The first time you undertake ahome theater installation can be intimidating, and downright stressful. Many will agree that buying a home theater system is the easy part, installing it correctly can be the tough part. Between equipment, diagrams, mounts, wiring, and tools there is a lot going on.
Either go the route of hiring a company such as TheaterAdvice to handle the job for you or do yourself a favor and spend adequate time planning your installation. That way you’ll be doing it once and you’ll be proud of your achievement. A small number of people are able to build a home theater room, but for most of us, it’s more a matter of deciding which of the rooms we have will offer us the best entertainment experience.
If at all possible, the room you choose should have minimal glare from windows. You may have to be willing to install proper blackening drapes to achieve the level of darkness you want in your media room. You should also try to avoid turning a room with adjacent bedrooms into your media room; otherwise, you may disturb others, especially children that are trying to sleep.
Once you’ve picked the room that you are going to use, it’s time to begin to draw a diagram of that room. Don’t worry; it doesn’t matter if your artistic talent is nearly zero. You really just need to be able to draw lines and boxes to create your diagram. Draw the furniture, screen, speakers, and any other equipment in its location. Don’t like what you see, then draw it again and try something else.
Think about how you are going to mount your speakers. Now is the time to devise your plan. If you will be mounting speakers or other equipment on your wall, you will need to invest in the right types of fasteners, and before mounting anything make sure that things are secure and go deep into your studs. You spent your hard-earned money on your equipment and the last thing you want is for it to fall off the wall.
Mounting onto the wall has its pros and cons. It can save space but at the same time, it can make access to the back of the equipment difficult or almost impossible. You will have to decide what will work best in your own situation.
You will need to make sure that you have electrical outlets in the right places and that you have enough of them. Most home theater systems draw more power than just a television does so it’s always best if you can have your system on a circuit of its own. Power surges do occur, so it’s also a good idea to use a power strip that has surge protection. There are some excellent ones on the market designed for our electronic equipment. This should also provide you with adequate outlets for your entire entertainment system.
Take the time to label all the cords. It will save you a great deal of time in the future when you have to unplug the components for whatever reason. Make sure that none of your components are plugged into an outlet that is on a wall switch; otherwise, your equipment could be shut off by accident. This is hard on your equipment and it can also interrupt any recording you might be doing. If you have no other plug available then consider taping the switch in the on position.
You want to measure the distance between your components so you know what length of cables you will need to buy. It’s always a good idea to get cables that are a little longer so that in the future, if you wish to make some minor changes you won’t have to repurchase. You can zap strap any excess cable length so it remains neat and tidy.
Run your wires along your baseboards or ceiling whenever possible. Try to tuck behind the furniture and out of the way of high traffic areas. You should color code each cable at the end with tape that matches the color-coding on the cable. It makes it a lot easier to see what you are working with without having to unplug things.
Don’t buy the cheapest cables. Contrary to what some might have you believe there is a difference between the $5 cable and the $500 cable. That said, you certainly don’t have to buy the $500 cable unless you are one of the few that are not on a budget. Instead, try to find something middle of the road. Use the internet to research cables and see which get the best reviews.
Finally, you’re left with the furniture. You’ve already decided how you want to place the furniture. Now you need to decide if you want to purchase additional or new pieces of furniture that are more suited to a media room. There are tons of options on the market including seats with storage, loungers, sectionals, and more. Decide what type of seating will not only give you the best viewing, but also how you can strategically get the most number of seats into the room.