The phrase “home theater” gets tossed around often. Almost everyone claims to have one. Most often it is used to describe just about any A/V set up involving a TV hooked up to 5 or more speakers. And while this can be a lot of fun, I have to break some bad news to you: this is not home theater.
But wait anonymous writer, the guy at the store told me that by purchasing a new 50” flat panel, a new surround receiver, and a bunch of speakers that I would have my very own home theater. Well, he lied. To be fair, I used to be guilty of saying this myself. The reality is that for most people, this is all they need to truly enjoy their favorite movie. And it is certainly better than using the mediocre speakers that are built into ALL TVs.
One day I started thinking about the phrase “home theater” and what it really means. “Home” is easy, as these systems are usually installed in a residential dwelling of some sort. Theater, on the other hand, conjures up very distinct images. Big or small, they all involve a darkened room where a giant image is displayed in front of you, where you are completely enveloped in sound, and there is nothing to distract you from the experience. So with this logic, a true home theater consists of 3 main components: a large yet realistic image, enveloping sound, and the proper environment. Today we discuss the image.
Yes, bigger is not only better, it’s necessary
So a true home theater must have a large screen. And as good as flat panels are, almost all of them are simply too small for a proper home theater. The few that aren’t too small cost a small fortune, so we shall skip those.
To get theater size a 2-piece set up must be used: a screen and a video projector. Screens come in either fixed, manual pull-down or motorized versions. Manual pull down screens are not recommended (we’re not high school anymore!) so we will concentrate on the other two options. They both have certain advantages. Fixed are typically more cost-effective and offer the flattest surface – which helps give you the best picture. This is the best choice for dedicated home theaters. But if your room will serve other purposes than watching TV, a motorized screen is a good choice. By using motorized screens along with in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, and remotely locating the equipment – it is possible to transform the theater into an ordinary living space once the movie is finished. But expect to pay more for a motorized screen.
Another important aspect is the screen material. This subject could be its own separate article, as there are different screens for different applications. And not only are there different sizes, but there are different aspect ratios (the ratio of width to height) as well. Suffice it to say that Hermary’s will help you select the proper screen material to get you the best picture possible based on the room and the projector.
The projector project
Deciding on a projector can be the toughest part of setting up a home theater. Why? Not only are there hundreds of models to choose from, but there are multiple technologies as well. Again, I could bore you to tears with the pros and cons of each of the technologies and their various options. HD vs. 4K? DLP vs. LCD vs. SXRD vs. DILA. 2D vs. 3D. Single chip vs. 3-chip. Traditional lamp vs. LEDs. Anamorphic lens vs. no anamorphic lens. Short throw vs. long throw. And this is just the beginning! A better solution would be to come in to our showroom, see for yourself, and let one of our home theater experts help you find the best option for your room and your budget.
That said, in a future blog we will dip our toes into the pool of projector technologies and options.
To be continued
So we’ve got our big picture. Sweet. Next up, we will examine the audio side of a home theater, followed by the part few people pay attention to, but the part that can have the greatest impact on the finished product: the environment.