Although the idea of a brand-new home theatre system is always enthralling, not all of us can afford to invest thousands of dollars to have the real deal or upgrade the entire setup. Fortunately, there are many ways to boost the quality of your home theatre without breaking the bank. Whether you already have some hi-fi speakers and a projector, or you’re not even sure what hi-fi means, try these simple tips to get more immersed on movie night:
Upgrading Your Sound System
High quality surround sound is an important component of recreating an immersive theatre experience at home. The best way to do this is with a sound system that consists of at least 3 speakers. But no matter what you’re working with, there are ways to improve the audio quality in your home:
- Upgrade your speaker cables: Most people underestimate the impact that cables can have on equipment performance. Old or low-quality cables can reduce the quality of your speakers, so try investing in some new speaker cable. Of course, the most expensive cables are not necessarily the best, so you don’t have to go overboard.
- Treat the room acoustically: Sound-proof the walls and floor of the room with foam, carpeting, or other sound absorbent materials.
- Speaker placement: Adjust the placement of your current speakers, if you have any, so that they are properly placed within the room. At the very least, you want to make sure the speakers aren’t right up against a wall. There are many other tips you can read about here to avoid cancellation or other interference in the sound waves.
- Buy a soundbar: If you don’t have a speaker system, a soundbar is one of the best ways to get high quality surround sound on a budget. Soundbars are designed to mimic a 3-channel speaker system and offer great quality sound for the casual listener.
- Buy a subwoofer: To get that large booming movie theatre sound, add a subwoofer to your existing speaker system. Subwoofers pair well with soundbars, or any other kind of speaker system.
- Add speaker channels to your system: You can always buy additional speakers to add to your current system. If you have a 3-channel system, adding two rear speakers is a great way to get a more immersive surround sound experience.
- Match your speakers: Make sure that your current speakers are the all the same brand. Each speaker manufacturer has its own “flavor” or sound profile, so having different brands in the same system can interrupt the flow of the audio.
Upgrading Your Video System
With the visual technology we have today, getting an immersive theatre-like image at home is much easier to achieve. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your TV or projector:
- Upgrade your HDMI cable: Just like speaker cables, a cheap HDMI cable can negatively impact your TV’s performance. Try investing in a mid- to high-grade cable and see if you notice a difference. Your local electronics store may even let you try one out for a week before you buy it.
- Calibrate your TV settings: Try adjusting the color, brightness, and other visual settings on your TV or projector.
- Block out all natural light: Make sure you have full control of the lighting in the room, or as much control as possible. A very dark room will feel more like a movie theatre, and is a necessity if you’re using a projector.
- Adjust furniture or TV placement: Before you buy a bigger TV, adjust your seating so that the viewing distance is about 1.5 times the TV screen size.
- Get a 4k playback device: In order to watch movies in 4k UltraHD you need to make sure your bluray player or media streaming device supports 4k. These days, most newer devices do, including gaming consoles like the Xbox One.
- Use a direct internet connection: If you’re streaming your movies online (as opposed to playing discs) use a wired internet connection with an ethernet cable. This eliminates any buffering or connection speed problems.
Do I need a projector to have a real home theatre?
Although many film geeks would argue yes, TVs nowadays offer vibrant, detailed images that are more than satisfactory for a home theatre. While projectors can offer a higher picture quality for the price, they are less versatile and require the proper conditions to reach their optimal performance. So, the verdict is in: you don’t need a projector to have an immersive home theatre.