Tips for setting up your new isolation-friendly home theater experience.
by: Karl Kennedy
There it is! Your home theater system is stacked in your soon-to-be theater room each component contained in several cardboard boxes. All you’ve got to do is unpack it and let the magic begin. Well, almost! All you need to know now is the best way to get everything hooked up because the kids have just about got the popcorn machine ready to go. Below are some home theater setup tips to get you up and running.
Survey The Room
When setting up a projector-based home theater, your first consideration should be about light. The more light you can keep out, the more it will drastically improve image quality and clarity.
Decide what size image you want achieve. You will need to be able to locate the projector the proper distance from the screen to get the size image you desire. If you have a narrower room, you might need to buy a short-throw projector. A shorter throw ratio allows you to locate the projector closer to the screen and still project a large image. If you still don’t have a projector – check this useful buyer’s guide here.
Last of all consider where people will sit. The projector’s beam needs to be able to reach the screen without any interference. That is why ceiling mounts are so popular. It keeps the projector beam above everyone’s head.
Get the Right Screen
A dedicated home theater needs more than just a white wall or a white bed sheet. The electronics that you just bought are expensive so don’t screw things up by choosing a cheap screen or no screen at all. Many high-quality screens are designed to avoid ambient light glare and deliver a better quality image back to your eye. Use a so-so screen and the best you can hope for, no matter how good your projector is, will be a so-so image. Some screens are white; these are good if you have an extremely dark room. For rooms that have higher amounts of ambient light, a grey screen works better because it will help the black shades appear darker.
Sound Off… or We Should Say On!
Most projectors are smaller-sized devices with little, low-watt speakers. Cooling fans need to run inside the projectors to help to extend the life of the light source. The fan noise will compete with the projector’s built-in speakers. You will need a good sound system that can connect through a HDMI cable or a wireless Bluetooth connection. Your sound system should have enough channels to handle the number of speakers you will use. The typical speaker system is 5.1 (5 is for speakers front left, front right, center, back left, back right, and 1 is for your subwoofer).
String It Up
Using the proper cables and connectors, you are ready to tie everything together. HDMI is the current AV connection of choice for home theaters. Make sure that when you purchase your projector that it has an adequate number of HDMI inputs. Also try to keep the connectors as short as possible. If you only need a 5-foot cable, don’t buy a 10-foot one.
Dial In the Projector
Test the projector’s alignment so that the image is centered properly. Projector alignment techniques can include a zooming the lens, using keystone options, and adjusting its height to get a perfectly centered image without any skewing of the image.
Try out the video sources you may be using, an X-Box, your PlayStation or FireStick, etc. It’s best to find out now, with the lights on, before you sit down to really enjoy your projector only to discover that something isn’t quite correct.
If all of this seems a little complicated to you, you might want to consider professional installation. At least the family won’t blame you for anything that gets assembled incorrectly.