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How To Make Your Home Theater Perfect

Hint: You Have To Get Control of the Light

How To Make Your Home Theater Perfect

To get the most out of a home theater or media room, you need to get a lot of details right. It’s not just about the speakers.  It’s not just about the AV receiver and amplifiers.  It's not just about the seating and the décor.  It's not all about the projector and the size of the screen. Yes, all those things are essential and important, but other details are sometimes overlooked, and failure to address them can lead to a subpar experience no matter how much you spend on the aforementioned areas.

What are we talking about?  It’s taking control of the light.  Just as a light shining in the wrong area, a screen with a reflection, or a dim picture would ruin a movie experience in a commercial theater, it can also happen in yours.  Moreover, you don't always have the luxury of designing a room specifically for a home theater, so you will need to contend with windows and lighting as the room may have other uses.  

The good news is that with the right attention to detail, in the choice of lighting, screens, projectors, colors, and materials, you can optimize your Plano home theater installation, even if the room isn’t optimal. Read on to see how the right choices can help you master the light in your home theater. 

SEE MORE: Set The Scene With Lighting Control

Selecting the Right Screen

First, no one type of screen will work for every installation. The picture quality on a given screen will vary by the brightness of the projector and the ambient lighting in the room.  If your room is windowless or will have blackout window treatments, that may not be a concern.  But if you want to watch the Cowboys on Sunday without being in complete darkness, then you have different considerations.

If your home theater or media room pull double duty for more than media, screens that have light rejection can be used to mitigate ambient light.  However, no one choice does it all, as some are good at rejecting light from certain angles but not good at handling reflections from others.

The choice of projector will matter too.  A high-gain screen can make a dimmer projector better, but they may not be the best for contrast.  The shape and size of your room is another consideration in screen choice.  A wide room will need a screen with good viewing angles.  Some are excellent in central viewing positions but fall off markedly at wider seating ones.  Much the same happens with flat panel displays too, so no one choice always works in every situation.

Wall Colors

When you’re dealing with light in a theater, you know color matters.  Of course, dark colors will work best in a theater for absorbing light, but not everyone wants a theater or media room to approximate a cave.  Choices of colors and wall treatments may involve some compromise.  While semi-gloss paints might have an attractive sheen and are easier to maintain, any shine has the potential to reflect light. Using a color on a front wall like a flat dark gray will reduce light and make the picture stand out more.

If choosing dark colors doesn’t fit the style of the home or the room and its furnishings, there are other ways to compensate.  Higher contrast screens can help make up for brighter walls reflecting ambient light, as well as brighter projectors. Light-rejecting screens will also be helpful, as they will also reject light from brighter walls along with ambient light.

Lighting Control

For a theater, lighting control can be about both the placement of lights as well as effectively controlling them.  Even if you have a darkened theater, you have to have a way for people to get up and find their way to a drink or a restroom break.  In multipurpose media rooms which may have kitchen areas or pool tables, recessed lighting, spot lighting, and sconces can help light areas without creating too much ambient light and screen reflections. 

If the room has windows, motorized shades are an excellent choice for darkening the room, wholly or partially depending on what's being viewed.  Lighting control systems like those from Lutron can coordinate lights with your AV equipment so that the perfect lighting scene can be set for a movie, watching sports, or gaming on the big screen.  

As you can see, no matter how challenging your media room or home theater installation may be, there are plenty of solutions to master the light and make it perfect.  To learn more, contact us or just click below to be quickly connected to one of our home theater experts.