A home theater, also called a media room or cinema, is a dedicated space that houses all the equipment necessary to experience a movie, television show, video game, or other entertainment. It usually includes a large flatscreen TV with surround sound audio, as well as a place for seating. Some people even incorporate drapery panels along the walls and a popcorn machine to create the full effect of going to a movie theater.
The home theater has become increasingly popular as technology improves and high-definition video content becomes more widely available. It can also be a fun way to entertain friends and family without leaving the house.
Before you can set up your home theater, you must decide what type of system you want to use. The choice will depend on your budget and the kind of entertainment you enjoy most. For example, you might choose a DVD or Blu-ray player, a home theater PC, or a TV box that can connect to the Internet and stream movies and music. You must also consider how many inputs you need. Most modern home theaters will need at least a single HDMI input.
Once you know what your home theater will be used for, you can start planning how to design it. If you’re going for a traditional look, you can include elements such as a patterned or textured wall or carpeting to add visual interest. If you have enough space, you can incorporate a long couch with plenty of room for people to sit and relax. A few accent pieces like red and blue pillows or a “Now Showing” sign can help complete the look.
One of the most important aspects of a home theater is the sound. Good quality speakers will deliver immersive audio that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. Speakers can be wall mounted or placed on a shelf or table. For the ultimate in surround sound, you can opt for a multi-channel speaker system with 5.1 or 7.1 channels.
Whether you opt for a pre-matched system or plan to build your own, you’ll need an audio receiver that powers the speakers. Some systems come with a receiver already installed, while others have a separate receiver that you can select yourself. Some home theaters can even be controlled by a smart TV, which has its own built-in receiver and can play media directly from the Internet.
A large screen is essential for the home theater experience, but you can also opt for a projector. A projector is ideal for large rooms, and it can be mounted on a ceiling or a free-standing frame.
In addition to a screen and projector, you’ll need an audio output device such as an AV receiver or a soundbar that supports Dolby Digital and DTS surround formats. Some soundbars are designed with a built-in center channel speaker to improve dialogue clarity. If you’re not sure what to buy, you can find home cinema packages at most consumer electronics retailers. These bundle the major components together and typically cost less than buying them individually.