A major part of home automation is the entertainment system. It is often the most visible part of the system, and also the most frequently used. Many people invest a huge amount of money in a home theatre and then wonder why it just doesn’t give them the results they were expecting. At One Touch Automation, we are all about the details. Many home owners look at the size of the screen and the power rating of the amplifier and stop there. However, there are some details that home owner and inexperienced designers overlook that can make a huge difference to your home entertainment experience. Let’s look at a few.
Chairs: Oddly enough, the first step in gleaning every last ounce of performance from your home theatre may be choosing your chair. After all, your seating position will have a big effect on your sonic interaction with the system. Think about it: The chair’s height determines where your eyes and ears will be relative to the speakers and screen. The chair’s size dictates how many people can fit side by side or in rows (allow for leg room) and where they’ll be in the room. There are certain seating locations you may want to avoid, so the chair’s dimensions can, in a very real way, determine the baseline requirements for a room’s length, width, and height. When you design a room from scratch, it may be easier to first determine what chair you’re going to use, then design the room around it. Otherwise, you might find that your options are limited to specific (and possibly uncomfortable) sizes.
A chair should be comfortable but not so comfortable that you fall asleep. Also, chairs with high backs may support your head, but they also reflect the sound that’s coming from the front of the room back at your ears immediately after you hear the initial sound. This blurs the sounds together and makes them change in timbre. It may also block sound from speakers in the back of the room. Comfortable non-reclining low back chairs are your best bet.
Where you put the seating: A lot of people think the ideal seating position if right in front of the screen in the middle of the room. That may be a good place to look at the screen, but it could be the worst place for sound. On the other hand, going to far to the edges of the room can cause viewing problems of image distortion and reduced brightness. Let you home automation professional place the seating, not your interior designer. The home automation pro will test the room to avoid putting the seating in areas of peaks or nulls (Loud and quiet) and make sure that the seating gives the best possible screen view for everyone.
Room dimensions: While you may not realize it, every room in your home has something called Axial modes. It has to do with how sound bounces around a room and it really makes a difference to how your home theatre system will sound. For example, 10′ x 15′ x 20′ is not a desirable size for a home theatre. Because of the way sound waves react and collide, this room will have a boomy bass sound, However, 10′ x 14′ x 19′ is a much better size and just changing the dimensions of the room will solve this audio problem. It’s always best to work with a contractor who understands these acoustic issues. If sound is really important to you, it may involve changing room dimension (perhaps building or removing a wall) to get the optimum results.
Lighting: Lighting doesn’t have much to do with acoustics or video, but it can set the mood for your theatre. If you’re building a room from scratch, this is a chance to make sure the lights reflect the quality of the other equipment in the room, that they don’t hit the screen, that they are dimmable in a way that suits your entertainment style, and that they are up-to-date and energy efficient.
Consider a media server: When you are investing in integrated technology, one of the main things you want is to remove clutter – cables, remote controls – but you can’t clear the clutter and cables if you still have DVD’s, ipods, CD’s, USB sticks and other media lying around. Consider storing all you content in a media server hidden in the equipment room. You will have immediate access to all you movies and music with the touch of a button and never have to deal with a stack of DVD’s again.
These are just a few hints for making home theatre better. As you can see from this, there’s a lot more to a true home theatre than putting up a screen and unpacking a surround sound system. The certified pros at OneTouch have the knowledge and expertise to help you get the most from your home theatre investment.