There are few uses of technology more satisfying than sitting in a comfortable chair and watching a high definition film on a massive TV whilst being blown away by awesome, crystal clear surround sound and ideally with a cool drink fresh from the fridge (and maybe that ice cream hiding at the back of the freezer too).
If you are considering investing in such a system and you don’t happen to have unlimited amounts of money to spend, you should certainly take the time to plan your system and ensure that you get the best performance you can for your budget.
Seating Location And Stuff
Most people forget about where and how they actually sit, but this is perhaps the easiest and one of the cheapest ways to improve performance. Ideally you should have a comfy seat (to minimize distractions) away from the walls to allow sound to travel freely and without too high a back (as this can block sounds from behind).
The Room And Acoustics
You may not have a lot of choice here, but if you do, choosing the right room can make a surprising difference, and even if not, there are things you can do to improve the situation. The most obvious things to do are remove any unnecessary distractions or other furniture. Regardless of the flexibility you have, if you choose to consult with reputable Cinema Room Installers they will likely be able to offer you guidance on what to do in order to reap the greatest reward from installation of a cinema room in your current setup. This way it will feel even more worth the money you have spent.
Ideally you want nothing but the system and a chair, but in reality a few additional bits of furniture are alright as long as nothing is materially blocking or damping the sound. Investing in thick, lined curtains is often worthwhile to maximize visual impact and reduce glare which will be an annoyance no matter how expensive your TV is.
The Right TV
To an extent, the bigger the better for TVs, but that is only if you have the space and a big enough room. In a smaller room getting a bigger TV might be a waste of money and getting a smaller but better quality TV often makes more sense.
Visual boffins reckon the ideal viewing angle is 40 degrees, so from the main chair in the room the viewing angle from one side of the TV to the other must be no more than 40 degrees. The easiest way to work out your TV size is to measure the distance from your chair to the TV in inches and times is by 0.85. If it is borderline you might find it is best to move closer to the TV and get a smaller but better one.
[Read also: How to Stream Video from Your Computer to Your HDTV]
The Best Sound
Obviously the more you have to spend on speakers the better your sound will be, but after a point you are just paying for more volume that you won’t use (how often do you really have your TV on full volume?). Rather than focusing on power, go for a balanced system that is consistent.
Firstly, make sure your bass speakers are similar in equivalent power to your mid range. Bass sounds great, but in most movies it is the mid range where the actual story happens and whilst I love a good explosion, I like to be able to hear people speaking too.
Try to position your speakers not too close together and a consistent distance from your main seats so that everyone gets the same sound. Ideally you want the center channel above the TV, but below is OK too.
The forward side speaks are best positioned just above the height of half way up the TV – since this is where characters mouths are most likely to be. The surround speakers should be at a similar height just behind the main seats and pointing slightly towards the TV. Oh and don’t put the woofer against the wall!
Connecting It Up
That’s about the end of the scope for this post, the final thing to do is connect everything up. To do that you will need wires of course – this is one area where a little extra expense is worth it, because the sound coming out of your speakers is only as good as the signal going in.
Other than that though, if you follow all of these tips, whatever your budget you should get the best out of the components you buy and more often than not the result will be better than if you had spent twice the money and not done your homework!