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Top 4 Home Theater Trends from 2023


What do you think when you hear “home theater”? Ask someone 5 years ago and you will get a completely different answer. Of course, the goal is the same: a beautiful image, immersive sound, comfortable seats, and enjoying the space with your family (or not, we won’t judge). Home theaters continue to evolve along with the high-speed tech industry, so a theater even 2 years ago won’t look the same as one today. Homeowners are modernizing and simplifying their homes, and home theaters are no different.


From all the news outlets, national conferences, forums, and projects we’ve experienced over the last year, there have been a lot of exciting changes and trends with home theaters that many consumers have likely missed. Luckily, we’ve compiled them here, so you can make sure your dream home theater uses the same latest tech that everyone wants.


1. OLEDs preferred


OLED TVs have been the talk of the A/V industry this year. There were so many advances in brightness, sizes, and burn-in, that OLEDs now have little to no downside, and have become the best TVs on the market. It used to be that you were forced to use a projector if you wanted a decent image above 85”, but not anymore. You can get a 97” G2 OLED TV from LG, with incredible performance and simple wall mounting. For smaller rooms that can’t quite fit a massive screen, Sony’s A95L 77” delivers a better performance that most projectors on the market, especially at the price point.



Possibly the best feature of using an OLED TV instead of a projector is the simplicity. Nearly every consumer is comfortable with controlling a TV, the cabling is easy, and the mounting & installation is cheap. You don’t have to get a projector with the perfect throw ratio, at the perfect height, and with all the features that you need at the same time; you can get a TV that fits on your wall, and those are all the calculations you need.


Our favorite part of this trend is the speed that these TVs continue to innovate. Samsung, Sony, and LG are all vying for the top TV in that space, which brings about tons of new tech that we get to enjoy. With other brands like Hisense and TCL pushing the envelope for price-to-performance ratio, consumers are able to enjoy large, high-contrast, beautiful TVs at cheaper prices every year.


2.   High refresh rate systems


This is a bit of a technical term, but refresh rate measures how frequently your TV can switch from one image to another, measured in frames-per-second (fps) or Hertz (Hz). For example, most movies are shot in 24fps, most live TV channels are 30fps, and most new smartphones today can run at 60fps.



Why does this matter? Generally, the higher the refresh rate, the “smoother” the video looks. Gaming consoles love to use up to 120Hz (or even higher sometimes) to get an ultra-smooth experience when playing games. However, this requires a TV or projector that can handle those fast speeds.


With the release of the new Xbox and Playstation consoles recently, and the new HDMI standards, there has been a large push for TVs and projectors with 120Hz refresh rates. Any time we are picking out a TV or projector for a dedicated viewing space, we always look for a display and receiver that can meet the 120Hz standard. A simple specification to look for, but once you experience 120fps, it’s tough to go back.


3.   2 or 4 subwoofers


For any serious home theater designer, pairs of subwoofers is a basic rule-of-thumb. The trend recently has been that more and more theaters are being designed around multiple, smaller subwoofers instead of a single, massive sub. Generally, the cost is about the same, but the difference is significant.



We won’t get too technical here, but the main reason is that the two subwoofers will be able to help each other out. Where one is a little weak, the other can pick up the slack. This prevents “hotspots” and “dead zones” around the room where the subwoofer’s volume is extremely different. Four subwoofers help this even more, ensuring that all 4 sides of the room are covered evenly.


Since everyone talks about how good the bass is in their home theater, this is an important consideration. It may be tempting to get that 2ft tall subwoofer, it may be cheaper and more effective to get two subs that are half the size.


4.   Adding SONOS to home theaters


The world’s best whole-home audio system, SONOS, is an easy choice for every client we have that wants audio. Their speakers excel in instant connectivity, great performance, and an intuitive user experience. However, SONOS’s integration with dedicated viewing and theater rooms has been a bit clunky, because that’s simply not their target market. But things have changed.



Sony and ONKYO both now make A/V receivers that have the “Works with SONOS” badge. Sounds vague, but the key here is that these systems can automatically switch to SONOS whenever you ask them to. Previously, you would have to grab your remote and switch the input on your receiver before you could play your music. Now, it’s done automatically!


The benefit here is that you can have your nice, dedicated viewing and audio room with all the wired speakers play SONOS music seamlessly. This is perfect for living rooms or other multi-use rooms that have built-in audio systems, but need to be able to controlled at a moment’s notice when you have guests over.

 

We hope these give you some ideas or inspiration for your space. If you have a dedicated viewing room that could use some of these upgrades, we’d be happy to help.



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