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What do I need for a home cinema?

With the technological advances in large screen televisions, home cinema systems have become a lot more achievable for a larger range of homes. In the past, a home cinema system required a large projection screen and a projector to create the image. The installation of these elements and the link cabling was disrupted to the property. Furthermore, large screen televisions were a very expensive consideration.

However, that’s not to say that large screen projection systems still don’t have a place in home cinema design. The advantage is that you now have so many more options to create an amazing cinema space

To have a real home cinema experience, here are some things to think about.

The main ideas are

  1. The shape and form of your room
  2. Lighting in the room,
  3. How to incorporate the surround sound system, and where you are can install speakers

The ultimate home cinema is a dedicated room. It is not uncommon for spectators to redesign their garage, spare room, or their loft. However, many incorporate it into their main living room

How to create the perfect home cinema system

Audio and TV technology has improved significantly in recent years. This means it’s possible to create a home cinema setup that is close to the real thing.

Below you will find a guide to complete your home cinema setup.

Choosing components

AV Receiver

Regardless of the screen selection, the basis of any good home cinema is sound. All systems regardless of size and budget will run through a central AV receiver. This unit is the central hub to the system and its associated equipment.

The visual equipment will all plug into the receiver, and this will feed the display source, and therefore be able to manage all the inputs to the single display. Furthermore, some receivers allow for multiple outputs, which then allow output to both a television and a projector. This is useful if you wish to have a cinema in your living room and don’t want a large display for viewing

The majority of AV receivers will not take the sound from the television. Therefore, if you wish to watch the television through smart apps, the receiver can amplifier that sound through the cinema system

The types of equipment that potentially be plugged into the AV receiver are

  1. Satellite / Cable TV boxes
  2. DVD players
  3. Zone Music controllers such as Sonos
  4. Smart TV Dongles such as Chromecast, Amazon Fire, etc
  5. Game Consoles
  6. PC’s

The speakers and subwoofer will also all connect to the central receiver. The sound design will dictate how many speakers there are, and therefore how many speaker cables to connect

Choosing a Home Cinema projector

The choice of a projector will depend on

  1. Size of image required
  2. The distance between the screen and projector options
  3. The quality of the image
  4. The functionality of the projector
  5. Budget

The projector is probably the most important part of a home cinema because it lets you go beyond the size of a TV. However, many television manufacturers are creating unlimited-size televisions. However, they come with a budget to match their increasing size. One such example is The Wall by Samsung

For a mix of size, quality and budget, a projector is a great solution.

Our design team can survey your space and give several options of projectors to suit your space, requirements, and budget

The one downside of a projector compared to television is the effect of outside light on the image projection. Therefore, part of the design is positioning the screen correctly, surveying the light entrance, and solutions to blank out the room

Home Cinema Projector Mounts

Where you mount a projector is sometimes one of the hardest decisions. It is as much about aesthetics as it is the position. It also depends on the construction of your room. 

For example, if you have solid ceilings, then the projector will need to be mounted below the ceiling on a bracket. Another option is mounting it on the back wall. However, should you have a ceiling void, you can install a motorised projector lift. This unit houses the projector and only drops down when in use. When it is not used then the lift slots back into place and hides all the equipment

Choosing a Projection Screen

One of the first considerations is the size. Most cinema rooms will maximise the wall space and have the biggest screen that they can contain. The projector is then matched to suit the screen

However, in a room where the cinema isn’t dedicated then a pull-down screen is employed. The screen can either be pulled down or motorised. It can also be mounted on the wall or recessed into the ceiling. When possible, a motorised recessed screen is the best solution.

In rooms where the cinema isn’t used exclusively, we generally install both a television and a drop-down screen. It is not always desirable to watch your daily viewing on a 100-inch plus screen

Therefore, in these situations, we install a wall-mounted screen, perhaps a 65-inch or 75-inch. Further, a motorised drop-down screen is placed, so it then drops in front of the existing television when required. This may be a 100-inch plus screen. The AV receiver can send images to both or be programmed for the projector to override

Choosing a Home Cinema TV

Once again, as with the choices in projectors, televisions come in many different options to suit different situations.

Once again, the choices will match those of the projector for

  1. Size of image required
  2. The quality and resolution of the image
  3. The functionality of the projector
  4. Budget

Depending on which model of television you go for, the price can change dramatically. The newest model can be double or triple the price of an older model of the same size. This is where your requirements will determine the design we create for you

Some customers will have a fixed budget. Therefore, the choice is a smaller screen with a higher-tech image. The reverse is a larger screen, but maybe a year older model. The prices in many cases are the same, and the choice is yours. Of course, some systems have the biggest screens and the best technology, and no limit on budget.

That’s why an experienced design team such as ours is important. The options we create for you will enable you to have the best system for your situation

Get the cinema lighting right

Lighting is essential for your home cinema when planning your room. It’s best to avoid rooms with lots of windows, but if that’s your only option, it’s worth installing some blackout blinds so you can easily block any outdoor lighting. The type of lights you use is also important. Therefore, dimmable lights are important because you want to be able to control the light level accurately. 

Find the right sound system

As with the visual elements, there are many choices for sound in your home cinema

The simplest, quickest, and most affordable option is a soundbar. A soundbar is an easy option and very easy to set up. Some high-end cinema soundbars have multiple speakers within the single unit that cleverly bounce the sound around your room to mimic the entire surround sound system.

When installing a dedicated surround sound set of speakers, again you have a few choices

Some surround sound options include 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, Dolby Atmos, 5.1.2, and so on.

In essence, all home cinemas start with a centre speaker and left and right speakers. In addition, a subwoofer is part of the system. These are

  1. Centre below the display
  2. Left of the display
  3. Right of the display

5.1 is therefore 5 speakers and a subwoofer. Thus, two rear speakers are added to the front three to make five. 7.1 is four rear speakers added to the front three, plus the subwoofer

Some systems will have 2 rear speakers and 2 side speakers. Dolby Atmos 7.1 is one such system when you have three front speakers, two rear and two sides. There is also a 9.1 version where 2 additional front speakers are added

Connecting everything

All the above elements in the home cinema will need to be connected. All the speakers will require speaker cables back to the central receiver. Furthermore, the receiver will need to connect to the television, projector, or both. This is generally via HDMI cables. However, specific av cables can also be installed for the overall functionality. For example, a trigger cable can be installed between the projector lift and screen. Therefore, when the projector lift kicks in, the screen automatically drops down

The cabling routes will all depend on the construction of your property. In a new build, the routes will be simple to make and install. However, in an existing building, installing the cabling may incur considerable disruption. 

Our experienced team is here to assist you in your design and options. Call us today for advice and options


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