to surround sound and great video!
The Film Experience
The goal is to create exactly what happens in a movie theater, with the image from a high quality projector reflecting to your eyes from a large film screen. FusionPoint's expert will assist you in choosing the right size screen for your room. Your screen size, its height off the floor, and how many rows of seats you have are factors to account for in your theater room design. The key is getting the sight lines right. You want all viewers to enjoy the entire picture without having to look over or around someone's head, and you don't want viewers to have to stretch their necks to see the screen. Agian, FusionPoint's experts can help with this, laying out in CAD format almost all of our dedicated front projection home theatres. Line of sight is a tricky subject and can make or break a room where more than a couple of people will enjoy the film experience.
In designing a dedicated home theater room, you should not have to worry about anything other than making things perfect for sight and sound. (That's why you made it a dedicated room!) We can help you with screen layout, plus projector, speaker and component placement. Other important considerations are how it will look and how the room can be treated for acoustics. Many magazines and web sites can give you ideas for the architectural look of your theater. FusionPoint also has designers we work with on theater appointments. We cannot stress enough how big a difference the proper acoustics approach will make in the enjoyment of your theater.
Acoustics and Soundproofing
In designing a dedicated home theater, speaker placement is extremely important. By far, the most important track in a film is the dialogue track. This is produced through the center channel speaker. If you cannot understand dialogue, the impact of the movie is greatly reduced. In theater rooms with multiple rows of seats, hearing dialogue clearly can be a challenge. Not only should your family and guests be able to see all of the screen, they need to hear all of the speakers. No speaker is more important than the center channel. It's fairly easy to get sound right when there is only one row of home theater seating, but with two or more rows, the location of the center channel becomes critical. Our experts will help you with your design to optimize the center speaker position.
There is a good rule to follow for the best separation of the left and right speakers. We like to see them at about a 45 to 60 degree angle with the main seating position. Use a 45 degree position if the main use of the room is movies, spread the speakers further apart if you will also be enjoying concert videos or audio. Our staff can help you plot this out.
The subwoofer (the speaker providing deep bass effects) can usually be hidden under the screen. Again, we can help with design options. Remember that the worst spot for a subwoofer is in the middle of your room, the best, close to a corner. And the more subs the better - four is ideal!
Finally, surround speakers can be positioned to your sides and on the rear wall. You should have one or more pairs of side speakers and one pair of rear speakers. Their placement will be related to how your seating arrangement works out. We can offer lots of advice here.
In most dedicated home theater rooms, equipment is housed outside the room to minimize noise. It is critical for the life expectancy of components that they have adequate ventilation. Your amplifier or receiver will put out some heat, but the cable box, satellite box, or video game radiate a great deal of heat. If you use an existing cabinet, passive ventilation by drilling holes is not sufficient to exhaust hot air. FusionPoint typically installs a ventilation fan in the cabinet to exhaust the hot air, and using a remote mounted thermostat controlled fan is even better. We can mount one of these in your crawl space so you never hear the fan noise.
Controlling It All
If no one can figure out how to turn the system on and make selections, its obvious the enjoyment factor will drop! A well thought out remote control can make all of the difference! Reliable options now exist so you can hide all your components and get signals to them perfectly. We offer you a wide range of options.
The Ultimate Home Theater
Imagine an area of your home decorated with a cinema theme, perhaps with a vintage popcorn machine and concession area setting off the area outside the screening room. Your invited guests gather here for wine and conversation before the movie begins. At the scheduled time for your film, your lighting control system automatically dims your lights as programmed, signaling when you and your guests should move to your theater to enjoy this week’s latest Blu-ray movie release. When everyone is seated, a single touch to your personalized touch screen controller dims the lights to viewing level, activates your projector and starts the movie. During the film, images have almost three-dimensional vividness, and you are enveloped in the music and effects of the soundtrack, clearly understanding everything that is said. When the movie ends, your friends comment that the experience is so much better than a movie theater, they can’t imagine why you would ever leave home! Is this your ultimate home theater dream? Whatever yours happens to be, our design team can help your dream come true.
When you are designing your home theater room, don't forget one of the most important parts-the seating! FusionPoint is proud to feature theater seats from Palliser. If you're designing a dedicated home theater room, you'll want at least a row or two of theater seats. There are many seat covering options available, from highly durable fabrics to the finest quality leathers. There are options for drink holders, motorized reclining, and integrated bass shakers.
If you have children, it's likely their friends will be coming over to use the theater and making your home the neighborhood hang out. (Take it from me-that's a good thing!)
We invite you to visit our showroom and sit in our samples of theater seating. We're sure you will find something that fits your style and budget.