Are you one of those who love to call their friends over for a horror movie night with large buckets of popcorn and drinks on the ready? Do you hate going to the crowded cricket stadiums but wish to watch the latest match without missing a single hoot and cheer from the stands? Or is it your turn to host game night with your geeky friends and the latest edition of your beloved video game is up for trial? For all this and more, you need a top-performing home theatre system that will meet all your entertainment needs. And you must be thinking we’re talking of an expensive system that will leave you broke and financially battered, but hey! there are ways of getting that perfect home theatre without spending all you own. You just need to understand the different elements that make up your entertainment room and be smart about the choices you make. So, should we start or what?
Finding The Right Room
Before you splurge, ask yourself this very pertinent question – “Who exactly are you splurging for?” Is this entertainment room just for you and your friends, or do you expect your family to use it too? Can it be located in the basement of the house, or do you need to create space in your living room to accommodate it? Knowing what you will use your home theatre for, will help you figure out how best to use the room at your disposal. You also have to ensure that you choose a room where the light doesn’t fall directly on your TV unit and which can be darkened completely at will so that you enjoy the best viewing experience. Also remember to check for skylights and leaky windows – nobody wants to see their home theatre drown in the rain just because the basement windows wouldn’t shut properly. Also, water always hampers the acoustics. So, check, check and then check again and only then decide on the room you want.
Know Your Requirements
Every home theatre has a few basic requirements: an HDTV (we’re strongly against projectors, matey), receivers, speakers, a sound bar (it’s optional), and other paraphernalia like power strips and cables (you can never have enough of these). A wrong choice in any of these departments can make or break your home theatre, so let’s have an in-depth look at each and try and understand what it is that you will need to buy:
A lot of people make the mistake of buying the snazziest and the most expensive model in town, only to regret it later. The efficiency and performance of your home theatre does not depend on how big the TV is – it depends on where you place it and how far you’re watching it from. For instance, a person with 20/20 vision will lose visual acuity if he’s watching a 50” display from more than 10 feet away. The type of videos you wish to watch also plays an important role in your HDTV choice. If you wish to go for a minimalist theme, buying a Smart TV will be a better choice than buying a gaming console and a set top box together. When you buy your TV, remember to buy for the space you have, and not just to boost your ego. You’ll thank us later!
A receiver is a most for a totally organized home theatre unit. It is the hub for all your audio and visual inputs and you only have device to plug everything in to, leaving you with a less cluttered space. Finding a great receiver can be a task, so again, stick to your budget and your needs and spare everything down to what you require the most. If you’re not planning to hook up your home theatre to 7.1 or 9.1 surround speakers anytime soon, then do not buy receivers with these features. If you are an Apple fan, shell out little more and buy AirPlay support instead. Electronics prices keep varying and new and better models of everything are released frequently, so if it’s not an urgent requirement or if you do not have an upgrade planned right away, then buy only the basic model and update later when you can afford the change.
When you go to a store to buy speakers, you will no doubt find it difficult to focus and choose the one that meets your budget. The trick here is to imagine the space you’re trying to sound out and buy the best speakers for this space. Ideally, the right and left speakers should be placed at the same angle and distance from where you sit. Same goes for your rear speakers. But it may not always be possible, and the presence of any furniture in the room will obviously change the acoustics. The final output will also vary if you have wall-mounted speakers and/or floor speakers. So plan and arrange your speaker placements on paper before you go to an actual shop and start buying.
Soundbars are gaining in popularity today, and if you have a small apartment with neighbours on all sides, there is no way you can get away with heavy-duty floor speakers that everybody else – apart from you- will deem as weapons of noise pollution. In these cases, a soundbar is an excellent choice. But the main problem here is that you cannot add extra units to the soundbar and upgrade it as easily as you can with the other modular components of your home theatre. So choose wisely, and only if you see no other way out.
Always remember that a home theatre is a modular setup and you can upgrade to better devices in the future as your need grows and when you have more moolah, and most importantly, the right space in your house. So do not be disheartened if the 3D TV you were after is out of your budget for now. There will always be time for it later! Also, these are just the basics of a home theatre setup – there are many more things to consider and nuances to keep in mind before the final installation. So stay tuned and watch this space for more insights on how to get the perfect entertainment centre for your geeky corner.