Home theater essentials

For some, an HDTV and a Blu-ray player are not enough to create a top-notch entertainment center. Some would rather build their own home theaters themselves so they can have viewing experiences that rival going to a movie theater. However, in order to make this possible, take into account the factors below.

The perfect screen
TVs aren’t the only display options anymore – projectors and collapsible screens have become a popular alternative for those who have the space. Viewers want the biggest, clearest image possible, but this may lead consumers into overestimating the optimal device size for their room, which can cause eyestrain while watching for extended periods.

There is an equation to calculate the perfect screen size for a theater – multiply the distance, in inches, between the seating area and the screen by 0.84. This formula gives you the screen size that will be clearest to viewers in those seats without visual discomfort. Whether a shopper wants an LCD TV or a digital projector, he or she can find the perfect device to buy for their theater.

Surround sound
A common problem for people who are building their home theaters is placing speakers in a spot where the audio sounds great throughout the entire room. Consumers without a sound engineering background generally resort to trial and error as they find the perfect location for their sound system.

A surround sound system eliminates the need to test and relocate audio devices. However, stereo sound quality lags behind surround sound, and listeners can immediately hear the difference. Speakers that cut down on distortion have the clearest sound even at high volumes.

A media hub
A home theater would be wasted without a device to view movies and television shows. Consumers can find the best media hub for their needs by thinking about what they want to watch. For those who prefer a device that is multifunctional, game consoles such as the PS3 or Xbox 360 may be the way to go. In addition to being able to play games, most offer the ability to stream content from companies like Netflix and Amazon. The Xbox 360 offers access to ESPN 3 and live broadcasts from the sports network, while the PS3 also offers apps from the NHL, NFL, and MLB.

What is most important for you when building a home theater? Which gadgets do you think will create a better viewing experience?

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