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Are You Placing Price Ahead of Your Home Theater System Performance?


A home theater system is one of the most exciting entertainment options that provides you and your family years of continued enjoyment. The thought of selecting components for a home theater might seem a daunting task, so we've put together this guide on essential home theater elements to assure an excellent private theater experience in your New York home.

Essential Element #1 Distraction-free, high quality acoustical environment
A home theater starts with a space that incorporates acoustic qualities and treatments that enhance the user’s listening experience, while also isolating the space to minimize residual sound that “leaks" into other areas of the home.  Proper acoustical treatment in a theater is a science that involves the proper use of acoustic element and materials, as well as construction techniques that will: diffuse, reflect and absorb different frequencies of the audio program to enhance sound quality. Getting your home theater acoustics right greatly improves the emotional effect and overall enjoyment of the theater space - and your entire home.

SEE ALSO: Why do Acoustics Matter in a Home Theater?

Essential Element #2: Video Display Device
Within a home theater, the visual experience is certainly an important one to consider. After all, isn't the idea to bring the movie theater experience home? The size and layout of the room will determine the size of the screen that the space can accommodate. Whether you want to hide the projection screen in the ceiling or have it rise from the floor, ACS will make the design process easy so you get the best view from every seat in the room.  

Video projectors have come down in price dramatically in recent years, allowing homeowners to achieve excellent results for far less then it cost even five years ago.  Among the features to look for in a video projector are:

  • light source and brightness,
  • resolution,
  • dynamic contract,
  • fan noise and ease of calibration.

For the ultimate home theater experience, we recommend a professionally-installed, high-end projector that will create a stunning image and make a great impression on any audience.  With so many acronyms and technological terms, finding the right projector can be confusing. Our home theater experts can help answer common questions regarding features, technical specifications, and other important considerations when it comes to choosing a projector. 

Essential Element #3: Loudspeakers
Much like the video projector and screen selection, the size, and type of room will impact the type of loudspeakers you choose. Whether speakers are in-wall, in-room, or behind an acoustically transparent projection screen, ACS will carefully choose which approach is best for you.  The surround sound format you choose (based on room size and budget) will determine the quantity and placement of your speakers.  A Dolby Atmos HD 7.1 surround sound format, or higher is often recommended.  Based on your space and budget, ACS will help you choose and place the speakers that are best for your home theater - and then match your surround sound processor and other audio gear to your speaker system.

No doubt you've heard the Dolby Atmos difference. Commercial movie theaters employ such technology to transport you into the story and envelope you in sound, creating breathtaking realism.  Dolby Atmos, unlike traditional surround sound, allows sound to exist as individual entities meaning they can move about the room, even overhead. 

Essential Element #4: Component Rack
Besides the projector, screen, and speakers, there are other pieces of equipment necessary to run your home theater. The surround sound processor, video switcher, and power amplifiers, are necessary components between your streaming media devices, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and cable or satellite boxes to make your system complete. Typically, home theater rooms have a dedicated space, such as a closet or properly sized mill work, where these components live.  This space must be properly ventilated to assure trouble free operation of your equipment.  Aside from appropriate, “clean and protected” AC power, wired network connectivity is a must.

Essential Element #5: Lighting
To ensure the right viewing environment within a home theater, careful placement of lighting is essential. Front projectors generally require darkness for the best viewing experience, but a properly designed dedicated home theater also requires accent lighting so guests can safely and easily enter and move about the space.  Multiple, dimming lighting zones, isolating the front (screen) area from the entry area, and the seating areas is a must.  Using a simple dimming system that can produce "lighting scenes" and also integrate with your theater control system is the best approach to theater lighting.  Using strings of lower powered fixtures greatly helps improve the drama, comfort, and uniqueness of your home theater space.

In fact, the color temperature of lighting can impact the quality of the video in your home theater.  Besides fluorescent, dimmable LEDs are the only type of light source that can be dialed into the ideal (6,500 degrees Kelvin) color temperature. 

Essential Element #6: Ease of Use
Take back control of your home theater and toss out all those remotes. Instead control everything from the lights and the loudspeakers to the cable box and the videogame console from a single device.  At ACS we consolidate all the functionality into a touch screen device with a simple layout everyone can master.

In this blog, we cover some of the basics of a home theater, but as you might imagine there are a number of other elements that make up the space such as seating, acoustical treatments, and control systems. If you'd like to discuss designing a home theater, please reach out.  At ACS we have staff trained in theater design and calibration.  Our CAD Department has the capability to produce plans, elevations, and detailed drawings and work along with your architect, designer, or builder. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

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