What’s the best way to design a home theater? This question came to us from three separate customers recently, all from Waukee, Iowa. So, we got our installers and techs together to put some ideas. Here are a few guidelines that may help –

  1. Decide on the layout of the room. If building, the ideal size is 20’ X 13’. You’ll want to set up your room with the sweet spot or focal point in mind. If building, additional R30 rated insulation can help with the interior walls. It will not totally take out the noise completely, but it will help with those explosions and car races during movies.
  2. Wiring is the key! A 7.1 is considered ideal with the emphasis in the three front speakers (left, center, right). Add two surrounds and two rear speakers for the full effect. Also, Atmos is a consideration by adding two to four speakers above you. If someone adds four to the Atmos feature it’s considered a 7.1.4 configuration. 14-gauge speaker wire is perfect for the home theater. Wire runs should go to a specified cabinet or an adjacent room. KEY! Today, running wire to a projector should not only include power but add three Cat6 cables. DO NOT make long HDMI runs to a projector, use a balun.
  3. Pick the right speaker – Is the room better suited for a standard home theater; or are on-walls or in-walls better for the environment? We all agree the only way to pick the right brand or style of the speaker is to listen, compare, and experience them. Find the brand that is best for you and then select the right speaker within the family (bookshelf, floor-standing, in-wall, on-wall).
  4. Choose and install the right equipment that helps keep technology simple. Installing the equipment is not a do-it-yourself project. Installers should keep the focus on how someone wants to control the system. Some people will choose to stream using a Roku, Apple TV, or some type of streaming device. Some moviegoers will choose to get the best picture quality starting with a 4K Blu-ray disc to all equipment 4K compatible. Bottom line is, keep technology simple.

These are general guidelines to consider when constructing a theater. The details are what make the difference in quality, how everything functions, and most importantly fits your budget.