How to create your own home cinema
Make sure your cinema room is the right size
There’s no ideal size for a home cinema; the shape of the room is actually far more important. It’s best to avoid square rooms, if you can, for two main reasons:
- You need enough space for all your equipment while still allowing you to sit a comfortable distance from the screen.
- The sound from your main speakers (or sound bar) needs space to project out from the TV. If you’re too close to the main speakers, they’ll cannibalise the sound from your satellite speakers. We’ll cover sound in more detail later.
For a medium-sized room, dimensions around 10ft x 12ft will give you a great result. If you have a much bigger room, something close to 16ft x 23ft would work best.
Get the cinema lighting right
The lighting for your home cinema is extremely important when planning your room. It’s best to avoid rooms with lots of windows but, if you don’t have another option, it’s worth investing in some blackout blinds so you can easily block out any external light.
The types of lights you choose are important too, with dimmable lights carrying a huge advantage in letting you accurately control the light level. Philips Hue smart lighting is brilliant for this, allowing you to set the brightness by percentage, or even create your own custom cinema atmosphere.
If you use a Google Assistant, you can say “Hey Google, turn on my Philips Hue cinema mode” to get the atmosphere spot-on without having to move from the sofa.
Find the right sound system to your room
TV sound systems come in all shapes and sizes and if you’re creating a dedicated movie room, the type of system you choose makes a big difference.
A soundbar is a simple option and much easier to set up. Some high-end cinematic soundbars have multiple speakers that bounce the sound around your room to replicate a full surround sound system.
But if it’s the ultimate cinema experience you’re looking for, your own full surround-sound setup is the way to go.
When you’re looking at surround-sound systems, it’s helpful to get a good handle on what the numbers mean. The most basic setup is ‘5.1’ and it simply represents the number of speakers.
The first number tells you how many speakers you get, and the second number represents the number of subwoofers. So a 7.1 setup would have 2 front speakers, 1 centre speaker and 4 satellite speakers, plus a subwoofer. And all those speakers have different jobs:
- Front speakers – there are usually two of these and they sit either side of your TV. This is where most of the sound comes from and they also split the audio into left and right channels to give you a feeling of where the sound is coming from.
- Centre speaker – this is usually quite a small speaker that goes between the two front speakers and its main function is to give you the dialogue.
- Satellite speakers – these are the speakers that are placed elsewhere in the room and they create the ‘surround’ part of the surround-sound experience by putting you right in the middle of the action.
Find the right TV for your home cinema
Now that you’ve chosen a room and got a plan for your lighting and sound, let’s look at the best type of TV to choose.
Picking a new TV can get feel complicated, but there are a few things you should focus on when selecting the perfect TV for your home cinema:
What makes OLED better than standard LED?
Over the last couple of years, OLED technology has had a big impact on the market, with all the leading manufacturers offering this new technology.
The main characteristic is that an OLED screen isn’t backlit like a standard LED. Rather than the light coming from a separate panel and shone through coloured pixels, an OLED screen creates its own light from within each pixel.
The main benefits of OLED are:
- True blacks – each tiny pixel is controlled independently and can even be switched off, giving you a black that is absolute and more accurate colours across the board.
- Ultra-thin screens – because there’s no need for the screen to be backlit using a separate LED panel, the screen can be razor-thin. Some TVs are just 4mm thick.
- Better viewing angles – because the pixels emit their own light, you also get better viewing angles without sacrificing colour or contrast.
- More energy efficient – Standard LED TVs need a constant backlight to function. OLED screens just send power to the pixels that need it, saving energy.
Should I go for 4K or 8K?
If you’re building your own home cinema, you’ll probably skip the Full HD options and go straight for Ultra HD 4K. You might even go further, with the increasingly-popular 8K options offering an experience that’s worth investing in.
The difference is especially noticeable on bigger TVs and, if you’re building your own cinema room, that’s probably what you’re looking at.
4K delivers stunning picture quality but if you want the ultimate viewing experience, 8K is the way to go. There isn’t much content available in 8K yet but these TVs use clever upscaling technology which scans the image and adds pixels to reproduce each frame in a much higher resolution.
8K is also worth seriously considering if you’re planning on installing a very large TV (65-inch or above). The bigger the TV, the more densely packed you want the pixels.
Should I get a TV with HDR?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it just means you get a better picture with deeper blacks, more details and better colour reproduction. HDR also expands the range of available colour.
The main elements that combine to create a good TV picture are the contrast ratio (the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks), and the colour replication.
HDR gives you a much wider range of colour and contrast so the TV more effectively replicates real life. On a standard Full-HD screen, you might see a dark area in the picture with little dimension. HDR picks out lots more detail in these darker areas to create a better sense of depth.
Colours appear more natural too. On a standard TV, colours can often look drained but your only option to manage that is to create an over-saturated picture instead. HDR expands the range of available colour, making it more effective in reproducing real-world colour.
Request a Techscheme redemption code and buy your home cinema equipment at Currys PC World.
Article was originally published by our partners at Currys PC World.
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