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A guide to building the home theater of your dreams

A guide to building the home theater of your dreams

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  • Now’s the time to start playing around with your room layout AND your television settings

In pre-pandemic times, my family’s go-to bonding activity was always a night at the cinema. 

Lining up to get snacks, finding our seats inside the cinema, and picking out which movie we wanted to see next as the trailers played was a routine for us—a routine we’ve tried to stick to since staying at home for months on end. Keyword: tried.

After nights filled with themed snacks and investing in a comfier couch, we figured that to really bring excitement to our family movie nights again, we needed to DIY a home theater setup that made us feel like we’re sitting inside a cinema again.

Soundproof and decorate at the same time

When you look up soundproofing tips for your home theater, you might get tips on how to design your room or the kind of wall panels you need to dampen the echoing in your room. These are all great tips for when you’re building a house, not so much when you’re transforming an existing room in your space.

No soundproof panels, no problem: Decorating your walls plays a big role in soundproofing your home theater. Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

The next best thing you can do is play around with your decor. Take the canvas paintings you’ve been meaning to put up and decorate your home theater with them. Place thick rugs near the door and around your room to reduce the noise coming from outside or your footsteps.

Time to take the sunshine away

Sunshine is great, but it’s the last thing you want in your home theater—so cover up those windows with thick, dark-colored drapes. These curtains should be a foot wider than your windows to prevent light from seeping in, but you can always work around that by holding drapes against the wall using velcro strips and decorative pillows on the floor.

Take things one step further by darkening everything in your space, starting with your walls. If black isn’t your color, consider painting your walls in forest green, navy blue or burgundy. When it comes to furniture, keep an eye out for unvarnished wood, velvet and suede surfaces.

Know when to lighten up

The trick to setting the mood for your home theater lies in being able to control the lighting with the push of a button—or, in the case of smart lighting, with a touch of the screen. 

Lost the remote with the lights off? No need to disturb anyone else, just turn on the smart lighting closest to you. Photo by alexandre alex on Unsplash

Replicate the experience of finding your way around a movie theater with strip lighting under the seats or along the floor. When you need to grab more snacks or try to track down the remote, wall sconce lamps are the way to go: these lights are directed up or down a wall, never towards your television screen.

To calibrate or not to calibrate?

Most television sets have picture- and motion-enhancing features that might suit live sports games, but not so much your movies. When you go into your settings menu, disable features that have the words adaptive, dynamic, processing or smoothing.

Instead, adjust your brightness, contrast and color settings. Tweak the brightness and contrast levels until you can see the darkest and lightest details on screen, and choose the warmest color settings to get accurate colors on screen.

Before you take a seat, tweak your display settings to really bring out all the details of your favorite movies. Photo courtesy of Sony.

If your movies just aren’t looking the way you want it to, no matter how many times you’ve adjusted your settings, there are picture presets you can keep an eye out for. Televisions like Sony Bravia have Netflix Calibrated Mode, which adjusts brightness and color levels so you can watch Netflix shows and movies in the picture quality the creators intended them to be viewed in.

Change your (speaker) layout

Placing your speakers right next to each other in the middle of the room might make your setup look good, but that placement won’t give you the surround sound feel you get when watching a movie. Keep your speakers at least four feet apart from each other and two to three feet away from your walls.

Don’t just place your speakers at the next convenient flat surface either—make sure these surfaces place your speakers at roughly the same height as your ears. Once your speakers are at a good height, angle them towards your seats.

Pay attention to your wires

Having high-quality speakers and an ideal setup won’t mean much if the cables connecting them aren’t built to transmit sound properly. To cap off your home theater setup, get wires that are just the right length for your speaker and television. You don’t want wires that are too long, because that will result in quieter and less clear sound. 

Before looking for the perfect speaker wires, make sure to measure the distances between your setup so you know which length to get. Photo by kropekk_pl from Pixabay

Once you’ve got your wires, make sure these are connected to the right ports: plug in your positive wires to positive ports and vice versa. Getting your connections crossed wipes out certain frequencies, and you won’t get the best sound quality from your speakers.

The right connections will give your television speakers the boost they need. For televisions like the Sony Bravia, which are built with acoustic surface audio technology, the right cables can easily turn your television to a central speaker that lets you hear every sound from your favorite movies and shows.

For more information on the Sony Bravia, check out this website.

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