Long Island Home Theater, Design and Installation, A Beginners Guide.
Updated: Aug 21
Whether your curious about having a home cinema installation or ready to start planning for the ultimate escape space, we have your answers!
Dedicated home theater rooms have become even more popular since the pandemic, but do you know why? Hint: It is not all about :watching movies".
You guessed it! ESCAPING, the outside world for a few hours or maybe even binge watching for days during those monster snow storms we are all familiar with as Long Islanders! Smarter Home Solutions works with TKG Theaters (Theo Kalomirakis Group) and has the experience to help you create the best room in the house according to your budget. But first we wanted to give you an idea about the basic elements and each role they play. Below we give you some insight to each piece of a genuine private theater room. We are always available to answer your questions and expand on these elements. We hope this helps you on your journey. ~Art Dirla
1. Where is the best location?
The location of your escape space is most important and will effect the performance of the equipment you choose and your overall experience. The ideal spot is one that completely eliminates outside noise and distractions, has great acoustics, and is large enough to comfortably accommodate your furniture, equipment and family seating. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect location..
First, you'll want a room that is large enough to fit not only the electronics and design you like, but consider how many seats or guests you may want to host at one time. A typical home theater setup includes a projector, projection screen, surround sound system, Blu-ray player, and other media players. You'll also need space for comfortable seating, like recliners or sofas.
Second, you'll want to find a room with good acoustics. This means that the room should be able to minimize outside noise and distractions. Thick walls, carpets, and drapes can help with this. You might also want to consider soundproofing the room if you live in a noisy area. This is one of the most important aspects of a home cinema, eliminating distractions, the slightest outside noise can take you out of the immersive experience.
Third, you'll want to choose a room that is located away from high traffic areas in your home. A private cinema is the best place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so you'll want to make sure it's in a quiet spot.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your theater experience is the best it can be. We are here to help you choose the right location or design a custom room that allows you to completely escape, safely, right in the comfort of your home!
2. Entry Door
The door leading into the room is important because it sets the tone for what lies ahead. A magical or extravagant entryway will let guests know that they are about to have an amazing experience. A hidden bookshelf entry or bank vault door can add an element of fun and mystery. The door should be located toward the back of the theater room so that any light or distractions from the outside are minimized. Outside the theater is where the anticipation starts, so the design leading into the theater should be carefully considered. By creating a welcoming and exciting entryway, guests will know that they are in for a treat when they enter the room.
3. Ceiling Often, the ceiling design is neglected or the default option is a traditional starry ceiling. However, Smarter Home Solutions of Long island knows that a more personal approach to ceiling design can make all the difference in creating an immersive, enjoyable experience. A custom ceiling design can help to complete the theme of the theater and make it truly your own.
There are many benefits to having a unique ceiling design. It can help create an atmosphere that is both comfortable and relaxing. The ceiling should relate somehow from the rest of the design, adding a touch of luxury or maybe even mystery to the space. A well-designed ceiling will complete the overall look and feel of the space and will pay off in terms of relaxation and enjoyment.
4. Wall Design and Acoustic Treatments
Another one of the most important details is the design of the walls, which holds your surround speakers and the panels for proper acoustics. The way your walls are built and the materials you use can have a big impact on how sound travels through your space. Acoustic treatments not only help minimize distractions but they also optimize sound quality. Acoustic panels absorb excessive reflecting noise, preventing it from bouncing around the room and affecting the overall surround sound experience.
Through education and experience we know custom wall designs play a role in creating an optimal acoustic environment. By using different materials and placements, we can control how sound travels through your theater. This can help to create a more immersive experience and minimize outside distractions. We invest in high-quality materials and acoustic treatments while working with proprietary software to create the ideal personal cinema experience in your home. With the right design, your private cinema will surely outperform your local movie house.
5. Floor Design
The floor is another critical element in any room design. Similar to the walls, the right flooring material and surface finish can make a big difference in the overall acoustics of the room. Hard surfaces like wood or tile will reflect more sound and may create an echo, while carpet will absorb sound and allow for deeper bass. Of course we can calibrate the sound to make up for different surfaces but there are always basic guidelines we follow when trying to achieve the best experience. The floor will also need a riser platform for seating behind the front row. From the second row back, each row should be raised about 7 3/4" higher than the row in front of it. This obviously allows for everyone to have a clear view of the screen.
6. Home Theater Seating
Home cinema seating as you can imagine is extremely important They must provide a comfortable place to sit during movies and TV shows. Plush seats can also help improve the sound quality by absorbing noise and keeping it from bouncing around the room (similar to the acoustic panels). When choosing your seating, there are many factors to consider including size, shape, style, comfort, and budget. The most important factor is probably comfort since you'll be spending a lot of time sitting in your favorite room. As mentioned earlier, seating must be considered when choosing the size of your room so you can accommodate the desired number of people who will be using it at any given time.
Shape is another important factor to consider when choosing the best seating. Do you want individual chairs or a couch? Chairs are generally more comfortable but couches can seat more people. We also love couches and love seats when the children are younger and everyone can cuddle up, laugh and scream together! Style is also an important consideration because they are a major design element that will add to the visual appeal of your private cinema. Do you want your chairs to match the rest of your décor or do you want it to stand out as a focal point? We offer many beautiful and stylish seating options that will fit any budget and we even have resources to completely build you your very own custom theater seats.
