If you love going to the movies or live sporting events, but could do without high ticket and concession prices — not to mention babysitting costs — it’s time to create your own in-home entertainment center. A home entertainment room doesn’t have to compromise your traditional theatre or sports venue experience, either. Simply dedicate the bulk of your remodelling budget to replicating the elements that make the theatre or in-person experience so enjoyable: a large screen, quality audio, and big, comfortable seats.
First, you need a dedicated space to create your home entertainment environment. Ideally, this is a private room, with as much distance as possible from the noisiest rooms of your home. Second, you need to provide comfortable seating that allows you to completely immerse yourself in the viewing experience. Giant recliners are great because they provide everyone with their own space, and maybe even a cup-holder to prevent spills and fidgeting during the movie. Finally, you want to invest in the best image and sound quality that your budget permits. Technology is advancing at such a rate that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of video and sound equipment (and the tech needed to maximize them) that is within your reach. Read on for tips on how to create the ultimate home entertainment space.
Use Your Mobile Device as an All-in-One Remote Control
If you’re currently using your phone or tablet to stream episodes of Downton Abbey, you’re really only scratching the surface of your device’s entertainment capabilities. You can now use your mobile devices to control your home’s lighting, temperature, security, and even your entertainment systems. Using a variety of apps, your mobile device combined with Wi-Fi can send signals to most of the electronic equipment in your home (or at least those that are connected to sensors you install), turning your device into a truly universal remote. So if you’re settling in to watch Monday Night Football with friends, you may receive an alert that you’ve left the oven on and you can shut it off without missing a play. Your mobile device can also help you become more interactive if you’re watching a live event like the Olympics, enabling you to tweet, post status updates, and react to other viewers in real-time.
Invest in a 3D Television
Watching 3D content is no longer a luxury reserved for movie theatres. Many LED, LCD, and plasma TVs offer 3D features and come with glasses, enabling you to take advantage of the increasing 3D offerings from networks like HBO, Starz, ESPN, Discovery, and Direct TV. While there currently is still a bit of a dearth in 3D content, gaming companies and movie and television producers are working on projects to meet the consumer demand for 3D entertainment. If you’re nervous about becoming an early adopter, the good news is that your 3D television will work just as well in 2-D, as you wait for the entertainment industry to catch up to the trend. Items that you’ll need to make your home entertainment center 3D friendly include: 3D HD TV, 3D glasses (these can add up quickly, as you’ll want to have enough for the entire family), high-speed HDMI cables to connect your TV to a 3D capable Blu-ray player or a 3D compatible DVR, and — ideally — surround sound to help you feel truly immersed in your 3D movies, games, and television shows.
Re-Invision “Surround Sound”
To create top-notch audio in your home entertainment room, you no longer have to deal with giant speakers and tons of wires that go along with them. The trend in audio has moved toward compact wireless systems. If your home entertainment space is relatively compact, you may want to consider thin, sleek sound bars. Sound bars are a popular option, since their appearance complements newer TVs and they can be slightly angled to project sound throughout a room. Sound bars can also pack a big punch, with up to 40 individual speakers included and built-in amplification, eliminating the need for a separate receiver. You can expect sound bars to range from $200-$600
Consider Multiple Screens... Or at Least a Second Screen
If you find yourself checking your phone or flipping channels during commercials, you’re not alone. The “second screen” trend is growing and is particularly strong among millennials, with 74% reporting using a combination of viewing devices at one time, whether it be a TV, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. While you may not utilize a second screen during a movie, it may be handy to check sports scores while watching a game, to check in on how social media is responding to a major event like, the State of the Union or the World Series, or to play a round of “Word with Friends” while catching up on all of the Scandal episodes in your DVR queue. TV producers are even embracing the concept of the second screen, providing bonus content for you to explore during an episode and providing ways to interact with fellow viewers like polls and live chats.
Danielle Hegedus works for Home Improvement Leads which provides Solar sales leads.