Getting the best home theater for the money…
The excitement many homeowners feel opening up those boxes containing their new system components often turns to despair as they anticipate the task of assembly, connection and mounting.
Installation is as much art as it is science and it represents the critical component in how you and your family are going to enjoy your home theater. Sure you could do any of this stuff, it’s not rocket science but since we do this every day, we know a few tricks to get it done fast, clean and safely.
A few hours of planning can save a lot of time and trouble down the road. Know the limitations of your room and plan accordingly. For example, a bright, sunny room with many windows may not be the best place for a projection TV. If it is the only room that is feasible, perhaps drapes, blinds or shutters can be used.
A big question for us is screen height and screen size in a room. Our answer is simply, whatever you want. Our personal observation; however, is that it’s easier to look down than look up. You simply use more muscles looking at that screen over the fireplace than two to three feet off the floor.
How are the wires to the surround system going to be placed? Hiding them in walls and ceiling is optimal. If not in a wall or ceiling, will you need stands for the speakers? If so, will they be in an area that leaves them prone to being knocked over? If so, consider wall mounts and hiding the wires in-wall.
Do you have something to place all the equipment on that is safe and accessible? Wall units or movable stands are also nice, they roll out for rear access but make sure they are strong enough for your system.
Power Outlets and Data or Telephone outlets
More equipment may mean replacing a 20 amp breaker with a 25 or 30. In addition set-top boxes and many web devices require an Ethernet connection or a best a telephone connection.
Also plan for where the light sources are going to reside. It is best for home theaters to use indirect lighting, placed behind the TV screen. In many cases this is not possible. The next best is soft lights off to the side. Total darkness is almost as bad as too much light. While too much light will wash out the pictures, too little light can result in eye strain. In lighting your home theater try to achieve a balance between what is best for you and what is best for the system. Consider dimmer switches. They can adjust the ambient level of light and are relatively cheap and easy to install. There are even models that can be controlled by a remote control.
Finally, read through the manual carefully. Not only will you find many features you may not have been aware of. Then, get an envelope and store the manuals. You will need them later. Write down the serial number and date of purchase in the manual. Also any notes on problems you had during installation and (very important here) what you did to solve the problem.
Now for the most important part of Home Theater, enjoy your new system!!