When thinking of a home theater, you may envision a giant 1,000 square foot room with a screen that stretches from floor to ceiling equipped with stadium seating. Something so elaborate may feel entirely out of reach for most homeowners. However, it's possible to have the luxury of a home theater in a small space in your house.
The size of your room determines the equipment necessary for your home theater. You don't want a screen that will leave you squinting or a weak projector that creates washed-out images. Determine the realistic dimensions available to you and keep these five things in mind.
When you're beginning the process of creating your home theater in a small room of a fixed size, we suggest determining the size of your screen by using your available seating distance. To do this, multiply your seating distance by 0.84. For example, 6 feet (72 inches) would be well suited to a 60-inch screen (72 x 0.84 = 60.48). A 60-inch screen is large enough to envelop you in the action without overwhelming your vision.
How many speakers do you have space for? The number you choose will affect your wiring decisions. Most home theaters opt for a 7-speaker configuration, and fortunately, space isn't much of an issue for seven speakers since you can embed them in the walls and ceiling. Even if you plan on using five speakers, we suggest wiring for seven speakers, a small effort that will make it easier if you decide to add the extra speakers in the future.
The benefit of having a home theater in a small space means it's easier to fill the entire room with sound. Your receiver is the power source for your speakers and determines how loud your volume will go. When purchasing a receiver, ask about the unit's power supply to determine if your receiver will drive a substantial amount of power for the size of your home theater.
You've seen the advertisements for HD and 4K TVs in 70, 80, 90, and 100-inch screens, but this level of quality is available for smaller displays too. The ambient light in your space should determine the type of screen you use. If windows are lining the walls, an LCD TV will create a vivid screen image no matter what time of day it is. In a windowless room, a projector may be a better alternative, especially if you want to stay within a lower budget range. Better yet, a white wall is all you need in place of a screen.
If you've decided to opt for a projector, there are a multitude of options to review, including DLP, LCD, CLOS, lumens, lens shift, 3D, 4K, anamorphic, and contrast ratio. Feeling confused? Here's where to direct your attention:
Lens Shift – The best home theater projectors utilize a form of lens shift, which simplifies the installation process by increasing the flexibility of your projector placement. For the most control capabilities, we suggest selecting a projector with vertical and horizontal lens shift.
Auto iris – You’ll find auto iris on most projectors, which works with the film to brighten lights and deepen blacks within the picture. If your home theater has total light control, this isn't a necessity. But in a multipurpose room or a room with windows, it's essential to have a projector equipped with a high-quality auto iris. Do your research, as some cheaply made auto irises result in a noisy projector.
ANSI lumens – The brightness of your projector is determined by the ANSI lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the projector. It's crucial to evaluate your room lighting to determine the correct lumens because a value that's too high will result in washed-out bright and black levels. While most projectors have at least 2,000 lumens, home theater units below 1,500 won't be bright enough in a well-lit room.
No matter how big or small, a well-planned home theater will leave you feeling excited for your next movie night. As you begin researching these five areas, the team of experts at Origin HiFi are prepared to help you make your home theater dreams a reality.