|Going to the Movies in the Comfort of Home
Once you have made the decision to go ahead and install a home theater system the logical progression would be to find someone to do it. One of the first things that you should look for when choosing your installer is someone with a CEDIA certification. CEDIA stands for Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. Individuals with CEDIA certification are experts in the field who have gained a higher education in this type of installation.
After locating a certified installer the they will likely ask you is what are your viewing habits. When installing a home theaters different focuses will be placed on different areas depending on the individual’s viewing habits. “If someone is having a home theater installed to primarily view concerts they are going to want a higher end sound system than someone who just wants to watch television in their home theater,” notes Robert Natereli, owner of Northern Neck Solutions in Lancaster.
Another important part of getting started is to know what you are looking to spend for your home theater and what you are looking to get in return. “It’s very important to understand expectations on both sides of this process,” adds C.D. Hathaway, Director of Field Services for Southern Electronics in Kilmarnock. “That is why we offer a free in home consultation so there is a clear understanding of what the budget is and the type of performance that is available for that price range.”
The second issue that will come up is where to put the home theater. While a home theater system can be put in any room in your home it is best if they are installed in a darker room. These are usually interior, square rooms without windows, or minimal direct sunlight. “With so many waterfront communities windows are very popular in this region. In situations like these we can use blackout curtains, offer a different type of display system, or they could simply opt to only use the theater in the evenings, after dark,” explains Natereli.
“A lot of our clients are installing their home theater systems into multipurpose rooms,” notes Hathaway. “In circumstances like these aesthetics are increasing important. Our clients with multipurpose rooms are going to be more inclined to want equipment that can be tucked away, or hidden, when they are not using the room as a theater.”
The display system that is installed depends largely upon the preference of the homeowner and where they are using it. “If the theater room is a brighter room typically a flat screen LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) television will be used, these television screens do not reflect light,” says Natereli. “In darker rooms there isn’t the concern of light interference and a projector can be used.”
What the room is used for also plays into the selection of the display system. If it is a multipurpose room clients typically prefer the LCD or Plasma television. Additionally, “there is a rule of thumb about how far away the viewing area is from the television and the size of the television,” explains Hathaway. “In a smaller room you don’t need as large of a television screen and we recommend LCD or Plasma televisions. In larger rooms it is more common to have a projector.”
Selecting a sound system is one of the next major decisions that must be made. “When making this selection the idea is to recreate the sound the way it was designed by the producer in the movies or at a concert hall,” says Natereli. Sound systems range anywhere from $3,000 for the entire system to individual speakers that are $90,000 a piece. This decision is made according to what the customer wants and is planning to use the home theater for. “One thing to remember when decorating your theater room is to watch for pictures that are framed with glass because glass is reflective to sound and you will get a lot of bounce and echo.”
Sound systems can be installed in a variety of different ways. “Sometimes our customers prefer the larger speakers. Other times they would like for the speakers to be very small or almost hidden,” explains Hathaway. “As an authorized Bose dealer we can provide very small speakers that can produce a lot of noise, or we can even install the speakers into the wall, during the construction phase or in retrofit.” Hathaway continues that “in very large open homes it is sometimes necessary it install the speakers in the ceiling to get the right sound.”
It is important to install a system for playing the imaging that meets the needs of the customer. There are DVD changers available that can hold 301 DVDs. Other options include a multimedia server, which is a computer that is hooked up to the viewing system and can copy your DVD’s and play them back out upon request. “There are a lot of very interesting systems out right now. We have systems that can hook up to online services like NetFlix and allow you to download and play immediately,” says Hathaway. “We also have systems that can store movies and allow them to be played in any room in your home, not just your home theater.”
Lighting is also key to enjoying the viewing process. “It’s really cool how, if done right, it can be done with just the touch of one button. There are systems available that can take you from watching TV to watching a DVD to listening to the radio to playing a game. This system makes it really easy for the homeowner to use,” explains Natereli. “You can even program these systems to do the lighting changes. For instance, when the projector comes on the room lighting will go down to 50%, then when you press play the lighting goes all the way down. This is a lot like what you experience when you go to a movie theater.”
Furnishing your home theater takes you to another level completely. “Theatre furniture is nice, but you are going to pay a high price for a good quality theater chair. It is depends largely on what the person is trying to do with the room. Each customer should go with their own taste. If they want theatre chairs great, if not that is great also,” states Natereli. “What is very important is furniture for the theater equipment. You want to make sure the equipment is well ventilated and has a lot of space. Other than that it is no holds bars.”
It is important to remember that the home theater system should be installed in a way that enhances your viewing experience; whether it be top of the line or somewhere less than that. Hiring a good installer should allow you to make the best decisions on your home theater and how it can meet your viewing needs.