Once thought of as outrageously expensive, home theatre electronics and furnishings have become more affordable and user friendly in recent years. Plus, with streaming content available from companies like Netflix and Hulu, watching movies in the comfort of your own home is more appealing and convenient than ever. If you’re a movie or sports buff who lacks the space for a media room, consider simply upgrading three of the most important home theatre elements — sight, sound, and seating — for an enhanced viewing experience.
Television picture quality is continually improving, and the latest top-of-the-line models include 4K ultra high definition (UHD) technology, with over 8 million individual pixels (compared to 2 million for regular HDTV). As with all technological innovation, the 4K enhancements are pricey but checking out the displays gives you an idea of where the market’s headed.
Curved televisions are another new development for high-end televisions. Whether curved TVs will achieve widespread popularity remains to be seen, as the technology works best on extra-large screens (think IMAX), drawing you into the action. On small screens, the curvature is effective only at a close viewing distance, and the overall look of the television is quite different from what consumers are used to seeing on the market.
Smart TVs also continue to grow in popularity, as homeowners use their televisions for gaming, Internet access, and video streaming. LED, LCD, and plasma TVs are lighter and easy to mount on walls for a more theatre-like viewing experience.
If you have a large electronics budget and a dark room for viewing, aim for an authentic high-end theatre display with a front projector setup and a large wall-mounted screen. Stop by your favorite Philadelphia electronics dealer — such as Community Audio in Chestnut Hill or World Wide Stereo, which has locations in Montgomeryville and Ardmore — to learn more about the possibilities for your own home theatre.
While picture clarity and brightness have improved immensely over the years, the sound quality of television sets is often less than optimal. Many newly constructed homes are now prewired for surround sound, which means that when you’re ready to install speakers, you won’t need to fish wires through walls. Standalone speakers can also be placed in your viewing area to generate theatre-like sound. Another option is a sound bar placed under your television. Sound bars carry a range of different options and vary in quality, so take the time to decide which type works best for you.
Seating: Reclining, Oversized Chairs
Your home theatre doesn’t need to be relegated to the basement. If your basement isn’t finished, or gets too hot or cold from Philadelphia’s seasonal shifts, chances are you’ll want to set up your theatre in your family room or den — where it might be more challenging to install the kind of stadium seating often associated with deluxe home theatres. For a comfortable, stylish seating solution, consider adding oversized reclining lounge chairs, adjustable seating systems, or sectionals. For more ideas about furnishings, you can consult a Philadelphia-area home theatre specialist like Media Rooms Inc.
In the end, home theatre design should be based on the size of your living space and your electronics budget, as well as your personal tastes. Even small changes, such as the addition of a sound bar to your existing television, can result in dramatic improvements.
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