In times like this when people try their best to stay home as much as possible, going to the theatre is rarely a consideration. Thanks to home theatre systems, people can get a theatre-like experience without leaving home. Besides, even the entertainment industry is changing with the current situation. Content is getting released on OTT platforms, thus giving everyone something or the other to watch. For those who plan to set up a home theatre, here is a guide to get started.
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What to consider before you set up a home theatre?
All in one theatre system or individual component: The first thing to consider is whether you want to buy an all in one theatre system or get each part separately. By buying each part individually, there is room for customising and upgrading as needed. As for the all in one option, it is less time-consuming.
Budget: Before making any big purchase, planning on the budget is important. You can either get an all in one system or look for individual components that fit your budget. Systems are going as low as below US$100 and as high as nearly US$2000 and more.
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Space: Where you are going to set up a home theatre is another important factor to think ahead of. That will impact how many speakers or what kind of display system you need to buy.
You should also think about the volume your home theatre will produce. You do not want it to be a disturbance for your neighbours. You can soundproof the home theatre room but that may not be a feasible option for everyone. For instance, if you are going to set up a home theatre in your living room, soundproofing may not be a feasible option.
What components are needed to set up a home theatre?
Screen: You can set up a home theatre with a television or projector and screen. Tech aficionados suggest that you go for a television with a high resolution like ultra-high definition. This is not a compulsory requirement. The other option is to get a projector and screen as long as you have the space for it. You can buy the two separately or get them together in a deal.
Best TV options
QN900A Samsung Neo QLED 8K Smart TV (2021) – starting at US$ 4999.99
TCL 50″ CLASS 4-SERIES 4K UHD HDR LED SMART ROKU TV – 50S435 – around US$350
LG 43 inch Class 4K Smart UHD TV with AI ThinQ® – starting at US$ 329.99
Toshiba 43LF621U21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD with Dolby Vision – Fire TV Edition, Released 2020 – US$ 289.99
Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch Smart HD TV – Fire TV Edition – US$ 199.99
Best Projector options
Epson Home Cinema 5050UB – US$ 2999.99
Optoma UHD50X – US$ 1599
Anker Nebula Mars II Pro – US$ 549.99
LG CineBeam PH30N – US$ 351.17
Jinhoo Mini Overhead Projector – US$ 99.99
Best projector screen options
Stewart Filmscreen Cima 135″ 16:9 Neve White Fixed Frame Projector Screen, 66×118″ Viewable – US$ 1926
Elite Screens – Sable Frame Series 110″ Fixed Screen (Black Velvet) – US$ 606.99
STR-169120 Silver Ticket 120″ Diagonal 16:9 4K Ultra HD Ready HDTV (6 Piece Fixed Frame) Projector Screen White Material – US$ 250
Mdbebbron Projection Screen – US 29.99
Vankyo StayTrue Projector Screen with Stand – US$ 26.99
Audio System: An audio system is vital to set up a home theatre. Without the different speakers added to the system, there is not much of a theatre feel. In general, an audio system consists of speakers, subwoofers and sometimes Dolby Atmos speakers. They are usually written as the number of speakers. the number of subwoofers. the number of Dolby Atmos. With the 5.1 channel being very common, you are surely going to come across it while shopping for your theatre system. It just means five speakers and one subwoofer.
For those who do not know, the subwoofers are speakers that let users listen to the volume that is of low frequency – generally 20Hz to 200Hz. Plus, in simple words, Dolby Atmos speakers are overhead speakers.
Where to place the speakers?
Depending on the home theatre space and most importantly what speakers you purchased, you can place the speakers accordingly. One option is to create a surround sound system. As the name suggests this setup enables a 360-degree audio experience as the speakers are placed around the viewers.
Another way to arrange the speakers is by placing them close to the television. Speakers on the left, right and centre. These speakers should be angled in such a way that it is facing the viewers.
Moreover, the loudspeaker brand Klipsch suggests that you place the subwoofers in the corners or a few inches away from the wall. Of course, if your subwoofers are wireless, you can always do the trial and error method to see where you get the best bass effect.
Best audio system options
Bose Lifestyle 600 home entertainment system – US$ 2999
Sonos Surround Set with Arc Wireless Dolby Atmos Sound Bar, Subwoofer, and One SL Speakers – US$ 1856
KEF T205 Sat Pack – US$ 1800
Audio F302 Floor Standing Speaker System – US$ 745
Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System/Bluetooth/USB+8″ Subwoofer – US$ 164.95
Video Inputs: Given that smart televisions allow you to stream content from the internet or a USB drive, there is usually no need to invest in a video input. However, if you are someone who watches videos from CDs and DVDs, you can get a media player like the blu-ray player. Or else, you can also use a laptop, tab or smartphone as the video source.
Audio/ Video Receiver: The function of an A/V receiver is to receive signals from the video input and transfer it to the outputs such as the speakers and the display system. An A/V receiver is also referred to as an amplifier or an AVR.
Best audio/ video receiver options
NAD Electronics T778 7.2.4 Channel Home Theater AV Receiver – US$ 3000
Yamaha RX-A2A Aventage 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with 8K HDMI and MusicCast – US$ 800
Denon AVR-S960H 8K Ultra HD 7.2 Channel (90Watt X 7) AV Receiver – US$ 700
Onkyo TX-NR696 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver, 210W Per Channel (At 6 Ohms) – US$ 600
Sony STR-DH590 5.2 Multi-Channel 4K HDR AV Receiver with Bluetooth – US$ 330
How to connect everything to set up a home theatre?
Assuming that you have bought everything you need to set up a home theatre, here is how to connect it. Plug one end of an HDMI cable in the AVR’s HDMI out slot and the other in the television’s input port. If you are using a media player device or other video inputs, you have to connect this to the AVR too using an HDMI cable. This is for video.
As for audio, you connect the speakers and the AVR directly or you connect cables between the media player and the audio/ video receiver and from the AVR to the speakers. The instructions are written in a manual and the ports are usually labelled to make it easier for connecting. You can always ask a technician to do the installation. If you buy an all in one system, someone may come to set it up.
After connecting everything, you should ensure that all the wires are hidden using professional help. It is for safety. Besides, having wires all-around your home theatre is not visually appealing.