Here's How to Get the Absolute Best from Your Home Theatre

We A/V fans know that a home theatre is so much more than just a collection of our favourite electronic components; it's the entertainment hub of our home. But with such a large selection available, how are we supposed to choose home theatre furniture that is best for both our electronic equipment and our style? The good news is that whether we're looking for a solution for a stand-alone TV or a complete home theatre system, the primary considerations are the same.

THE EQUIPMENT

Of course, the size of the TV and the number of components do indeed play a significant role in our decision when we consider our home entertainment requirements. But there are exceptions. TVs look their best when they sit on furniture at least as wide as they are, or wider.

 

The broader furniture base provides the TV with protection from being accidentally struck. But note that if the stand is too wide, it might make the TV screen appear a lot smaller than it actually is,

 

As for the electronics, it's good to take an inventory of everything that needs to be stored,  such as the DVD, Blu-Ray and CD players, cable boxes, DVR, gaming consoles, and so on. And remember to include the surround sound receiver, centre-channel speaker, soundbar, subwoofer and any other media storage. Also, we should allow room for our system to grow by leaving a couple of empty slots.

 

“One inescapable property of home theatre furniture

is that it typically defines the tone of the space it's in”

 

DESIGN

Glass, steel and gloss finishes provide a contemporary look, which can be great for coordinating with a modern interior. Natural wood finishes come in a variety of styles and are ideal for modern or traditional settings. Whichever we choose, there are two ways to go; with a design that complements our existing furniture, or one that creates an entirely new, fresh look.

 

Open TV stands, for example, are usually made from a combination of wood, steel and glass, and are perfect to put our A/V systems on display. But they also provide easy access to the individual components and generally look great in any setting.

 

For a lot of home theatre fans, the TV is the absolute star of the set-up. In this case, an enclosed cabinet is probably the best way to go. Components can be concealed, including speakers and other media, meaning they are kept neatly out of sight bu tare still within easy reach.

 

PLACEMENT

Do we tuck our A/V furniture away in a corner? Or do we place it against a large wall? Modern corner TV cabinets make good use of the smallest spaces, and some even swivel for ease of access. To reduce the risk of neck strain, TVs should be positioned at, or just above the eye, calculated when the viewer is sitting down. So, as most sofas sit people about 18 to 22 inches off the floor, 'eye level' would mean around 40 to 48 inches.

 

 

FEATURES

It's a fact of life that with time, our home theatre will change and grow, and our furniture needs to change with it. Features like adjustable shelves allow us to reconfigure our system as our needs change. And easy access to the rear of our components and connections is an absolute must. The best home theatre furniture will have an integrated wire management system that lets us interconnect and keep our cables organised with the minimum of effort.

 

Furniture on wheels for easy movement, and with removable back panels make setting up and regular maintenance a breeze. But be aware that while many components may be lightweight, some multi-disc players and receivers can weigh up to 45 pounds. And when we add a 70-150 lb TV, we need some sturdy support. Ideally, glass furniture will be tempered, and all A/V furniture should include some form of structural support.

 

In addition, our home theatre furniture shouldn’t just look cool; it needs to 'actually be cool.' Electronic components produce a heck of a lot of heat, so our furniture should include built-in ventilation for better airflow, and to allow the heat to escape.

 

“And, as always, the old adage is as true about home theatre

furniture as it is about everything else: you get what you pay”

 

Of course, entry-level TV stands have their place, but they tend to lack the features, premium materials and design elements that come with higher quality furniture. A TV stand should be sturdy and engineered to last, plus, be packed with user-friendly features. Quality home theatre furniture offers a lifetime of enjoyment, and the best media furniture will not only enhance our living spaces, but it will also give a real boost to our entertainment experience as well.

 

THE MOOD

No matter how incredible our entertainment and multimedia components may be, we should always make sure the decor represents and reflects our own personalities too.

 

If our entertainment centre is in the living room, we can choose furniture that fits in with our overall décor and style. This includes features such as integrated wire-management, IR friendly doors and soundbars.

 

For those of us lucky enough to have a dedicated room for our home theatre, there's no limit to adding our personal flair. Whether we drape the walls with classic film posters or if we're more into the rocking atmosphere of a vibrant stadium, our home theatre spaces should be markedly different from all the other spaces in our home.

 

It's good practice to consider the desired viewing experience in advance and then plan it around our mounted flat screen (or large projection screen,) to create a magical cinematic experience.

 

LIGHT AND SOUND

We can’t enjoy an ideal movie experience if we're unable to see the screen or adequately hear what's playing. Hanging lights, table lamps and natural lighting will bounce off the screen and cause poor lighting conditions inside the entertainment environment. Remote or even better, voice control lighting with dimming ability, can go a long way to rectifying our lighting ails.

 

And when it comes to the quality of our sound, today's flatter screens mean we need to rely more on speakers and soundbars for the best sound experience. A home theatre cabinet that accommodates such components will usually give the best results.

 

Another important note: anyone not in our home theatre shouldn’t be able to hear what we hear. And vice versa. Our home theatre should be soundproofed as much as possible. Sound-absorbent panels, insulating drapes or carpeting with a high sound-dampening rating are affordable and practical ways to greatly reduce overly loud sounds.

 

And if our home theatre is currently under construction, we should do our co-inhabitants a big favour and install zero-sound drywalls, at least until we're ready to invite them to the premiere!

 

 

 

 

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