As more families opt to bring the entertainment in-house over expensive nights out, the home theater is making a comeback now more than ever. Changes in today’s technology and the way we use it are also driving change in the design of a home theater. Here are some of the latest trends in home theater design for 2017 and beyond.
Home theaters are no longer designed just for movies. While people still want the home theater experience, they prefer a room where they can also watch TV, play video games, surf the Internet, entertain, and watch sports. Instead of the theater-style seating, homeowners are incorporating furniture traditionally used in a family room such as comfortable sofas, recliners, and gaming chairs. For entertaining and sports, a counter height table and stools are also popular.
A multi-purpose ‘media’ room must have both a great sound system and at least one display. Consider that your media systems in a multi-purpose room will be used more often by more family members and will require access to more content. Enter Smart TVs and streaming media devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire. For a theater experience when viewing movies on the big screen, you’ll also want to consider Blu-ray for higher quality images.
No longer satisfied watching just one thing, two or more screens are becoming increasingly popular. Our insatiable appetite for more renders PiP (picture in a picture) and split screens a thing of the past. When planning your home theater, consider how you’ll use the room. For big movies and special events, you may consider a large front-projection screen that drops down over the big flat-panel TV used for everyday viewing. For game day entertainment, consider several flat-panel TVs on the same or separate walls. Laptops, tablets and Smartphones are also used as secondary screens for viewing, as well as controlling your channel selection and volume. There are so many choices with video today, why choose just one? Design your home theater with your lifestyle in mind.
Social networking is such a huge part of today’s entertainment that smart TVs now include apps such as Facebook and Twitter. We now have the ability the post status updates (or our opinion) while cheering on our favorite team or watching a political debate—all on the same device. TV enthusiasts can now discuss the show in progress and not miss a beat.
High-Speed Home Networks
When designing your home theater, it’s important to have a good quality high-speed home network. The source of the media coming into our Smart TVs, streaming devices, Internet-connected Blu-ray players, and networked gaming devices—as well as computers, tablets, and Smartphones—is the Internet. More often than not, multiple devices are being used at once and home networks are getting pushed to their limits. To ensure the best quality media, wired connections are better than wireless. It is also recommended that you invest in high-quality routers. A professional installer can help with setting up a home network that fits with your lifestyle.
Quality Sound bars
In-wall speakers are great for those who want a clean, minimalist look; however, home theater design today is trending towards the use of soundbars, floor-standing and surface-mounted speakers for the clearest audio. The best horizontal soundbars today rival the quality of full-range speakers and sit just below the television screen. The soundbar contains multiple speakers that deliver surround sound, along with integrated Bluetooth technology enabling you to stream music from other devices such as a Smartphone or tablet. For sound that fills the room, pair with a good subwoofer and wireless speakers at the back of the room. Add a single remote (or Smartphone) operation and audio processing for the best sounding theater experience.
Better Universal Remote Control
The remote control today is easier to program and can perform multiple functions. It controls not only the audio/visual components, but can also control appliances, lights, thermostats, drapery, surveillance cameras, and more. As our homes get “smarter,” so will the ability to control everything from one device, including a Smartphone or tablet, even from outside the home.
While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it helps us do more in less time and to be more efficient. It also eliminates the clutter and confusion of multiple remotes on the table.
For the ultimate home theater experience, homeowners are opting to hide not only the wires, but the components (and blinking LED lights) that could easily distract from the room’s ambiance when the lights are dimmed. For a minimalist look, opt for in-wall speakers and a retractable projection screen. Some are even framing the TV screen or hiding it behind “curtains” when not in use. Wi-Fi-based controllers, such as your Smartphone or tablet, allow for placing your components behind closed doors or even in another room.
4K TV with HDR
Today’s 4K digital flat-screens offer a horizontal resolution of over 4,000 pixels, or four times the resolution of a 1080p HD TV. What this means is more than 8 million little dots (“pixels”) make up the image instead of 2 million. The picture has so much detail you’ll feel like you’re there! Add to this a high dynamic range (HDR) feature for a wider range of brightness, color and contrast. As prices fall and more 4K content becomes available, a large 4K TV with HDR is definitely worth considering for a viewing experience like no other.
A home theater is an investment that can bring you years of entertainment pleasure. A consultation with an expert will help you build the right system for your lifestyle.