7. Surround Sound
Having a great surround sound system with quality speakers are important for any dedicated theater. This is because having a quality sound system will greatly improve the movie-watching experience. There are different types of surround sound systems, and the best one for you will depend on the size of the room and the number of speakers you want. A basic theater has a 5.1 surround sound system, but larger systems are common typically a 9.2 set-up. With a Dobly Atmos system, you will have reached the pinnacle movie-watching experience.
Speaker placement is also important for getting the best possible sound quality and we recommend in-wall. As mentioned Dolby Atmos, these speakers are mounted in the ceiling but basic surround speakers perform best in-wall. This is because they are more directional, coming from the right front, center, left front, and so on... We can help yo understand all of this or we can just go ahead and blow you away with our final result! Our goal is to be transparent, helpful and above all, deliver the expectations we set.
If you are looking to create any type immersive experience, then investing in a quality surround sound system is a must. With the right audio system, you can enjoy your favorite movies and shows like never before.
When choosing a projector, it's important to consider the size of the room, the type of screen, and the resolution you would like. Projectors with higher resolutions will provide sharper images, but will be more expensive. We can help you choose the best projector for your needs and make sure it is compatible to the room, screen and any other equipment we specify, such as Blu-ray players, streaming devices, AV receivers etc. One of our upcoming blogs will be all about projectors.
9. Projection Screen
When it comes to a private theater, there are a few basics that you need in order to get started. One of those basics is a projection screen. They are an essential piece of equipment for any theater, because it allows you to project your favorite movies and shows onto a big screen. This, along with great surround sound is what delivers a truly immersive experience, that is unlike anything else!
There are a few different types of projection screens available on the market, the most popular type of projection screen is the fixed frame. Fixed frame screens are designed to be permanently mounted to a wall or ceiling. They are typically made from either metal or wood, and they come in a variety of different sizes. The main advantage of fixed frame screens is that they are very sturdy and stable, so you don’t have to worry about them wobbling or moving around during use.
Another popular type of projection screen is the retractable screen. They are often made from fabric or plastic, and they can be retracted when not in use. The main advantage of retractable screens is that they are very easy to set up and take down, which makes them a great option for people who want to use their home theater on a occasional basis.
No matter which type of projection screen you choose, it is important to make sure that it is the right size for the space. If you choose a screen that is too small, it will be difficult to see the image properly. On the other hand, if you choose a screen that is too large, it will take up too much space in your cinema and make it difficult to enjoy the experience. There are a lot more aspects to discuss about projection screens, including the "gain", color, acoustic types and aspect ratio which we will also cover in an upcoming article. Please reach out if you need the info now.
10. Automated Lighting Scenes
There are many benefits to having smart lighting in your theater, but the most important one is when they dim. We all anticipate the lights dimming at any movie or concert venue, it means... It's happening! They literally set the mood and help create the perfect ambiance for your movie-watching experience. With the right lighting, you can make your room feel like a real cinema. Smart lighting can also help you save time and energy. By automatically turning off lights when they're not needed, you can reduce your electricity bill and not have to worry about constantly wondering if your left the theater lights on.. Even more important, automated lighting increases safety. By turning on lights when someone enters or exits the room, you can help prevent accidents. Remote controlled lighting with pre-programed scenes are a great way to improve the overall experience while making it safer and more efficient. You may also want smart shades to help "black-out" the room, but ultimately there should not be any windows to start with.
11. Home Theater Receiver
As television screens have gotten bigger and better, the audio component of the movie experience has become just as increasingly important. A good home theater receiver (AVR) will vastly improve your movie-watching and music-listening experience, delivering immersive sound that enhances the visuals on your screen, switches your video sources, as well as simplifying any other commands.
When deciding on an AVR, one of the most important considerations we will discuss is power output. Your receiver should be able to deliver enough power to drive all of your surround speakers properly. As we discussed earlier in the surround sound section, you'll need an AVR with at least six channels for Dolby 5.1. If you're looking to future-proof your system, however, we may want to opt for an AVR with more channels (up to 16). This will give you the flexibility to add additional speakers down the road, if desired.
12. Audio / Video Sources
Audio and Video sources are a critical part of any setup. They provide the audio and video signals that make up the movie, TV show, video games or music you're enjoying. Without a high-quality source, your picture and sound quality will suffer. Blu-ray players, cable boxes, satellite receivers, video games, and digital media servers are all great options. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to choose the right one for you and your families needs.
4K Blu-ray players are some of the highest quality sources available right now. They offer incredibly sharp picture and sound quality. If you have a 4K or even 8k set-up, we strongly recommend investing in a Digital media server like Kaleidescape. They let you watch movies in their most native audio and video formats that are far beyond any streaming devices or services like Hulu, Netflix and even out perform the best of Blu-Ray players. The movies are downloaded completely so there is never any netwrok or wifi streaming issues. So you can save your favorite shows and movies for offline viewing.
No matter what type of video source you choose, let's make sure it's high quality. A good source is the foundation of a great experience.
13. Home Theater Controller
Automation and control are another two important elements. A simple control interface allows you to turn everything on or off with the touch of a button, and makes it easy to select content. This also helps you control the lighting and room temperature during your hescape. These features can all be tied into your home automation system, making it even easier to enjoy your movie experience.
As you can see, a true private theater does not come in a box, it comes from years of experience and knowledge of many different audio, video and even design aspects. Smart Home Solutions can help you with the most basic theater to get you started or work with expert firms like TKG to create the ultimate luxurious space for you to immerse and entertain in. We hope this article helped you understand the basic elements and look forward to your questions.
Smarter Home Solutions