Coronavirus has us all indoors more than ever before – and that means that the odds are good that you’ve been watching more movies and tv shows than ever before. Netflix has seen unprecedented levels of growth since the outbreak, adding more than 16 million new subscribers with the first month of the outbreak alone, and seeing numbers climb only higher as the year has worn on. Viewing times skyrocketed too, with the 2019 average viewing time sitting at roughly two hours daily, but shooting up to over three and only rising. With the holidays rolling in and few people rolling out to spend them anywhere but home, home theater setups have become a growing interest in the minds of the average American as their time in front of their televisions and monitors rises.
As you might expect, this means that interest in home theatre installation has seen a spike as more and more Americans look for a way to bring the experience of the silver screen into their own homes. Rising interest in projectors, projector screens, surround sound systems, and home theater design means that the market is racing to offer the best prices and equipment to the interested buyer. In response, the home theater industry has responded to increasing demand and the unique needs of the broadening market with new projector systems, installation methods, screen types, sound systems and pricing structures. The result is an ever-increasing number of homes that sport their own home theater setups, bringing the excitement of the cinema into the comfort of the home, and at price points that sit comfortably with nearly any budget.
What goes into a standard home theater setup?
Home theater setups are enormously variable in the equipment they use and in why they use it. When deciding on what will go into your own personal home theater, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to get out of your setup, and use that to drive the decisions you make about equipment, including price and audio or video output qualities. Standard home theaters tend to trend towards budget or mid-range options, but if your budget allows for it, you can set up a home theater that is “standard” in name only.
- A Home Theater Receiver – Also known as an AV or audiovisual receiver, this device forms the backbone of your sound system and is an integral component of any home theater. Any home theater hoping to emulate the kind of sound you get out of the cinema needs a central hub. This is where your speakers plug in, where audio is processed and decoded and where your speakers get their amplification. Without one, your setup won’t get off the ground, let alone make it to the end of the runway.
- A Television or Projector – This one’s a no-brainer, really. All the best sound equipment, media streaming devices and disc players become very expensive paperweights if they don’t have a television or projector to work alongside. What good is a movie you can’t see, after all? Consider each option carefully, as televisions and projectors both bring with them a set of advantages as well as disadvantages, especially if you’re budget conscious or looking for a very specific experience in your home theater.
- If you opt for a projector, you’ll need to consider if you plan on projecting onto a projector screen or if you plan on turning an entire wall into a screen. The differences between projector screens and projector wall paint are notable, and even after choosing one or the other, you’ll have plenty of choices to make within either category. For screens, do you need a retractable screen, something portable, or something permanent? For wall paint, are you painting the entire wall or just a portion of it? Where your projector sits and what kind of projector you opt for is also impacted by the medium it is going to project onto. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of options to choose the best projector screen for your home theater you can use this guide that will walk you through the different types of home cinema screens.
- Television Receiver – Be it cable, satellite or antenna receivers, most home theaters setups will include a receiver of some kind for casual viewing between watching movies. By no means required, a receiver for television is a matter of personal preference that comes down to the kind of service you’re planning on using.
- Disc Player – Combination disc players are a staple of any home theater, even as streaming explodes in market share. Odds are good that you own a huge catalog of DVDs, CDs and Blu-rays, and that makes a disc player a staple of any home theater setup.
- Speakers and a Subwoofer – The experience of a theater comes alive in the speakers you use, as well as the subwoofer you choose. No home theater can properly call itself a “theater” without speakers, be they a soundbar or a full surround sound setup with multiple speakers mounted in different positions around the room.
- When opting for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setups, it’s important to keep in mind the size of your room, as well as its shape. Talk over your interest in a surround sound setup with a professional home theater installation tech.
- Media Streaming Devices – While it would be a stretch to call something like a Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV a “standard” device in a home theater, their rapidly expanding popularity, as well as their ever-deepening catalogues of movies, tv shows and documentaries mean that a media streaming device is more often than not going to be in the running for a “standard” setup. Television receivers themselves might be passed over completely to instead spring for one or more media streaming devices – sure, it’s more boxes, but it’s also more variety and sometimes cheaper in the long run.
Remember that your home theater setup is limited only by your imagination and your budget. If you’re ready to step up your home viewing experience, Lunis Systems offers professional home theater installation services including full room design, home cinema system installation, room setup, theater-style seating installation, audio system setup and calibration, acoustic wall treatment, and lighting systems.