Home theaters have been around for decades, as homeowners want to bring that characteristic cinema feeling to their home. But a lot has changed with home theater design and technology since then, and it’s easy to fall into the rut of “it’s always been done this way.” We’re here to help you create a modern home theater that integrates with all the latest tech while optimizing performance, cost, and usability.
When considering a home theater for your new or existing home, one of the first considerations is space. Many times, a home theater is a dedicated room with pre-wired equipment, so the decision happens very early in the build process, otherwise you must sacrifice a room to put one in there. We’d like to challenge that notion.
One of our favorite trends with home theaters is creating a hybrid “media room.” This is a multipurpose room that delivers an impressive “theater” experience when you want it, but also acts as an entertainment center for family members and guests to enjoy in various ways. For example, one part of the room could be a kitchenette with a bar, the other part could have seating and a large screen for viewing, and that viewing area can have equipment for movies, video games, and live TV. See our section about media rooms for more info.
Regardless of what type of room you have, you need a solid design and robust equipment to fill the room with sound and visuals. We won’t get into how to design a home theater, but instead focus on major design/equipment decisions that will differentiate a traditional home theater from a theater in 2022.
Here are our top considerations for a home theater based on what we saw in 2022:
1. Get a Robust Streaming Device
Almost all the content we consume today is streamed from an app to our homes. To get that content onto your screen, some receivers, projectors, and TVs have streaming apps built-in, but that’s a side feature. We would instead recommend getting an NVIDIA Shield TV or even an Apple TV box that can deliver the audio and video quality you expect with an intuitive, speedy interface, all under the control of a small remote. Be careful when selecting models other than the ones above; this streaming device will be the source of all your content, so make sure it has the right capabilities.
2. Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision
Dolby continues to be on the forefront of innovation in the audio/video space. Their recent technologies, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, have become the standard for most home theaters of today. A large portion of receivers and projectors now come with that technology built-in, so just make sure you get one that has those features.
3. Get Ready for 8K
When selecting a TV for your living room, don’t worry about 8K. But when selecting a TV/projector for your home theater, go for it. While there’s not much 8K content yet, movies will be the first ones to dive into that territory, so you’ll want to be ready. Plus, in setting yourself up for 8K, that also enables you to display 4K content at 120Hz, which is a fantastic gaming capability if you ever want to add gaming to the mix. Since this theater will be built to last many years, you should get it ready for what's to come.
4. Skip the Universal Remote
Traditionally, an expertly programmed universal remote was required to enjoy a home theater due to the number of devices to control. Nowadays, many streaming devices have HDMI-CEC, which allows one device to control the receiver, projector, and TV all using a simplified remote. HDMI ARC also allows your TV to be the brain of the system, making streaming apps directly from your TV work seamlessly with your new audio system. We can help make sure your remote has all the control it needs without overcomplicating your setup.
5. You Can Go Small
When people think of a home theater, they think of a huge room with leather seats, a 125” screen, 11 pre-wired speakers, and a projector on the ceiling. While that is still a standard for the high-end home theaters, we believe you can achieve an amazing home theater experience in a normal room with the right tuning and setup. Quality speakers placed in the right locations, the right TV with stunning Dolby Vision, and thoughtful light & sound blocking can create a theater-like experience without dedicating an entire room for a single use.
6. Wireless phone connectivity
Getting a receiver with Bluetooth, Airplay, or Wi-Fi streaming built-in may not seem like a huge deal but trust us: you will want to play music on that bumping sound system you just paid for. There are devices you can get to add Bluetooth to a receiver but getting it built-in is such a simple feature that will allow you to enjoy every feature of your system right out of the box. Some receivers even have Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming apps built in, so you have ultimate convenience when listening.
That's our short list based on the trends and product releases in 2022. Looking for a theater in the new year? We'd be happy to help. From conceptual design services to complete system install, we're your go-to for a rock solid home theater.