Transforming living spaces into astonishing entertainment spaces has been increasingly popular among home owners. Your decision to create a dedicated cinema room for getting the true cinema experience right in the comfort of your home can look like a tough process. However, there are few pointers that could help you get the best from your space. We’ve compiled a list of things you could focus on for your home cinema investment.
1. DO I NEED A DEDICATED SPACE FOR HOME CINEMA
One of the biggest decisions you will need to make for your home cinema will be choosing a location in your home. While many homeowners prefer converting their unused spaces such as attic or basement, it’s also a popular option to transform existing spaces to offer full screen immersion with surround sound. However, whether you want conversion, transformation or new build, there is always a right system available for your cinema room.
2. ROOM SIZE AND SHAPE?
For the best results in home cinema with perfect acoustics a rectangular room is the ideal but not the only solution. Rectangular rooms offer better advantage in acoustics compared to square rooms.
A room free from ambient light helps create the correct lighting scenario for movies. However, if there are windows in your desired cinema room you can opt for blinds that automatically close for a movie.
Retrofitting an existing can offer advantages such as lower installation cost and fewer construction work.
Some homeowners prefer building a dedicated home cinema room as an extension to their home. This option might appear costly and complex. However, choosing this route would enable you to create a truly dedicated space with perfect size, shape and acoustics.
3. SEATING OPTIONS
Screen size and minimum viewing distance will dictate the number of seats available in you home cinema, if two or more rows of seats are desired the length of room is important. Ideally two rows would be in a tiered configuration allowing the back row to have an unobstructed view of the screen. If room length is a problem then it may be better to opt for a single row of formal seating and large bean-bags for floor seating.
Although you can opt in for any seating you want, dedicated cinema seating helps increase the comfort for your entertainment. Bespoke seats from Fortress, Cineca & Palladio for instance, can be tailor made in terms of colour, finish, arm rest and recline/incline options. Often overlooked due to budget restraints, dedicated seating will bring an element of luxury into your home cinema.
4. Display Vs Projector
Displays are less prone to being affected by external lights. However, due to size limitations of the available TV screens, they might not be an option in larger rooms with an increased viewing distance.
LED screens, are losing their advantages against newer technologies such as OLED TVs.
LED screens often yield a brighter image than OLED but can’t produce perfect blacks due to the backlighting system. FALD (full-array local dimming) combats this problem by having much more control over the backlight system but comes at a cost.
OLED screens offer ‘perfect black’ as each individual pixel has the ability to be controlled and/or turned off completely. However OLED screens aren’t typically bright so may not be suitable for bright environments
For larger rooms and dedicated cinema rooms, projection is often the best choice. They offer significantly greater screen sizes and by using an Acoustically transparent screen we can place the front speakers behind the screen for perfect realism…the sound and vision come from the same place, impossible with a TV.
Light output of the projector is critical for achieving the best image quality on screen. Environmental factors have to be considered such as ambient light and how that light is managed.
Although a projector is the ideal solution for that cinematic experience, if the room is also going to be used for general TV viewing then it may be worth considering a quality TV and projection system combined….there are several ways to achieve this.
5. INTEGRATED LIGHTING
With the help of integrated lighting systems, it is possible to attain true cinematic experiences where lighting plays an important part in ensuring true immersion.
Automated systems like Control4 enable you to pre-define lighting modes such as cinema, reading, chilling and socialising. For example, the cinema mode can automatically dim the lights and turn on the ambient lights.
If you want an even more personalised lighting experience, you might want to consider fibre optics. Some homeowners utilise fibre optic lighting to create starfield pattern in their ceilings that give home cinemas a theatrical touch.
Room acoustics are an important consideration, reflective services and audio do not make good bedfellows. Reflection, absorption and diffusion are all factors that help recreate a perfect multi-channel experience. Sound often has to be ‘managed’ correctly, even down to subwoofer placement.
Acoustic wall panels can appear like a big investment. However, they are one of the best options to manage the audio in your home cinema. In addition to this, big comfortable seating, upholstered walls and plush carpets can offer practical acoustic benefits with their soft surfaces.
Another thing to make sure regarding acoustics is the speaker setup and calibration. Regardless of how much you tackle room acoustics, sub-par sound systems and bad speaker calibration could fundamentally influence the way you experience movies, TV shows and music on the big screen. Latest technologies such as Dolby Atmos offer a greater sense of immersion into the content, investing in a quality speaker system will get the most from current and future audio formats.
7. MEDIA AND CONTENT SOURCES
With the availability of online content services such as Netflix, iTunes and Spotify; it’s now easier than ever to have your desired content within reach any time. However, the variety of source options available may also require different component options to have access to these benefits.
For online media, devices such as Apple TV offer a variety of movie selections with ability to directly stream Netflix, Amazon & iPlayer etc off the internet at Full HD and even 4k quality. Bear in mind that streaming content ‘currently’ is limited in overall quality compared to physical media as content has to be compressed due to our infrastructure and bandwidth restrictions.
Physical media such as Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the most affordable way to deliver virtually uncompressed content to your home cinema. A good quality player is relatively inexpensive and many online and high street outlets often have multi-buy deals available.
Kaleidescape is the ultimate option, all of your movies, concerts & documentaries in one place! Downloaded (not streamed) and unrestricted by internet speeds or physical disc it is the best possible fuel for your home cinema. With its on screen display allowing you to choose what to watch without getting up to locate and change discs it is a premium product with a premium price….but well worth the investment. Kaleidescape deal directly with movie studios creating their own masters for purchase on their store.
Finally, your home cinema can offer access to TV services like Sky & Virgin, great for football and other sporting events. There’s nothing like watching the game on the big stream and Sky now offer football in 4k with Dolby Atmos audio.
A home automation system from Control4 enables you to switch between content sources, lighting and audio settings automatically right from a single dedicated remote or even your iPad.
An important question to consider, while a quality home cinema experience can be achieved with most budgets it is important to understand what can and can’t be achieved with your particular budget. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your particular project
OUR EXPERIENCED SPECIALISTS CAN GUIDE YOU THROUGH
Installing a bespoke home cinema, although sounds easy in theory, often comes with a host of challenges; especially in right hardware choice, system calibration and post-sale support.
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