More Home Theater Decisions

The competitive nature of technology is always got us sitting on the edge of our seats. The viewing aspects of home theaters are right there in the mix.

This past spring and summer, we encountered several conversations and comments about home theaters. What was best, which models could be counted on for a great experience, you know, talks around this subject.

Since the blitz of questions a couple of months ago, we decided to dig into this topic a bit deeper than we’ve given it our normal attention. What we’ve learned is quite amazing, meaning, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Before I get too deep into this, I’ll happily mention the fact that at AVS, we offer free at-home consultations to find the ideal home entertainment systems to fit your ideal preferences based on the size of the space for viewing.

What we’ve discovered is the viewing experience for large-screen video entertainment is best when experienced by way of projection OR television. The environment where the theater will be located makes a great amount of difference, as this image above reflects an outdoor scenario. It might be a bit of a nuisance to drag a television of that magnitude in and out of storage when poor weather is in the forecast. A large-screen projection system would work to high levels of satisfaction here.

As New Jersey has lovely summers, it’s not uncommon for clients to ask us to design and build outdoor theaters. We have weather-resistant televisions and can build a variety of different enclosures. The right deck or patio can be transformed into an outdoor home theater.

Outdoor HT
Outdoor HT2

Another thing worth considering is the interior accouterments of the theater room, including motorized black-out shades or blinds, audio systems that are perfectly positioned to provide cinema-quality sight and sound, and don’t forget the right seating.

If there are high ceilings or a hard surface floor there may be a need for some acoustical panels. Acoustic panels are used when the echo or sound resonance of a room is too strong. With such paneling your speakers will sound better, surround sound will feel more alive, and the subtleties of the film soundtrack will stand out like never before. How do acoustic panels create this effect? They absorb mid- and high-frequency sound waves that, in many home theaters, bounce around the room causing build up of echo and reverberation, muddying the sound.

But, you say, isn’t projection outdated and less than optimum? Those seeking the Holy Grail of a cinematic experience might shy away from projection, but today’s technology has placed the projection image transfer at the pinnacle of viewing capabilities right alongside the large televisions. The crispness of the picture, depth of detail, color, and contrast match up just as well as it’s television counterpart, including 3D. Plus the image produced is easier on the eyes when watching longer movie times.

Sony Projector

One of our favorite projectors happens to come from Sony. The specs and features are above most, if not all, other projectors on the market at present.
They are:

  • SUPER RESOLUTION: Enhances all of the subtle details, colors, and textures to produce full HD images
  • HIGH CONTRAST RATIO: See brighter highlights and deeper blacks in day-lit rooms with 1,800 lumens
  • NO MOTION BLUR: Fast response rate with Motionflow technology to see every detail with minimal blur
  • ZOOM FLEXIBILITY: Manual 1.6x zoom ratio and wide lens shift range to work in rooms of all sizes
  • VIEW IN 3D: Wider coverage and greater stability with the built-in industry-standard RF transmitter
  • LONG LASTING LAMP: Enjoy up to 6,000 hours of screen time for lower maintenance and fewer lamp swaps
  • The remote control, batteries, AC power cord, lens cap, operating instructions and manual are all in the box

Sure, televisions have come down in price and now 4K models have become more affordable. There’s even 8K resolution entering the marketplace. Isn’t it exciting where technology is taking us? We may never go to the actual movie theater again!

Just when you thought the decision to invest in the latest 4K unit for your entertainment enjoyment had been reached, here comes another factor showing up on the radar. Here’s the question: wait, or purchase?

In terms of size, projectors win the pro vs. con debate, but televisions are quickly advancing. The 85-inch televisions on the market go for somewhere north of $3,000. That size is great for home theaters, or in a board room or meeting room to say the least, provided it offers a great viewing performance quality (not all do).

Life wouldn’t be fair if all we talk about is how projectors lead the pack for picture size and quality, but there are pros and cons. Projector bulbs dim over time; TV’s generally do not. High bright projectors are available, but they too aren’t quite as bright once the image bounces off of the screen and heads in your direction. Lumens vs. nits. It’s a matter of measuring the difference in brightness from the TV to Projection. It’s really a matter of understanding the room environment, the type of viewing that is preferred, and some personal taste, in our experience.

In the end, a great in-home experience can be achieved from either viewing platform.

Regardless of platform selected, let me reiterate the argument for automating the lighting, temperature, windows, and A/V system through control automation. It will impress your guests and can make for a much nicer overall experience for your daily life. With a single command on your Amazon Echo, the sights and sounds will begin, the windows will be drawn, and the lights will dim, all while you are comfortably seated in the best seat in the house.

One final reminder. Audio Video Synergy offers design consultations to help find the exact system for you based on viewing or listening preferences, room design, environmental specifics like ambient light and background sound bleed. To schedule an in-showroom demonstration, just give us a call.

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